Spontaneous Stupidity

Spontaneous Stupidity

I coined the phrase spontaneous stupidity after I was reminded by my children that by being spontaneous we can miraculously transform chaos into calm. Why add the word Stupidity though? I have always admired the court jester.  It was in Europe where jesters had some of their greatest influence. Often called a fool, joker, clown or even less honorable names, the jester’s position was actually one of entertainment and political advice. The jester often walked a fine line between the acceptable and the profane. This, however, was because the jester could speak of things no one else in a king’s court dare. It is one thing to be spontaneous but it is another to be willing to try something you have never done before and possibly look stupid.
Since the jester did outrageous things all the time, he could speak the grave truth and get away with it as something said in “jest”. I love the idea of doing something stupid and getting away with it. Maybe that’s why the next story is so close to my heart

Anyone with five children under nine will tell you that life can be very noisy. It can also be one of the most challenging times in any young mother’s life. It was for me. I was barely coping. I felt my wings had been cut and I could no longer fly. Living on a steep hill meant taking the babies and our very active toddler for a walk required superhuman strength. Driving to the shops often meant leaving the babies outside the shop as the double stroller did not fit in an average door way and taking a stroll through a department store was impossible for the same reason. The stroller didn’t fit into the Ladies Restroom.

The twins had been home from hospital for only three weeks. My husband was at work and I was alone with all five children. Deciding to be organized, I put a chicken in the oven, a pot of potatoes on the stove and began to feed the twins. What was I thinking?

Sitting on the carpet in the lounge room, surrounded by pillows to prop up and support my tiny babies, I began the complicated process of feeding my twin boys, at the same time. All was going well until I heard a loud crashing noise and saw my twenty-two month old son pulling everything out of the kitchen cupboards, throwing pots and pans to the floor.

While I called out for him to come to me, my nine-year old daughter ran down the stairs hysterically crying that her new ballet dress had ripped on the edge of the wardrobe. “Please fix it mummy”, she cried.

If this wasn’t bad enough, my six-year old daughter, curious about all the clanging and banging in the kitchen, stood in the line of fire and got a saucepan to the shin.. Shrieks of screaming at decibels that threatened to crack all the windows shot through our apartment.

Both girls were now crying and my terror of a toddler, now determined to escape, had managed to get a stool and was opening the front door to make a run for it. And here I was, with both breasts firmly locked in two tiny mouths… and the phone started to ring! There was a faint burning smell coming from the kitchen

I unplugged the babies and lay them flailing on a rug on the floor and ran to grab my toddler and double lock the front door. As I turned off the stove, I instinctively grabbed a box of corn flakes and walked back into the lounge room where all five of my children were hysterically crying. I have no idea why I did what I did next…but my arm seemed to know what it was doing.

 

I proceeded to throw handfuls of corn flakes all over the room. With each handful the level of noise diminished and my children’s wails turned to whimpers, their eyes wide in shock. Eventually all that could be heard were cornflakes, raining down on the speckled carpet.

The children looked at me with total incredulity. All was quiet. Not a sound, even from the babies. Eventually in a soft whispery voice, I told the children to get a plastic bowl each from the kitchen, and whoever could pick up the most corn flakes would win a wonderful prize. The rest of the afternoon was spent gathering cornflakes, winning Freddo frogs and receiving surreptitious glances from the children to make sure I was not about to surprise them with another bizarre outburst. I wasn’t.

I was too busy enjoying being a mother to five children.

 

What has Love Got to do with Everyday Miracles?

What’s Love Got to do with Everyday Miracles

What’s Love got the do with Everyday Miracles? Is there a point where the energy of Love carries us into a realm of unimaginable wonder, a place where we become both the creator and the recipient of Life’s miraculous moments? I believe there is.

What is Love?

The urban dictionary defines Love as The most spectacular, indescribable, deep euphoric feeling for someone.

The Oxford dictionary says it is a strong feeling of affection.

The Webster Dictionary defines it as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

But none of these definitions encompass the depth and breadth of Love because they all seriously have limited Love by referring to it as a feeling or an emotion, and it is neither.

Love is a State of Being and our ability to live in a state of love evolves as we evolve.

When we are children we develop attachment firstly to our parents or care takers, and in time this attachment, when nurtured in a healthy manner, leads us towards experiencing ourselves in loving relationship with our own self and with others. Our development then extends to include family, peers, colleagues and communities.

Some of us who are not nurtured in a healthy manner have elements of narcissism, grandiosity, self-righteousness and superiority which blind us to seeing clearly, and as a result, limit our potential and slow down the evolutionary process.

However as we evolve we discover other aspect of love including compassion.

