Just Feed One


Play it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept “pay it forward” is old, but the phrase is believed to have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight. Here’s a slightly different twist on ‘play/pay it forward’:

We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter: ‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave. I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?” My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.” Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’.

While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks ‘Do you have any suspended coffee?’ It’s simple – people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it.” very respectfully, Scott Sonnon www.facebook.com/ScottSonnon

Here and there I ‘pay/play it forward’ but not nearly as much as my heart and soul wishes I would. So here at the start of a sparkling new year, I commit to myself to share my fortunate life more with the world, without expectation. Yet, I know whatever I give will come back to me multiplied. I am grateful.

If you can’t feed
a hundred people,
then just feed one.
Mother Teresa

Another Heart Whispers Back

Woman whispering in man's ear

At a time in history when we are communicating more rapidly than ever – via texts, tweets and email volleys, one after the next – it seems there is hardly anyone among us who couldn’t use some tips to facilitate more heartfelt communication for our in-person interactions with the people we care about most.

1. Tell them how important they are, often. Here’s a wake-up call for you: No matter how sure you are of someone’s love, it’s always nice to be reminded of it. Loving someone and having them love you back is the most precious phenomenon in the world, and it should be expressed as such. Be straightforward. If you adore someone today, show them. Hearts are often confused and broken by thoughtful words left unspoken and loving deeds left undone.

2. Communicate your feelings openly. Express how you truly feel. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Give the important people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Express your fears, tears, doubts and insecurities – let your loved ones experience YOU. Have the courage to be yourself in front of them. To be fully seen by someone, in raw form, and be adored anyhow, is what love is.

3. Speak the truth. As a wise man once said, “I tell the truth because it’s the easiest thing to remember.” Living through a facade puts an incredible burden on your emotional well-being. Speaking the truth, even and most often when it hurts, frees mental space and increases your ability to connect with the people you care about.

4. Ask thoughtful questions and listen intently. Too often we underestimate the power of a thoughtful question and a listening ear that’s fully present and focused. Although it’s a simple act, it may very well be the most powerful act of caring – one which has the potential to turn a life around. Listening is a sincere attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another that both attracts and heals, perhaps without ever saying a word.

5. Let your actions speak for themselves. Actions often speak much louder than words. When you love someone you have to act accordingly. They will be able to tell how you feel about them simply by the way you treat them over the long-term. You can say sorry a thousand times, or say “I love you” as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t.

6. Touch has a lasting memory. Sometimes reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a beautiful journey. Sometimes a long hug speaks louder than all the words in the world. And sometimes, quite frankly, a moment of touching is the difference between hopeless despair and the ability to carry on. Physical touch can make or break a relationship and can communicate respect or ridicule.

What’s here was taken from an article at a website called “Marc and Angel Hack Life”. It’s filled with good advice for living, loving and flourishing. I am grateful to have found it and recommend it highly. http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/04/23/6-ways-to-speak-well-to-your-loved-ones/

Every heart sings a song, incomplete,
until another heart whispers back.

Modesty In Spirit

RITZ 32772e4e0d0e13d02ac85fca964d0864Plain and simple, I admire humility. A little thing that happened years ago while checking into a hotel jumps to mind. The lodging was one of those five-star types (Ritz Carlton) where my company meeting was being held and not the type I’d personally pay the price for. Being second in line I was just behind a couple in their late 70s or early 80s. Both were dressed nicely: her with well done hair wearing a simple, but lovely, well fitted dress; him in khaki pants, golf shirt and a navy blue blazer. Their luggage looked well used and was a common brand like American Tourister on Samsonite; not pricey designer bags.

As the old couple checked in I admired how sweet and kind they were to each other. Eye contact seemed to result each time into smiles. They were cordial to the counter staff and understanding when told their accommodations were not ready. They said they’d have drinks in the bar while they waited and asked if someone could let them know when their room was ready.

