The Power of Kindness

This morning while I was bumbling around in my unbelievably jumbled computer files in hot pursuit of an elusive file and lamenting the fact that I haven’t published a blog for three weeks, I unexpectedly came upon a letter that I had written years ago in praise of a fellow employee who was the manager the espresso bar where I worked.

It wasn’t my intention to plagiarize myself today, but hey—desperate times call for desperate measures. Three weeks is a long time in a blogless world, and the message in this letter is a timeless reminder of the power of kindness and of how I want to be when I grow up.  So self-plagiarize I shall, and here we go . . .

“You know that you’ve arrived when they see you coming, greet you by name, and have your favorite drink ready for you by the time you get to the counter to pay for it.  But the other day, I had more than “just arrived.”  Thanks to Fred, fabulous manager that he is, I became Queen for a Day. 

As always, I allowed myself enough time to get my favorite coffee fix before starting work.  When I saw the length of the line, my shoulders slumped and my heart sank a little as I turned on my heel, departed from the line, and headed for work sans coffee to be there on time

About a half-hour later, I decided to try my luck again. The thought was barely complete when I looked up to see Fred rounding the corner with a cup of coffee in his hand, and he was headed in my direction.  He stopped, put the coffee on the counter, smiled, and said, “I saw you in line, and didn’t want you to be disappointed.  I don’t know what you like in it, so I brought you several choices.”  With that, he dropped a variety of sweetener packets beside the coffee and turned to leave – but he didn’t get away before I raced around the counter to give him a big hug—back in the day when it was still safe to hug an employee regardless of gender.

It doesn’t take very much to put a smile on someone’s face, and the smile that Fred put on mine with his random act of kindness spread to all the other faces I met that day.  Never underestimate the power of one small act of kindness toward another.  Like throwing a pebble in a pond, the ripples extend outward into infinity and touch lives in ways that we cannot possibly know.  Just imagine how many lives may have been uplifted by that one kind act on the part of one very thoughtful person. 

I’m going to love and appreciate Fred for all I’m worth while he’s there, because I know that he won’t last long.  He’ll be moved on to bigger things before I can say “Tall American with caramel, please.”  On the other hand, maybe if we’re lucky, Fred will decide to be like the enlightened monk who spent the later years of his life in the service of others simply by making omelets with such love that people came from miles around to just be in his presence.  Yep.  That’s just how I want to be when I grow up.”

With gratitude for all kindness both great and small, and love to all.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

The Happy Factor

Do you ever wake up in some sort of a vague funk and wonder why?  Me too.  Sometimes I go through half the day before I realize that the sun isn’t shining in River City, and that things aren’t quite the way I’d rather have them be.  If I’m lucky, the light dawns before the day ends and I have a chance to adjust the settings before my head hits the pillow for another night of sleep.

Today is one such day.  The good news is that I have come to this realization early in the day, with time enough to make in-flight corrections before I hit the feathers again tonight.  The other news is that sometimes that’s easier said than done.  Though I may recognize that the sun is hiding behind the clouds, I’m not always able to get past the shadow back into the light.

So I meditate.  I take a walk.  I have a little come-to-Jesus chat with myself until it finally hits me.  Ah—my happy factor is off.  Why is that, I wonder?

As a kid, I remember doing silly little experiments, like closing one eye and then the other to see how my perception of things would change.  Close the left eye and suddenly, half of my world disappears.  Close the right, and the view shifts to an entirely new scene.  If ten people witness an accident, they all see it from a different perspective.  

It occurs to me that this morning, I awakened in the shadow of a deep sadness related to the way things appear to be in the world, and an ominous feeling that what I am seeing is just the way things are and that there is no hope for change.  I am seeing what is wrong rather than what is right.  The view from that perspective is enough to drag even the sunniest of souls down into the doldrums.  That’s not a nice place to live.  It’s not even a nice place to visit.

Nope.  Now that I’ve realized it, I’m not buying into it.  But then the question becomes, “Yeah, but how do I get myself out of it?  I invite myself to check the level of my happy factor.  On a scale of one to ten, I’m about a four.  Oops.  That’s not a great number.  So how do I pump myself up?  Well, I can meditate, take a walk, or have another come-to-Jesus chat with myself, but if that doesn’t work, then what?

Oh, right!  I can ask for help.  So often I forget that I have the capability to check into a part of myself that is so much wiser than the me that I think that I am.  Why do I keep forgetting that?  Just the simple thought that I have such a powerful resource within me comforts me and automatically raises my happy factor level up a few of notches.  And so I ask, then I sit back and wait, grateful in the knowledge that because I have asked, I will be answered.  Help is on the way.  I close my eyes on a shadowed world and when I open them the sun is shining again.

I have always found that asking for help is the magic elixir that soothes the soul and solves all problems.  Now if I can just remember to remember . . .

May sunshine spread light in your heart today and every day.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

The Sound of Guidance

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I hopped into the car with my big bowl of fruit salad and headed off to into the countryside to enjoy a nice visit with family.  I had been forewarned of road closures and was well armed with careful instructions and my trusty GPS which soon gave out, leaving me with an ominous feeling of lostness along with a sense of mounting panic.

At a red light I saw my granddaughter hanging out of the passenger’s window of my daughter’s car frantically waving to get my attention.  Ahh. Saved.  They’ll know where we are going.  The light changed and off we go, but a white pickup truck wedged itself between the two of us, and while she raced ahead, he poked.  I had a few expletives deleted going on in my head as I willed him to hurry up, get out of my way, or disappear himself off on the next turn.  It didn’t happen.  He just stuck like a turtle on molasses while my daughter disappeared off into the distance.

Finally, things seemed to improve until we came upon an unexpected road closure and had to turn around and detour around the detour without any detour signs.  All of us had lost GPS as well as reliable phone communication.  Meanwhile, I still haven’t lost that $#$@#$ pickup.  By now it is obvious that we are all hopelessly lost on country roads and I have lost any hope that we will ever get where we’re going.

Then, miraculously, we come across another granddaughter who joins the caravan and leads us safely to our destination where we arrive over a half an hour late.  Damned white pickup is still with us.  We park, get out of our cars in various states of temperament ranging from anger to hysteria.  Mine was hysteria when I discovered that white-truck guy is my former son-in-law.  I’ve been mentally screaming at him, while he was mentally screaming at my daughter trying to tell her that she was going the wrong way.  Another family adventure to laugh about for years to come.

In my morning-after armchair recap, it occurs to me that sometimes I have gone along in life blindly putting my faith in a leader who is clueless.  Sometimes I turn my power over to another who I think might know more than I do, giving my authority away to someone who may not have the best interests of myself or others at heart.  Sometimes I place my misdirected anger at some poor unsuspecting soul who is just trying to get to his own destination while I am prodding from behind urging him to hurry up, willing him to go somewhere, anywhere to get out of my way.  Sometimes I make a lot of assumptions, make a lot of mistakes, and take a lot of wrong turns.

Too often in life I have placed my faith in external systems like GPS—a Global Positioning System—rather than in my own personal GPS—Guidance Protection Service.  In searching for a destination, my external system failed, but my internal system guided me to “accidentally” find my family caravan and arrive safely at our destination.

Let this be a lesson to me to relax, trust, and remember that even though I may think otherwise, I am never lost.  I am always guided and protected by loving Beings who do indeed have my best interests are heart and whose intention and purpose it is to guide me safely to my destination.   However in the world does one have enough gratitude to say thank you for such a blessing?

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).