“Our mothers give us so many gifts. They give us the precious gift of life, of course, but they also leave treasured lessons that can guide us along our journeys even when they are no longer with us.”
Today is Mother’s Day. Being a mother is precious! I so appreciate spending this day with my daughter, Michelle, and son, David, when we can be together. They have grown into amazing adults; I continue to offer my motherly “wise suggestions,” but our relationship today is one of friendship. I love being with them and truly just hanging out.
This day is special not just because of my kids, but because it has been seventeen years since my own mother, Rosemary, passed away. She loved this day for all of the same reasons I do. It was a time for her to feel loved and proud of the five children she raised. Even though it has been all these years, I still feel emotional this week as I walk down the card aisle and look at all the Mother’s Day cards. My mom had a very difficult life, which contributed to my hard childhood, but the feelings of love I have for her are boundless. I cherish her memory even more on this day, which we set aside to honor mothers.
When I think of my mom, I often think of this line by the poet e.e. Cummings: “I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go you go, my dear.”
No matter what the trials and struggles of life may be, we can work through any traumas and difficulties from our past and emerge strong, loving, and confident. It means so much to me to know deeply that my mother is still with me in my heart. Her spirit is still here; her energy even fills the room sometimes! She was a very strong woman. The greatest thing she taught me was to be independent and never give up!
I know she is incredibly proud of the woman and mother I am today. Let’s face it: motherhood is not an easy job! When I was a little girl, I had no idea what went into being a mother! So, today, I emphatically say that it is the most difficult job on the planet! But despite its inherent difficulties and our basic lack of training on what to do, motherhood could just possibly be the most rewarding job in existence. And that’s the beauty of it! It is what keeps us prospering as a race, after all!
As we remember all mothers today, let us remember that at their core is the desire to love and be loved. We can honor motherhood as a long-lasting gift that truly keeps giving with each successive generation. We learn important life lessons from our mothers—gifts of experience—that we can then share with our own children, who then share it with their children…all around this great planet. It is a never-ending gift we carry in our hearts for always.
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
Do you find yourself stressing out and getting anxious when you think about all the shopping you still need to do to get holiday gifts for everyone on your list? If so, this is an excellent opportunity to stop and breathe. Sit with yourself for a moment and ask, “What about this is distressing me?”
Your answer might be something like “I don’t have the time to shop,” or “The mall is so crowded and everyone’s rushing around,” or “I have no idea what to buy this person” or “I have to find the perfect gift for everyone, and it is so difficult!”
Wow! These are some stressful thoughts! Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? We really don’t have to live this way. We all have a choice. So right now, make the decision to practice letting go of these overwhelming feelings and bring yourself back to the moment—to the spirit of your holiday.
- Think about your reasons for giving and receiving.
In your moment of quiet, think about your reasons for giving and/or exchanging gifts with others. Tap into the place inside you that gives, not because something is expected of you (or because you expect something of yourself), but because the spirit of giving is your thoughtfulness and generosity expressing itself. This is the love behind the gift. We connect with this great truth of giving by sitting in silence with ourselves and connecting within during meditation.
- Nourish yourself.
Let’s be honest: stress is a given in life and it is especially amped up during the holidays! So make this time of year count in a way that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit. Before embarking on your shopping adventures, spend a few minutes sitting with yourself, just breathing and allowing your stressful thoughts to float through your mind without giving them any attention. Literally practice letting them come in and go out.
- Set a peaceful intention
Set the intention to have a peaceful shopping experience, knowing that it is not what you give that counts, but as Mother Teresa said, what you “put into giving.” After a few minutes of sitting, your stress levels will decrease and you will be in a much clearer mind and space. You’ll likely find that your shopping adventure is more efficient, the crowds don’t seem to bother you as much, and you will be clearer on the gift ideas on your list. Know that the “perfect” gift is the thoughtfulness and love you put behind your choices. Be in the moment with your whole heart.
“Together we can change the world, one good deed at a time.”
To give pleasure and joy—this is exactly what we are doing when we do something nice for someone. Isn’t it such a wonderful gift, a great feeling, to brighten another person’s day? Often, all it takes is a few kind words, a thoughtful deed, or even a smile. When we do something for someone from that place in our heart where love and compassion reside, our good deed can be transformational and far-reaching.
Kindness also tends to have a boomerang effect, right? A person for whom we have done a kindness is likely to pay it forward to someone else as they journey throughout their day. And if they do, who knows, perhaps our one good deed or statement will get carried on a wave of kindness that might make its way right back to us..
As Princess Diana once said, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” So kindness isn’t something we do so that we will receive a favor in return. Rather it is a selfless act that will nevertheless have a positive affect on our own lives.
I’ve chosen this topic for today’s blog post because October 5 is National Do Something Nice Today. How wonderful to have a whole day dedicated to this idea! But can you imagine if we dedicated a whole month or year . . . or even a whole lifetime to this? That’s what Mother Teresa did through her work with the Missionaries of Charity. While not everyone can dedicate their lives to selfless service as this great woman did, there is certainly something each of us can do every day to make life a little easier or brighter for someone else, even if that is as simple as a friendly smile.
Kindness takes many forms, both large and small. As you go about your day, try to notice opportunities to do something nice for the people in your life as well as for strangers you encounter throughout the day. Below I offer a few general ideas that can fit many different types of situations. I encourage you to get creative. Think outside the box as you spread kindness today!
- Lend a helping hand
- Offer words of encouragement
- Give a sincere compliment
- Support another’s efforts
- Donate your time
- Say hello to passersby
- Be present and listen closely
- Give a thoughtful gift
- Make a comforting gesture, such as a hug or smile
- Bring levity and laughter to a situation
- Spend quality time with others
By spreading the seeds of kindness, our good deeds and words will bloom like flowers. Everywhere we go, the fragrance of our love will be carried on the wind. This is such a beautiful thought to imagine: the whole earth as a bountiful garden of kindness! Doing something nice goes a very long way. . . .