Compassionate love is love where self-criticism and self-abuse no longer exist and where we begin to see the beauty of others and appreciate their differences as well as their similarities. This then frees us to step into the next stage. Which is love of humanity or group consciousness. Here, the call to be of service to humanity, to the animal kingdom, to science, art or medicine is heard. We feel a connection to something greater than ourselves. Love through the Soul enables us to move beyond earthly limitations and we begin to reach outwards and connect to the powerful energies beyond the Chaos of our Planet. In time this leads us to a recognition that each living being is an individualised spark of Divine Essence and we know that this is our true identity. The I Am presence is in each and ever one of us. This is also known as Unconditional Love.

My spiritual teacher once told me:

Your world has two choices:

To love the Self unconditionally – and in so doing, become an extension of everyone and everything else

OR

To fear the Self as being inadequate or inappropriate, and experience disconnection and fear of being open to others.”

[Quote from John the Beloved, 22/2/2001]

But before I say more about Love let’s look at the term of Everyday Miracles because in actually fact the term itself is a paradox, an oxymoron, a contradiction.

How can miracles be ‘everyday’. How can something that is so life changing and unique and magical and full of the essence of the divine be every day, and yet according to Albert Einstein how can it not?

For he says:

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

And of course I stand here today because I have always seen life as Miraculous. But not life in general because when we speak too broadly we run the risk of becoming too vague and losing the context but rather I see the miraculous in the moment of life: the unexpected messages we receive, the coincidences, , the synchronicities, moments of serendipity and happenchance. These are what I call Everyday Miracles.

So what is the difference between a Miracle and an Everyday Miracle?  I think the answer to that question is simply interpretation and interpretation comes from a person’s individual attitude. What is a miracle to one person may not be a miracle to another.  The way we see life, the way we perceive and observe and the meanings we attribute to events in our life determine whether we see events as miraculous or not.

Some of you may have heard of Tim Hansel. I confess I only recently discovered his life and works. He was a strong, risk-taking, all-out-effort kind of guy. He climbed mountains and led wilderness expeditions. One day, on the way back to camp after climbing on the Palisade Glacier with friends, his foot slipped and he fell a long distance down into a crevasse, landing directly on his back on the ice. The damage was tremendous and although he lived,  he continued to experience severe pain for the rest of his life. He also lived life from a place of choice.

He said , “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.”

One of the greatest lessons that this courageous man learned during this process was that he had the ability to choose joy, even in the midst of pain.

This, says Tim Hansel, is in contrast to happiness which, you will note, comes from the same root as the word happening. Whether or not we feel happy depends on what happens to us. It is circumstantial. Of course there is nothing wrong with happiness! We all rightly enjoy when things are going well in our lives and circumstances.

But what about when they are not? People like Tim Hansel, who lived in chronic pain, and others in a thousand different difficult life situations struggle with feeling happy.

Hansel encourages us, alternatively, to remember that we are privileged to be able to choose joy.

I recently read a wonderful story of a man sitting in the park watching his children play. He had just completed 6 months of chemo therapy and was feeling so peaceful, so grateful to be alive on this beautiful day. He looked up at the clouds. A small patch of fluffy clouds moved away from the rest forming three separate letters. The first was J the second looked like an O and the third was a Y. JOY

He believed this was a miracle to remind him that Joy is there just for the looking.

Everyday miracles reveal themselves when we choose to pay attention. The more present we are, the more frequently these moments occur. Life, regardless of our circumstances, is enriched a thousand times over when we stop and pay attention to what is happening right now.

Tim Hansel wrote “Life becomes precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles and get excited about the privileges of simply being human.”

Some of the privileges of being human include the ability to feel gratitude, to give and receive forgiveness, and to live in wonder. When we connect to the wisdom of the heart we are more able to change our perception and see the miracles that happen around us everyday.

So how do we connect to the wisdom of the heart? One way I find that works well for me, no matter what the situation is to stop and take a deep breath. And if you can remember to take another all the better. By giving yourself a breath you can go within and connect inside yourself. You can then access your own divine in-sight.

When you go within and visualise your heart centre, maybe as a ball of light, maybe as a vessel you can fill with light you are bringing your awareness to the heart of who you are.

Giving yourself a breath helps us to slow down, pay attention and connect to the Spirit within. It allows us time to focus on the positive rather than lose ourselves in the negative. And because Like attracts like we then call more positive, and magical moments into our life.

Four qualities that can help open us to the world of everyday miracles.

Kindness, Gratitude, Forgiveness and Wonder. These 4 qualities are intrinsically linked to Love.

