Category: Gratitude

Spread Some Joy Today > Gratitude

The Spring Of Kindness

“No kind action ever stops with itself.
One kind action leads to another.
Good example is followed.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.
The greatest work that kindness does to others
is that it makes them kind themselves.”

– Amelia Earhart

Ain’t it the truth!

One of my favorite authors who really helped me get going in sales way back in ’72-73 is Frank Bettger. His book, How I Raised Myself from Failure To Success in Selling, is a classic and is very encouraging for someone new to sales (or a veteran in sales, for that matter). In it, he talks about getting fired from a professional baseball team because he looked like he had no energy and he seemed to be dragging the team down. So, he decided to change and to become the most enthusiastic player anywhere and he created the popular phrase, “to become enthusiastic, act enthusiastically!” This became his central theme and I have several copies of his signed books, all of which say “Enthusiastically, Frank Bettger.”

The quote above is very similar to me: To become kind, act with kindness! Ain’t it the truth. We already know it. We know when we act with kindness that we feel great and can see on the face of the other that they feel great too. The thing we don’t see is how that great feeling is passed on by that other person throughout their day or even into days ahead.

I try to remember to give sincere compliments wherever I go, to people I see, whether for the first time or the hundredth time. I am always looking for something to compliment people on. Many times, there is no discernable reaction to my comment, but I am sincere and it feels really good to me, so that is all that matters. I know, they heard it, and they appreciated it even though they may not show it immediately. And, again, the best part is that it not only has an effect on them but on others they interact with throughout the day. How cool is that?

Sometimes I do this in bulk and in what some might think are “crazy ways.” I’ll give you just one example that I remember as a bit off the chart. I was a sales manager at a small fledgling dealership in 1989. It was gloomy and struggling. I wanted to inject some life into it and did a number of things that helped. They had a fairly strong service business. Matter of fact, that was what kept the dealership afloat.

So I had this crazy idea come into my head to give a dozen roses to all the employees (13 of them) and have a blank card on it, so they could take it home and pass some of the pleasure on to their spouse or loved ones or just enjoy it themselves.

It was a bit crazy because I didn’t have much money, but I broke out a credit card and bought 16 dozen roses of all different colors, one dozen each in vases, arranged and delivered. It was $660. I couldn’t really justify the expense when my reasoning tried to stop me, but, I was jazzed and I acted immediately. I had each employee stop by the office on their way home and I had them choose one they liked and I thanked them for their service to the company. For all they knew, the company bought them. I also gave one set to the General Manager and Owner who worked at a different location. Plus one to take home with me for my wife.

You had to have been there to see the looks on all their faces. It was priceless. And, guess what happened when they went home. I am sure that it was a hit there as well. In addition, it is the kind of gesture that you so rarely see. It was worth every cent and then some.

And guess how happy that florist must have been.  One action and so many are positively affected. It is like spreading joy!

I was only at that store for three months, when a marvelous opportunity came to me unexpectedly. Is there a correlation? It was an opportunity that changed my life, and that is still with me to this day, 31 years later!

Many times, I get thoughts like this and I am happy that I act on many of them even though some are a bit over the edge like this one. But, you know, life is all too short, and to miss an opportunity like that would be to miss an opportunity to love.

I call those thoughts inspirations. Typically, right after you get one, your reasoning facility takes charge to try to justify that thought using logic and reason. The typical result would be letting the inspiration go down the drain.

If you ever have any of these strange, yet wonderful inspirations, I hope you act on them. Think of the joy that you will create for yourself and many others! I think that is a great reason! And, you never know–that act of kindness might have an interesting side effect… on all concerned!

Overflowing Gratitude

“Sometimes my cup overflows
with gratitude and I am in awe
of the blessings, I’ve received.” 

— Terry Minion

[Classic post from 5-11-16]

It is delightfully amazing how something comes to you at the perfect time and as it is accepted, it becomes a part of who you are. I’ve had so many of those times, and yesterday was one such day. It is also fascinating to me how these things come into being and expand, like following a narrow path that leads into a shining metropolis.

I could write about this experience and what I learned for days on end, but I will keep it short, though I am quite unable to keep it to myself.

