Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Paying It Forward...



image courtesy of Nutdanai/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

November 1st has come and gone and I'm pleased to find that I am not panicking yet; that the mayhem that is usually the countdown to the holiday season seems to have either passed me by this year, or is laying in wait for a later date!  Usually by now I have ordered my holiday cards, made an infinite number of lists of things I dare not forget, started shopping and squirreling away gifts for my family and friends, and even begun to plan our annual Christmas dinner. This year... not so much.

But for some reason, as I sat in my living room this morning watching the rainbows cast by the prism in my window dance across my walls like the shimmering giggles of children on a crisp autumn breeze, I realized that I really liked having inadvertently having given myself permission to slow down.  I needed to take the time to admire the beauty and blessings of my life.  I needed to show my child the very things I had been taking for granted.  I needed to find a way to share those gifts with the world around me, to pay it forward.

Now, when I hear the phrase "paying it forward" I always think of that guy who paid for my order at Dunkin Donuts one day, just as a random act of kindness.  His explanation was that someone else had paid for his groceries a few days earlier when he had forgotten his wallet and he wanted to pay it forward.  I thanked him profusely and performed a similar act for someone else later in the day, remembering his kindness; but in the days that followed, I returned to my regular, frantic patterns of behavior and slowly, unconsciously let go of the idea of paying it forward.

But this morning, as my personal epiphany came to me, I made myself a promise: to pay it forward in small, meaningful ways every day, or at least whenever I am able  (and not exclusively in ways that involve money, but in ways that can touch the spirit; by greeting people with a smile, paying compliments, being generous with my time and talents, helping those in need, etc.).  More importantly, I vowed to involve my daughter (without announcing or drawing attention to what I am doing), so that she can witness first-hand the immense power of kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion.  Last year, on Facebook, I posted one thing each day in November that I was thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving; this year, I will write my blessings on my heart and, hopefully, on the impressionable mind and heart of my young daughter. 

Happy beginning-of-the-holiday-season!

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