Someone close to me describes it as mailbox joy when they receive a letter, note or card in their regular, dare I say “old fashioned” mailbox at home. I thought of this when deciding how to send invitations to an upcoming birthday celebration. A few days after posting invitations in the mail, one was returned to me because of an incomplete address on the envelope. This provided an opportunity to hand-deliver the invitation, resulting in a delightful, impromptu visit with someone I hadn’t seen in a while. Setting the tone for the balance of my day, I quickly became absorbed in meaningful and pleasant impromptu visits with others I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a generosity of time – mine and theirs. As Gertrude Stein professed, “Nothing has happened today except kindness.”
What is it like when you are absorbed in acts of kindness such as generosity of your time or your talents? And from where does generosity begin, really? Generosity begins with oneself, for one’s self. Making a mindful effort to gift something to one’s self each day cultivates inner worth, increases our sense of abundance, and helps revitalize our spirits.
Setting the tone – Now that we’re in the midst of winter blues and waiting for and compelling spring to arrive, simple things we can do for our generosity to self are many. You may be aware of some that you already enjoy as you consider these ideas for gifting something to yourself, embracing self-care. Rest / Relaxation / Soothing Your Stress – listening to music, taking a bath, getting enough sleep or napping, watching a movie, reading. Expression – engaging in humorous and fun activities such as journalling, drawing, painting, gardening, singing, dancing, engaging in a hobby. Companionship – writing a letter, meeting for coffee, socializing with friends. Health / Spirituality – eating well, practicing yoga, going for a walk, exercising, meditating or praying, keeping a positive mindset, reading affirmations.
Meaningful impact – Once you have taken care of your own well-being, you are in a healthier position to give to others. A thoughtful act or a word of appreciation can have a meaningful impact on someone when they may need it the most. As you reflect on this, you may decide to first focus your attention inside. As your attention focuses inward, your unconscious mind can begin to reveal thoughtful ways you can be a gift to others. Perhaps your gift is an extension of your ideas for embracing your own self-care. And as you listen to or see these gifts of yourself, you know the profound impact this kindness to others brings to you. It is your way of bringing joy to others.
Lao-tzu sums it up nicely, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”