Begin from a place of gratitude. Each day, wake up to this beautiful world with the intention of doing good. Remind yourself of what you are thankful for, and send out rays of light with each step you take. From the moment we wake from restful sleep, we have the opportunity to start anew — to wipe the slate clean and try again. A recipe for living from the heart includes a synthesis of daily gratitude, compassion for others, making time for moments of joy, and making small changes that lead to the greater good.
Imagine yourself in the position of the other. Have compassion in everything you say and do. When we gently hold dear the needs of others, we respond from a place of kindness, respect, care, and a nurturing spirit. It is much too easy to think that others have suffered less, or that a stranger’s concerns are less important than our own. Cradle the dreams of others with a gentle, tender heart. As living beings, we are all part of the same, synergistic energy source. We are all one.
The energy we put out into the universe has a ripple effect. Through daily acts of kindness, healing energy will be felt in any given situation or environment. Imagine that a young mother is waiting in line ahead of you at the store, and she has a hungry, tired toddler who is bored and impatient. Instead of feeling frustrated or annoyed by the situation, what can you do to help? Compliment the mother on how sweet her child is. She will remember a time of sweetness, even if this isn’t one of those moments. Ask the child what her/his favorite thing is to draw at school. Perhaps offer to help lift something heavy onto the counter for the mother. Remember, we are all one family. If this was your cousin dealing with a cranky toddler, you would help to ease the burden.
Reserve time each day to immerse yourself in an activity that you love. No matter how busy your day is, your soul must be allowed to experience joy in order to thrive. The world will not stop spinning, so pick up your favorite book to read for fifteen minutes or go on a nature walk to clear your mind. The “to do” list on your kitchen counter will still be there, after you sit on the back porch with a cup of tea, while looking deeply into the woods. In fact, you will come back to your daily tasks more refreshed, than if you had carried on in your usual, determined way.
Big changes come from daily, small acts of modified behavior. It starts with each person in a society walking towards good. We all tend to feel helpless, when we think of overwhelming world issues like hunger, pollution, violence and poverty. Each individual has an obligation to leave the world better than it once was, before we leave this earth. Make this a daily devotion. You, alone, cannot eradicate world hunger, but you can commit to making a yearly donation to a charity like UNICEF or the Heifer International organization. You can bring canned food items once a month to your local food pantry. Whenever you child’s school has a food drive, you can make the effort to donate. We must all be part of the solution.
At the end of every day, reflect again on what you are grateful for. Keep a journal and write down at least three, good things from your day, no matter how small. Focusing your attention on positive experiences can retrain your brain to see each day as a gift. Stop reading right now, and quietly name three things from your day that either made you smile or heightened your awareness of the beauty in this world.
Stay in this moment and linger, just a bit longer. Breathe in gratitude, and breathe out peace. Hold a candle of appreciation and hope for tomorrow. You can start all over again, with your heart full of gratitude and your keen focus on the good.