Love is something if you give away, you end up having more.
The other side of giving is taking. Many of us were brought up to believe that it's not okay to take, so we diminish admiration that people give us. "Oh, this old rag, I got it at a garage sale for next to nothing." This response to a compliment can take away the joy of giving it from the person who admired the way we looked.
Giving needs taking to complete it. We can keep the cycle of generosity going by taking gracefully. A world without those who take would be unbalanced. When someone gives us love, appreciation, or a gift, we can show our real pleasure with a simple thank you, and stop thinking we don't deserve it.
Can I accept what's given to me today in the spirit it's offered?
All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination.
--Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
We use our imaginations to plan how we're going to build a model car or plane, rearrange the furniture in our rooms, even dress for a special party. The imagination is like a big piece of drawing paper on which we sketch the way we want something to look.
When we don't know just how to begin a task, the imagination gets us started. It's like having the directions for playing a new game. Dreams about the future, where we want to go, the jobs we want to have, are made more real when we "draw" them in our minds. The imagination gives us courage, too.
Do I have the courage today to imagine a better me?
I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.
--Henry David Thoreau
One of the greatest gifts of our lives is the ability to enjoy solitude. Many of us are unable to enjoy this gift. We are too busy--busy with work, with friends, with entertainment.
When we slow down, we find out we can feel peaceful when we are alone. For most of us, solitude is ordinary--we each find our private place and take up our favorite activities: fishing, sewing, writing, building models, making pictures. These simple activities are so much fun it's hard to figure out why it took us so long to calm down and enjoy them.
Our dreams may be quite ordinary. We can learn how to find them.
What ordinary activities have I been putting off because I think I'm too busy?
Work is love made visible.
Family members show love and concern for others through their work. Parents might build a bookcase or prepare the meals. Children might help by emptying the wastebaskets. All are showing love through what they do. In our lives together, our work is an important way of saying I love you. We will still want to give them lots of hugs and kisses. But our work shows how much we care, and who is important to us. Our work around the house is an investment. It makes a home for all of us, constructed of visible love.
How can I make our home a better one today?
Oh, this is the creature that doesn't
exist . . . . In fact, it never was. But since they loved it, a pure
beast came to be.
--Rainer Maria Rilke
The unicorn, serene and white, is a strong and graceful animal
with the body of a horse. A single white horn grows from its brow,
making it unique among all animals. It is gentle, shy, and good, and
though stories have been told about it for centuries, many people
say it never existed. We call it a myth, yet in telling its story,
we make it real.
Friendship is like the unicorn: created from faith. Before we
speak, reach out, believe in the possibility of relations with
another, friendship does not exist. But when we share a meal, a
joke, or a walk--a piece of ourselves--we open up to two friends . .
. one in the other person, the other within ourselves.
How does sharing myself with another
create a friend within me?
|Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
The truth is our friend. It is a rough and humble kind of friend--but a friend nonetheless. Each of us will need to learn to spend time with this friend because it is one that is not easy to escape. It is always turning up when we least expect it. The truth about ourselves is hard to avoid. It seems to knock at our door until we let it in.
Perhaps we have played the game of hide and seek sometime in our lives. Sometimes we tell little lies about ourselves to impress others, or we act in ways that, deep down, we know are not really the way we want to be. We can never be comfortable this way. We know what it is like to hide and try to keep from being found. The truth about us is an expert player. It seeks us out until we put our arms around it and welcome it.
Is there something I am hiding from today?
For no actual process happens twice; only we meet the same sort of occasion again.
--Suzanne K. Langer
Today is not going to be like yesterday. Nor will it resemble tomorrow. Each day is special and promises us many new ideas--perhaps the chance to make a friend, or to learn something interesting from a teacher or a book. Some activities today will be familiar, just like playing a game for the second, third, or tenth time is familiar. And yet, the way each player moves the pieces around the board will be different. The excitement about today is that it is full of surprises. Every thing we do, every conversation we have, will not be repeated in just the same way again, and this reminds us how special each of us is.
What new discovery will I make today?
Here's Sulky Sue
What shall we do?
Turn her face to the wall . . . .
When she put her Sulky Sue up against the wall, was this mother a wise or silly goose? If Sue was confused, could she talk sense with a wall? If she was angry, would the wall ever know why? If she was sad, would the wall wipe her tears away? If she was lonely, would the wall take her by the hand? Some walls are built for support, others to keep people away. To sulk is to look for support, someone strong to hold us up, not a silly goose who will turn us away.
Sulking is not the best way to look for help, and when we sulk, we are likely to end up isolating ourselves in some corner of our own making. And on the other hand, when we see another sulking, how much better it is to offer support instead of isolation!