Two things added up in a flash: it was seeing the man reach to sign with his left hand revealing a watch I know cost tens of thousands soon after the desk clerk had said it was the “Presidential Suite” that was not ready. Then noticing the diamonds around the lady’s neck I easily concluded these were wealthy people, but not just any sort of the very well off. They were the rare “humble and happy” kind of rich folks who still loved life and most everyone in it.

It was the humbleness of the couple I admired then and still do today. When their ‘suite’ was not ready I didn’t hear “do you know who I am?” or “let me see the manager” or something of the sort. I am certain they could have “thrown their weight” and gotten plenty of attention had they desired to. Instead the older man and woman were understanding and like “nice normal folks” might be.

Humility has nothing to do with depreciating ourselves and our gifts in ways we know to be untrue. Even “humble” attitudes can be masks of pride. Humility is that freedom from our self which enables us to be in positions in which we have neither recognition nor importance, neither power nor visibility, and even experience deprivation, and yet have joy and delight. It is the freedom of knowing that we are not in the center of the universe, not even in the center of our own private universe. David F. Wells

The couple I encountered at the hotel check-in desk long ago defined the word “humble” just as I found its meaning in the dictionary: modesty in spirit, behavior and attitude; not arrogant or prideful; unpretentious. To me humility is one of the most endearing qualities a person can have. I am grateful for the example of the “humble rich couple” that today still lives vividly in my memory.

A great man is always willing to be little.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Little Positive Trail Behind Me

The innocence of a child can be especially touching. For me that’s true partly because some of my innocence was stolen as a kid and partially because living has softened me over time. While the story below is just that, a “story”, it illustrates how naively wise children can be.

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived. So he packed a backpack with Twinkies and six-pack of pop, then started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man with a flowing beard, sitting on a bench in the park just staring at some pigeons.

The boy sat down next to him and opened his bag. He noticed that the old man looked hungry. So he offered him a Twinkie. The old man gratefully accepted it and smiled at the boy.

His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again. So he offered him a can of pop. The old man smiled again. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling but never said a word.

As it started growing dark, the boy realized how tired he was and got up to leave. But before he had gone few steps, he turned around and gave the old man a hug. The old fellow gave the boy a big bright smile.

A short while later when the boy opened the door of his house his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that make you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God”. But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know, He’s got the most beautiful smile I have ever seen”.

Meanwhile, the old man, radiant with joy, returned home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and asked, “Dad, what did you do today that makes you so happy?”

He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God”. And before his son could respond, he added, “He is so much younger than I expected”.

As the holidays approach I am grateful for a polishing of the sensitivity of my heart that parable gives me. I hope the refreshed shine makes me a bit more open to the humanity of others and helps me to show mine to them. To leave something of a positive trail behind me is my highest aspiration.

I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but still I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
Edward Everett Hale

A Song to My Soul – Part 2

My leave behind here yesterday was the story about four family photographs that came in a used book I purchased and my hope of returning them. https://goodmorninggratitude.com/2012/11/02/a-song-to-my-soul/

Once business hours began yesterday I was able to leave a message where the father used to work and retired from. I asked only that someone get in touch and ask him to call me. A few hours later my phone range and Mr. Al Unser was on the other end of the line.

He was a little suspicious at first, but as I relayed my story and described the photographs his demeanor changed to warmth and gratitude. He mentioned remembering one of the photos in particular; the one of his children when they were small. I asked for his address and ended my day addressing an envelope and putting the pictures inside with a printout of yesterday’s blog.

To a point I went out of my way to return the photographs simply because it was the right thing to do. Such orphaned photos are usually only meaningful to the particular family they come from. To anyone else they are insignificant and garbage bound. It would have been sad had that been the fate of these images.

More than anything I enjoy the feeling of knowing I did something good. Just a few minutes off the usual path of my life given freely to others allowed me to put a few specks of additional kindness into the world. And in the giving, I am the one who receives most. I am grateful for the positive sense of self my actions brought. There can never be too much kindness in the world!

Those who loved you and were helped by you
will remember you
when forget-me-nots have withered.
Carve your name on hearts,
not on marble.
Charles H. Spurgeon