I subscribe to emails from Marie Forleo. I love her videos and think she is a fascinating person on the Internet. Yesterday, she shared a talk that she did on Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Sessions, which are much like TED talks but range from 24-35 minutes each, and from well-known authors and speakers. I’ve heard of Supersoul Sunday, but never really plugged into it, and knew nothing about all that is going on at Supersoul.tv until Marie shared her talk and I saw the Supersoul.tv website.

I very much enjoyed Marie’s talk about how everything is ‘figureoutable,’ a term her mother taught her at a young age about self-reliance and creativity. In the video window was four thumbnail-sized video images of other talks in the SuperSoul Sessions, so I watched another by Eckart Tolle that I enjoyed very much. Then, I watched a talk by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who I was unfamiliar with, and I was fascinated by her talk about parenting that was so insightful and deeply touching, yet so simple as to feel perfectly wise. I was very impressed with this unique talk.

Next, I watched the talk by Kris Carr about living a crazy, sexy life, as she has learned how to do with cancer in her body. Then, I watched Oprah’s own talk about shedding the weight to a better life which addressed her own struggle with her body and the path she is now on, appreciating the journey as a whole. Next, I watched the video of India.Arie of whom I was completely unaware, but became a huge fan from this short ‘songversation’ expressing her life, lessons, and journey.

Then I watched Deepak Chopra, one of my favorite authors, then Elizabeth Gilbert gave a moving talk, along with Janet Mock. I was completely blown away by one of my favorite authors and speakers, Marianne Williamson. This talk about Universal intentions, and much more, was so profound to me as to feel like the top of my head blew off like a volcano of insight and understanding. Wow!

In so many of these talks because they were personal and touching, I shed tears–many tears, many times. I spent virtually the entire day yesterday watching, learning, feeling emotion, being amazed, and absolutely and completely full of gratitude. I hardly knew who to thank. Of course, Marie Forleo sent me the email with the link that led me to the other talks, and Oprah Winfrey created the environment, exposure, promotion to the entire range of talks. I haven’t yet seen all of them because there are so many. I wanted to write Oprah and gush my thanks and I’m sure she hears stuff like that all the time. I wanted to write each of the people I watched in the videos and express how moved I was with their talk, and sharing themselves and their travels. I felt stifled almost not knowing how to express my gratitude for such a moving day that moves me still just thinking about it.

Then, I thanked God, the Universe, The All-That-Is for this. I was thanking the Creator of the Law of Attraction which helped bring this to me and ultimately, it is the Creator, God, the Universe, All-That-Is, and a thousand other names to describe this that guides all that is responsible and my gratitude here is perfectly placed. I am also thanking those involved as I have so briefly described above, and sharing it all here to express my gratitude and joy outwardly. I am blessed greatly. Thank you.

Sometimes Your Cup Runneth Over And It Feels Like Gratitude Isn’t Enough. But Gratitude Is ALWAYS Enough Because It Is Love. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by sharing your joy. That’s how easy it is. Share it in a text, a letter, a blog, yelling from a mountain top. You get to choose the venue.

Jenna

She is nine
and she asked me,
“Grandma,
are you rich?”
“Am I rich?”
What does the
wisdom of my heart say?

“Yes, Jenna, I am rich, for
I own the golden
sunlight of the morning
and the evening star
of the north.
My emeralds are the oak leaves
and my diamonds their dew drops.
More beautiful than rubies
are the crimson roses
that climb the picket fence.

My home is large and very beautiful
stretching from daybreak
to nightfall.
Decorated with fields of wild flowers
and flocks of flying geese.

For you see, Jenna,
the deep blue ocean
with its dancing waves
and the great pines
that sing in the breeze
belong to me.

But most precious
of all my riches
Are the people
of my life.

Each a rare jewel
an original,
a gift.
Each with a smile
like no other,
a beauty
to melt my heart,
a flower
to fill my bouquet of life.

Yes, Jenna
When you run
to hug me;
when the gentle night
holds me in my sleep;
when the sun
warms the day;
when your grandfather whistles–
I am rich beyond measure,
for I have known
the wonder of Love.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Life Lesson #7: Forgiveness

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive.
We also need to forgive ourselves.
For all the things we didn’t do.
All the things we should have done.”

