Recently I was visiting with one of my good friends and her mother, sipping our glasses of Lambrusco at a wine bar in my hometown of San Francisco. The conversation turned to gift giving and my friend’s mom told us she was feeling really guilty because she’d missed a very big occasion of someone in her life.
She said, “I really wanted to do something wonderful to celebrate, but I couldn’t think of anything. Time kept passing. I feel awful. It’s been a couple months now and I never even sent a card or called. Now it feels too late.”
Has that ever happened to you? You wanted to make such a big loving splash for someone but you couldn’t think of what it would be or you didn’t have the time right then. Before you knew it, the moment had passed and you hadn’t offered a single drop of love!
I’ve been practicing with a giving mantra that is grounded in a quote by Oscar Wilde: “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”
What if my friend’s mother had reached out to that person in her life with a simple phone call to say, “I’m thinking of you and am celebrating this beautiful occasion with you!” Perhaps they would have had a meaningful connection. For sure, her friend would have known that she was thought about and loved. Who knows? Maybe in the course of that conversation a celebration plan may have organically hatched. “Hey, I’d love to take you out for high tea to celebrate!” Or, “What if we took a day trip together in honor of this occasion and celebrate it in person?”
We don’t know what would have happened. But we do know that a connection would have been made. The love would not have been short-circuited.
Sometimes the energy of the moment carries us to places we never would have thought of going. We have to be willing to pause and intentionally step into that stream of energy. In this story, a phone call or a greeting card may have been the entry point.
What is it that stops us from taking those small actions to show someone we’re thinking of them? Personally, I think it is simply our monkey minds telling us a story about the situation:
- That’s not enough; you need to do something bigger.
- It’ll feel too vulnerable to say that.
- You’re too busy right now.
- You can do it later.
I’m encouraging you to pay attention when you hear those things in your head. Instead, pause, take a deep breath and swim in the direction that original giving energy had you going in. Take the step.
Last night I had dinner with another friend. She told me a story about being on the phone with a relative who has cancer. In the course of the conversation he mentioned to her that he’d always wished that he had hummingbirds in his yard. “Now, more than ever, it would be something positive to focus on,” he said.
My friend got off the phone and had the inspiration to send him a “hummingbird care package” – complete with everything he needed to attract and feed those beautiful creatures.
“I just want him to know that I heard him. I see him. That I love him. I don’t know if it’ll mean anything to him, but it feels really good to do it. It makes me happy to reach out in this way and to follow my instinct to let him know I care.”
Yes! Intuition followed by action. (I call this “love in action!”)
Here’s my challenge to you: As you go about your day today, if you get the slightest instinct to write someone a card, call a friend, buy an extra muffin for a colleague, say hello to someone you pass on the street, pay a compliment to the clerk at the store or any other “small” act of kindness and love – do it!
Okay? You in?
I’m in, too! Pinky promise!
Let’s create a world filled with small acts – with big impacts!