Leave them better

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“Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel. Things are gonna be much better if you only will,” sings iconic musician James Taylor.

My husband and I recently celebrated a wedding anniversary, and spent part of the evening listening to James. His songs remind us of the wonderful times we spent listening to him while we were dating, and are a nostalgic balm.

Earlier we had received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from my in-laws. My mother-in-law, Libby, makes the effort to send us calla lilies each year in remembrance of the flowers I carried on my wedding day. She is someone who knows how to shower the people she loves with love. She has the ability to raise other people’s positive vibrations just by her presence. It starts with her southern charm, and is then fueled by her generous heart. She has the gift of truly listening, understanding what someone is needing, and finding a way to give it to them. To say that I scored big in the mother-in-law department is an understatement.

Now more than ever it seems like the time for us all to try to lift each other up and provide positive vibrations. And not just friends and family, but everyone we encounter. We are all feeling pain. It started with the coronavirus, then the layoffs and closings, and has deepened with the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Like others, I have seen normal encounters become angry exchanges much too quickly these last weeks. Now is the time to not only shower the people we love with love, but to shower ALL people with love. It’s time to take a deep breath and try to feel compassion for the person in front of you before acting or speaking. You don’t know what pain they might be feeling. With each interaction you have think to yourself: how can I leave this person better than I found them? Give a kind word or bigger smile to those we encounter. Leave them better than you found them with the kindness that lives in all of our hearts.

Things are gonna be much better if you only will.

Listening with Love

I have a delightful page-a-day calendar called Buddha Doodles.   On some days, it’s that very quick zen reminder on a busy day.  A little pearl of wisdom to carry with me.  They are often a simple sentence or two, or a quote accompanied by a cute buddist cartoon.  On a recent day it was:  Listen with Love.  At first, I brushed over the idea.  Of course, “Listen with Love” I thought.  Got it.  Except do I?  How often do I actually listen with true love in my heart.  As someone speaks, do I drop all other thoughts and truly look the speaker in the face and open my heart and listen?  As I gaze at that person, do I actually remind myself what caused me to love that person?  Do I listen with not only my ears, but with all of my senses?  Truly listening is a skill that we don’t actually practice very often.  We live in a world of distraction.  We may be raising a generation of distracted people.  I owe it to my loved ones and those I come in contact with to truly listen.  I invite you to join me in raising our listening skills.