Kindness, especially random acts of kindness increases the quality of Love into the world. A kind act may be keeping silent when a word may cause someone pain. It may be leaving  $50 in the letterbox of someone you know is struggling a bit. It may be mowing your neighbours front lawn at the same time as mowing your own.

One person’s random act of kindness is another person’s everyday miracle.

Gratitude connects us to our hearts and turns even the most ordinary and mundane experience into a sacred moment.  Even taking a breath is something we can be grateful for, especially when we have witnessed someone take their last. On the other hand the most profound and life changing miracle will lose its brilliance, and fade unless it is accompanied by gratitude.

Recently my beautiful father passed away and his absence has been a great loss in my life. He was interested in so many things and relished studying and learning more.  He gave me a deep appreciation of research, leaning but especially being alive. Paradoxically,  every morning I wake up knowing this could be the last day of my life. It could be the last day of my husband’s life or one of my children. Knowing this and bringing it to mind heightens my sense of thankfulness for every minute of the day. The more we practice kindness and generosity the more we find it flowing into our lives.

Forgiveness is another door to opening miracles. Robert Muller said, To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness”

But how do you forgive the unforgivable?  When I met Sandy Macgregor and heard his story I knew then that nothing was unforgivable.

Eighteen years ago, Sandy lost his three teenage daughters and their friend when they were shot dead in their Sydney home. Few people would ever get their life back together again after such an event, but Sandy went much further than that and found a way to forgive. In his book Peace of Mind he describes the technique he used to do this. He also makes it clear that forgiveness is not about condoning an action. Forgiveness is only for yourself.  What the does perpetrator with your forgiveness is up to them. Whatever they do is not your responsibility. You are primarily responsible for yourself only. The miracle that comes out of forgiveness is freedom .

Wonder clears our lenses and allows us to see and hear and touch and taste for the first time, over and over again.  Innocence gives birth to wonder.  That childhood sense of playfulness and purity that heightens everything we do.  As we experience wonder, life simply becomes more wonder-full.

Paying attention to everyday miracles reminds us that life is a gift. The joy of taking a deep breath cannot be taken for granted, especially when you have seen someone take their last. The gratitude that fills your heart when your child succeeds in getting a dream job, or your grandchild says I love you cannot be underestimated. The peace we experience when we befriend an old enemy is possibly the greatest miracle imaginable. The willingness to let go of complaining, let go of being a victim, let go of our addictions to drama, brings into our lives a world of everyday miracles.

From the Course of Miracles it is written, ‘Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.’

 

3 Keys to Manifesting Miracles

When you are attempting to manifest something it’s not the time to be faint-hearted, or to vaguely hope something will happen. Hope is not conducive to manifestation.

1. The Key of Belief

That means one hundred percent commitment to what you seek. What you believe is what you receive. It may not come in exactly the same package you expected but our Guides are there to help us when we ask. There is a little hiccup though. If on some level you have even an inkling of doubt that you deserve this, or you have a little left over anger towards yourself for something you did to someone or you are just a tiny bit unsure whether you really want this, your Guides will pick up on that energy and honour you by waiting until you have dealt with these issues first. It is all about the Law of Attraction. You have heard of that I’m sure. The Law of Attraction is all about energy.

2. The  Key of Joy

.If you put energy into feeling the joy of receiving what you wanted, appreciating yourself as deserving of abundance, being clear about what you want and feeling the energy as if you have already received it you will see miracles occur all through your happen life. However, if after all that, you begin to feel doubtful that it might not happen, uncertain that all this is for real, or concerned that you may have overstepped possibility, guess what? You will be putting an equal amount of negative energy into what you have already created and the likely hood of you manifesting what you want diminishes with every negative thought.

3. The Key of Trust

Trust that you can handle love, success, wealth and unlimited joy.Trust you are ready. Concentrate on the feeling of living your dream right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot off the PRESS! The Little Book of Everyday Miracles

In a world where turmoil and disaster appear daily in the news, we would be forgiven for thinking our beautiful world has reached a point of no return. In fact, there is a silent revolution turning a tidal wave of chaos into an ocean of miracles.

Ordinary people are reaching out and connecting to each other in numbers never before seen. Those who work towards freedom and liberation of all humanity are quietly transforming the world. One person’s random act of kindness becomes another person’s miracle.

Miraculous moments rarely arrive in a fanfare of trumpets or with a spectacular triple arched rainbow announcing their arrival. Indeed, most miracles happen somewhere between a heartbeat and a blink of an eye. Unless we to stop and honour the sacred moment, they can all too quickly be lost.