— Mitch Albom

[Classic post from 3-16-14]

My Life Lessons

This is a series of revelations about my life that I am sharing with others for what it may be worth. These come from a lifetime of study and experience of others and myself, and I now translate them into words. These will be numbered; however, they are not in order of importance as all are equally important. It is just a way for me to keep track of them in this series. I hope you find value in them.

Life Lesson #7

Forgiveness is sublime, and it is not for others, but ourselves.

I might add to Mitch Albom’s quote above, all the things we did, and all the things we shouldn’t have done. It’s great to forgive ourselves for things we should have done but didn’t do, yet is taken to a whole new level when we forgive ourselves for things we have actually done, yet have always regretted by feeling we shouldn’t have done them.

I think that if we are human, we err. If we are acting on impulse, eventually we will act in a way that in a time of more clarity, we would have made another choice. Maybe someone else was affected in the process, and that can add to the burden that we continually add to ourselves over time for these errors in judgment and/or action.

Probably of all the things that I have learned to help me through life, the action of forgiveness of myself is high on the list of importance to me, and I have also been very successful in changing the way I have viewed past so-called errors or mistakes.

The thing that has helped me the most has been to put into a picture in my head what forgiving is. To me, regret and self-judgment is exactly like a game of tug-o-war where I am pulling with all my might against a foe or foes on the other side of the pit. It seems that the harder I pulled, the harder it was held firm. I could never seem to move the opponent enough to matter. The reason is that the opponent was me and is of equal strength. Essentially, I was fighting myself without any success.

The change in me came when I realized that all I needed to do was let go of the rope. At first, I thought that was quitting, and in a short time, I realized that it was a success instead. As soon as I let go, the opponent didn’t fall down, but disappeared entirely, along with the rope and the pit.

Now I use this strategy purposefully in many ways in my life, and mainly to forgive myself for those things I should have done, shouldn’t have done, failed to do, and did. Once I get some time as perspective, I often see that these things weren’t mistakes at all, but an essential part of my journey.

Forgiving others is a piece of cake to me. I just let go of the rope. As long as I am not forgiving them, I am at war with myself, and that war is no fun, and I find pain at every turn and negative thoughts that run in a circle over and over again. So, I’ve learned to just let go of the rope in my mind and the act of forgiveness has been achieved. I have released the issue, and I have at the same time, released myself from the self-imposed burden.

Forgiving myself was not a piece of cake to me, but as I learned to let go of the rope and practiced it, felt it, I began forgiving myself more and more. Now it is easier. Sometimes one of those issues comes back from an old memory tape, and it is easier still because I have dealt with it before and know what to do.

I have often found that letting go is the most powerful thing I can do.

“Sometimes You Don’t Realize Your Own Strength Until You Come Face To Face With Your Greatest Weakness.” — Susan Gale

My Pretty Hat

I ask,
Two worlds,
one material
one spiritual;
two natures,
one human
one divine.
Can I have both?

The world is
so tempting.
My new hat,
so pretty;
my ring,
so shiny.
The party is tomorrow
can I refuse?

The Christ answers,
“The world is for living,
the Spirit is for loving.
Live fully,
Love fully
and you will know both.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Love’s Surprise

I thought the point was happiness,
but my heart
was seeking Love.

Then the goal became success,
but my heart
was seeking Love.
Finally, I hoped for peace,
but my heart
was seeking Love.

In the end my heart prevailed;
Love became my goal.
How? Where?
“Love others and they will love you,”
I was told,
but often they did not.
“Give love and it will return to you,”
but often it did not.
What then is the secret?

Then Love answered,
“Don't wait on love
from this or that person;
receive love from
where it is given.”

“See how this blooming daisy
offers its love,
how the smile
of a stranger,
the kindness of a friend,
the glory of the sunrise
love you?”

And I began to learn
Love is offered throughout my day;
my heart can be filled by
unexpected bits of love
from here, from there,
if I but have eyes to see
and heart to receive.

