All Is Calm, All Is Bright
What truly matters: Gratitude, Kindness, and Love.
Posted Dec 17, 2018
I love early morning walks and have taken them for as long as I can remember. They help me to center myself and set the tone for my day. Heading out when the world is quiet and dark gives me perspective too, reminding me that I am a small piece of a much, much larger whole—a vast and wonderful world of which I am blessed to be a part.
Since we moved into our new home two years ago, I’ve made a habit on my dawn strolls of tossing peoples’ newspapers onto their stoops, often placing them—particularly for our older neighbors—vertically next to their doors, to save them from the need to bend or leave their homes to gather them up.
Not many people know I’m the "newspaper fairy," as one of my neighbors calls me, as few people are out (or up) as early as I am. And I like it that way. I don’t do it for recognition; I do it for the joy that it brings me. In fact, knowing I can be of service often propels me out of the door as much as that first crisp breath of clean morning air.
My husband John often teases me that I’m a lot like Jon Lithgow’s character in the movie Daddy’s Home 2. And I’ll confess that I did laugh out loud in blushing recognition during one scene when Lithgow, seeing someone across the street receiving a delivery, yelped: “Oh no! A neighbor struggling with an unusually large package! Wait right there, I’m comiiiiiing!”
John’s gentle ribbing aside, this way of being isn’t something I think about or actively choose to do. It’s automatic. My soul and spirit truly lift when I know I’m lending a hand and, literally or emotionally, lightening someone’s load. What's more, when I’m focused on other people, it’s almost impossible to indulge the "selfy-stuff" that often waits in the wings for my attention, with rarely anything of value to contribute. As the Dalai Lama says: "When you care for others, you manifest an inner strength despite any difficulties you face. Your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. Reaching beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain confidence, courage and a greater sense of calm."
Helen Keller once said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
How wonderful indeed.
And it doesn’t take much, a smile, a toss of a newspaper. A heartfelt "how are you?" and really listening to the answer. I’m always amazed at how even the smallest effort can make a world of difference in peoples’ moods, days and—if I’m lucky—their lives.
Will you join me? One of these mornings, leave your cell phone and mind-stuff at home, and step out into a world that’s always fresh with possibility. Breathe in the air, gaze up at the sky and let your heart fill. Nature and life are always right there, waiting to remind us what truly matters: Gratitude. Kindness. Love.
This holiday, today and every day, in our homes, our communities, and our lives, let's celebrate and share all three.