The Little Book of Everyday Miracles opens our eyes to life’s magical moments. It reminds us to dream, pray, marvel and wonder. Everyday miracles are moments of grace that soften our world and touch the sweet innocence of the child within us all. Through stories of serendipity, synchronicity, coincidence and chance this beautiful book touches and irrevocably opens our hearts and releases wave after wave of gratitude and joy. The more we experience gratefulness the more open we are to receiving miracles in our lives.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” I know which way I choose. What about you?


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Touch me, touch me, touch me, I wanna be healthy

 Im sitting on a low brick wall just outside an up market dress shop in Berry, chatting on my mobile to my daughter, extolling the virtues of living in community. The benefits include an increase in wellness on many levels. Individual wellness, economic wellness, and social wellness. Community is a natural way for humans to live and yet we have drifted away from this to embrace separation, competition, and that harsh aspect of capitalism, every man for himself. Communal living guides us towards true cooperation and ideally a healthy appreciation of diversity and difference. So here I am chatting about this idea and imagining how wonderful it would be to be part of such a community when I am distracted by a long line of ants scurrying along the crack between the wall and the pavement.

What struck me was the way the ants stopped to greet each other walking in the opposite direction. They would turn, touch and take off. As I watched I saw them do this over and over again they seemed to be saying, ‘Good morning, G’day, How are you? What’s up? How’s it going? See ya.’

I watched the ants meet and greet each other long after I finished talking to my daughter. It seemed to me that they were showing me what real community living could be like. None of the ants appeared to be living in any other ant’s pocket, or demanding more from their fellow ants than they could give. They each had a direction, a purpose, a job to do but were never too busy to stop greet, touch, and move on. None of the ants seems the least concerned about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of touching. When we live in a world where teachers are not allowed to touch their students kindly on the shoulder, or lift a child up who has fallen down, God help us.  Oh that’s right, we are already living in that kind of world.

Good heavens!

Have we really banned touching? If we don’t touch each other are we not likely to forget how it feels to be touched? When was the last time someone placed their hands on your shoulders and gently massaged away a little tension? How will our children reach out and touch each other, a petal, a flower, a puppy, a tree, if we don’t touch them? What happens when someone is no longer touched? We shrivel up like a dry leaf. Our skin shrivels, our spirit shrivels and we become disconnected from the world. The largest organ in the human body craves touch. Our skin yearns to be touched. Touch soothes, touch softens, touch eases our lives.

In the 1950s, a psychologist named Harry Harlow conducted a very dramatic (and likely unethical by today’s standards) experiment with baby rhesus monkeys. He took the baby monkeys away from their mothers and put them into cages with 2 fake “mother monkeys” made of wire mesh, one bare and the other covered with terry cloth. The wire mother monkeys each had a bottle pushed through the wire so that the baby monkeys could feed. At the time, scientists thought that babies bonded with their mothers solely because mothers were a source of food. It was a surprise when all of the monkeys spent as little time near the bare wire monkey as possible and all their time clinging to the terry cloth covered mother monkey. Harlow revolutionized child care at the time, concluding that babies needed more than something to eat, they also need soft familiar touch.

It is not only babies however that needs touch. Children, adults and old people all need touch for good health.

When I touch my very old mother, especially at the side of her eyes she melts into the sensation of being loved. Although my sister and I often hug our 94 year old father he very wisely also has a massage every two weeks. Through touch we communicate more than we can through words.

Can you imagine, going about our day acknowledging everyone we passed by looking straight at them, reaching out, touching finger tips and exchanging loving energy?

When was the last time you watched ants? They reminded me how powerful and beneficial it is to live in community. They remind all of us who live in the western world to keep active, to work with a communal focus, to share unstintingly, to carry a little more than you believe you can, and to stop, meet, greet and most importantly touch each other every day.


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Learn to Forgive- and create a true miracle

Fred Luskin knows about Forgivness. He is Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects.The forgiveness project has successfully explored forgiveness therapy with people who suffered from the violence in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone as well as the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. In addition his work has been successfully applied and researched in corporate, medical, legal and religious settings. He currently serves as a Senior Consultant in Health Promotion at Stanford University and is a Professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

These are his 9 Steps to Forgiveness

1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of people about your experience.

2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.
3. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning of their action. What you are after is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”
4. Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes – or ten years – ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings.
5. At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s flight or fight response.
6. Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Recognize the “unenforceable rules” you have for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard to get them.
7. Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want.
8. Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. Forgiveness is about personal power.
9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.
The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt depression and stress and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as physical health. It also influences our attitude which opens the heart to kindness, beauty, and love.

Click here to buy The Little Book of Everyday Miracles. Let me know your name if you want a personalised inscription.