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

WasIsMaybe

Another choice of my gaining age and wisdom is that I tie my focus on now to a celebration of each moment I’m alive. I see. I hear. I smell. I taste. I feel. I experience. They say, ‘life is for the living,’ and how true that is to me now, and the living can only really be living when it is now. Looking back, or bringing the past into the present in my thoughts, or projecting my thoughts into the future is messing with the glory of now, the glory of life, of living.

So, in case you’re interested in joining me, I highly recommend letting the past go. It was. It was then. It is not now. In addition, I highly recommend giving no attention to the future. It might be. It’s a definite maybe, but it isn’t real yet because it isn’t now. The only reality is. Right. This. Moment. Now. This moment. Then this moment. Then this moment. Feel the fullness of it. Feel the love it in. Feel the freedom of it. Feel the joy of it. Feel the experience of it. Experience the experience of it. WasIsMaybe.!? Was. Is! Maybe? Hmm. I choose Is!

Resources and Logistics

“It’s not a matter of resources, there are more than enough resources. It is more a matter of logistics.”

— Albert K. Strong

“If you give things away with this mythical idea it should have no cost, it will end up demonstrating that it had no value.” This is a quote by Dean Kamen, who is the inventor of the Segway, and many other inventions, and contrary to many who thought he was dead, he is still very much at it. In fact, he is driven to it. I learned so much about him and what he is doing now to try and eradicate disease from the planet by providing clean water from a movie about him on Netflix titled Slingshot. He had figured out how and built machines that can take any kind of water regardless of its present state and make it pure drinkable water.

His quote above is in reference to how many people think about philanthropy–that we should give and that it should not have a cost to the people it is given to, and that the company making these products should just donate them without cost. As I thought about that, since I pretty much agreed with the mainstream idea of helping others around the world, it occurred to me that it isn’t sustainable that way.  What is more sustainable all around the world is enterprise.

Indeed, if more so-called non-profit organizations were run as an enterprise, they would fare better and last longer in my opinion. This applies to churches as well. The idea of enterprise is open to wide interpretation. There are so many ways of doing a thing.

Dean learned soon enough after trying to get his water machine to the people who need it, that it isn’t about resources, it is about logistics, and that the logistics were the most challenging of hurdles to traverse. So, he partnered with a company that is in more countries than are registered in the United Nations–Coca-Cola. They are working together to create sustainable clean water and enterprise will drive it into the future.

Consider this idea in our daily lives. I suspect that we appreciate things more when they have a cost. It is so often the things that have been given to us that are not valued by us with rare exceptions of attached emotion. Even the things that have great cost in comparison also may have greater value. Or not. Value is not fixed; rather, it is a sliding scale. When I look at things I own, I remember what it cost and how I came by it.

But it isn’t the cost alone, is it? As I look around my multi-functional office environment, I see the relative value that is not based on cost. Some things I value greater because it somehow provides greater value to me, which is a way of saying that it means more to me because it is in alignment with me in some way, or it touches me in some important way.

Gifts are wonderful to give. And, perhaps the best gifts cannot be continually given without participation by the receiver. Besides, in my experience, whenever the giver and the receiver are in alignment, there is grand value in comparison to just giving. Yet that is most often a hit and miss affair.

I think it is better to accept responsibility in giving, in that we remove the altruistic idea that our gift is for the sole benefit of the receiver. By accepting responsibility as a giver, we realize that the giving aspect is far more for us than it is for the receiver. Though we would love to have the receiver appreciate the gift, it is really our giving that makes us feel better. At seasonal times such as Christmas, the giving aspect is in full swing, but though we think our focus is on the receiver, it is not. It is on our idea of giving.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with giving, I’m only accepting responsibility for my own thoughts, intent, and actions in doing so. I am giving this gift for me to them. My ego is attached to it as well. If it doesn’t thrill them, I am disappointed. That is not the gift that keeps on giving. As I let go of any benefit to me by focusing on the value to the recipient, I may experience where they are in their world enough to have the gift be of long-term benefit. All of this relates to that old story of giving them a fish or teaching them how to fish. The latter is infinitely more generous, and more importantly, it is sustainable because they are involved in the process of the value of the gift.

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