October 5
Life is not made up of great sacrifices
and duties but of little things in which
smiles and kindness given habitually
are what win and preserve the heart
and secure comfort.

Humphrey Davy


Today's Meditation:

I think that sometimes we get frustrated because we're hoping to accomplish those "big" things, the ones that will get us recognized by others, the ones that will gain us promotions and accolades and even fame on a certain level.  We want our lives to "count," and the only way we see to make sure that that happens is to do something that others also see as "counting."

We won't all end up in the papers or the newscasts, and all of our names will not be ending up as household names.  That's a given.  But let's consider it for a moment--would we say that every human being who hasn't been written up in the paper has led a life that's been a waste?  Every human being who hasn't ended up in the public eye has simply squandered their time here on this planet?  Of course not.

We all have tons of opportunities to help others through small things, through the smiles and kindnesses that can encourage and motivate and inspire.  And the truth is that we do not need anyone else to see what we're doing or even comment on it--life is made up of little things, and the people who seek out the recognition and approval of others are compensating for their own insecurities as people; they're looking for their validation from others rather than feeling it inside.

We don't need to do that, though.  There have been millions of people who have lived full, complete, loving lives without ever receiving public notice, and in many cases, it's been the recipients of their love who have gone on to be noticed publicly.  And they always thank those who have given them love and kindness, those who have helped them to reach the goals they've set and aspired to.  When I die, I don't want to think that I never acted out of kindness and love because I felt I wouldn't be recognized for it--I want to know that whenever I had a chance to show a kindness, I took it and did my best to make it worthwhile.

Questions to consider:

How have our cultures come to regard public recognition as being so important to us?  Is it really?

What kinds of small kindnesses can you perform on this day?

Think about the smiles and kindnesses that you've received.  How have they made you feel?  Would you like to give that feeling to others? 

For further thought:

We restore the holiness of the world through our
loving-kindness and compassion.  Everyone
participates.  It is a collective task.  Every act
of loving-kindness, no matter how great or small,
repairs the world.  All those ever born have shared
this collective work since the beginning of time.

Rachel Naomi Remen


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