Many of us can give something to others. It need not be your money or even your time. It can be something as easy as a smile, a warmth of attitude, an obvious acceptance of those with experiences beyond our own. And that something small can make another person’s day – not everyone, but perhaps someone.
This can of course be tied in with a strong dose of mindfulness. Those times when we’re sat in traffic and we’re eager to get moving, or commuting on the train with crowded platforms and carriages, when people’s phone conversations might be a bit louder than we’re comfortable with, or the topic seemingly trivial and unnecessary. Those times when we should probably keep in mind that we do not know the life that person is living, the day they are having, what is happening to them of late. When we consider that a person’s actions may come from a place of distress, of overwhelm, of heartache – then might we be more tolerant of their actions, might we be able to be more friendly and calm.
The gift of a smile
For some of us, we’re lucky in that this is a natural state, – for me perhaps this has come with age or having children with their own particular needs and a husband that is eternally exhausted from his 10 hours at work plus commuting every day, from knowing people who have stuff to handle. Never mind my own stuff! Now I’m older I can perhaps get away with smiling at strangers, but my kids have also seen the result that a smile can give to someone they pass on the street. They’ve seen it light up a person and indeed quite likely made their day – both my child and the smile’s recipient.
Sometimes it can be a reply to a Tweet, a Facebook update, an Instagram post – something that tells a person that you hear them, see them, know of them. That we hear what they say. Such things are priceless. Of course there are negatives in those places too, but we must look past those, especially when they can touch us more than the warmth to be found there.
Something I want to do and really must allocate time for – sending a card to someone, to keep in touch. A pretty simple thing for someone who enjoys finding cards that people might enjoy, but they sit in a box waiting for me to find a time to send them. I’ll be adding to my schedule to actually write a quick note and send them. I’ve stocked up on stamps, loaded my fountain pen (so the act will be a pleasure for me too!), and each week a funny or lovely card with wing its way to someone I want to give a smile to.
And sometimes the small thing we give should be to ourselves. The gift of time doing something we love. For me that is pottering in the garden and greenhouse; an hour there fills me with joy for the day and beyond, every time. I could list many, many things that give me a smile and cheer and I probably should, for those times when joy feels far away – that would be one of the more useful gifts to myself. Perhaps do the same for a friend – make a note of things they love and give them cheer – and somehow remind them of these when they need it. Just a thought…