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Eight Women who Refused to say the Word Miracle


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 They arrived one at a time. I reached out my hand to a slim grey haired woman and said, it is a pleasure to meet you. She tersely replied that she would let me know at the end of the evening whether it was a pleasure to meet me. Brenda, a relatively new friend had generously invited a small group of her friends to her home in the hills of Jerusalem.  I told her  I was collecting miracle stories and although she could not promise her friends had any, she would invite them and together we would see what emerged.

A large glass sliding door led from the lounge room to a windswept balcony on the fourth floor of a modern sandstone building. Everything in Jerusalem is built in ancient white sandstone.

The sunset had recklessly splashed pink and orange all over the horizon and the colour was dripping down over the buildings.

I asked the eight women who were sitting in Brenda’s living room what brought them to a conversation about miracles and was told, it was their scepticism. This was not going to be easy. I shared a few miracles to start the ball rolling but was told these stories  have no real meaning for them. So what does have meaning for you, I asked.

In a gruff and slightly irritated voice one woman said she had a strong reaction to the word miracle. It just doesn’t fit in life in Israel. Life was hard and getting harder. She had never known a day without something terrible happening here. There are no miracles here.

Marilyn, had arrived in Israeli in 1961 as a young bright eyed eighteen year old. She fell in love at the age of twenty married an Israeli man. In the next six years she had three children. She and her husband worked hard to make a life. Inflation, war and security were the primary issues. Everyone was listening and nodding. She was telling their story too.

“In some ways it is a miracle I am still here,” she said, shacking her head. “I have lived through the Six Day war, the War of Attrition in 1968, the Yom Kippur war in 1973, the Lebanon war in 1978 and 1982 and 1987. The Persian Gulf war, the Hezbollah war in 2006 and the war in Gaza in 2008. We are sick and tired of war. We, all of us here have been working towards peace since the day we arrived. We have all but lost faith in our politicians.

Women like myself work hard to break to cycle of fear and humiliation by reaching out to other women on the other side. We meet, Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Arabs to find ways to build a new ground of peace that our leaders on both sides seem unable to do. In 2001 we heard about a woman called Lia Nirgad and we joined her organisation called Machson Watch. Two of us at a time used to go to check posts and just witness what was happening. We support the soldiers in behaving respectfully and when something happens we ask them why.  They don’t have to pay any attention at all to us, but our presence sets them a type of challenge. Even though they see us as elderly aunts who are driving them nuts, we bring to the checkpoints an effect of sanity, something extra-army, and that stops the knee-jerk reactions for a moment. They are compelled to stop for a moment. When a soldier tells us `I can’t do that,’ we say `Yes, you can.’ At that point he has a choice.”

“We all do our part to make this place a better one. She looked around the room and caught the eye of another woman who then nodded her permission.”

“Only yesterday”, said Marilyn, “Anita and I were sitting in the tent with Noam and Aviva Shalit.”

“Along with dozens of other people we sat with these parents to show our support for their son, and in so many ways he is now our son, to be returned. It is time.”

So you talk about miracles?  I don’t see any miracles here.

But I did.

Addendum

Gilad Shalit was captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in 2006, was at the time still being held by Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, for four years. Hamas  demanded the release of more than a thousand  Palestinian soldiers held in Israel in exchange for the Israel Defence Forces soldier’s freedom. His freedom became a reality on October 18, 2011.

 

When you feel you have nothing left, give something away

Just give a smile away

 

 

 

 

 

One day I was feeling very depressed. I could go into all the external reasons I gave myself at the time for this depression, feeling overwhelmed with family responsibility, feeling un -appreciated,  addicted to negative thoughts etc. but the truth was I had temporarily forgotten who I really was.  I decided to go to the beach. At least I could wallow in my misery there.

I sat on the sand and shut my eyes and began to pray.

“Dear God,

Umm. Here I am. On the beach. Umm. I don’t feel so good. I umm, don’t want to bother you, but if you have a moment could you help me, please.”

It was not a very articulate prayer.

After I few moments I heard a sentence, inside my head.  At first I dismissed it. But it kept repeating itself. “Give something away.”

I had left my bag in the boot of the car and had jammed my car key into my jeans pocket so I didn’t have anything to actually give away. And I was not about to give away the keys to my car.

“Give something away,” repeated the voice.

I stood up and began to walk.  I passed a child holding her mother’s hand, carrying a tiny bucket and spade in her other hand. Cute.

Climbing the steps to the promenade I noticed a dog doing his business on the side walk.

Not so cute.

An old man, wearing a pair of shorts walked towards me and I raised the corners of my mouth, ever so slightly. He had looked away and then suddenly seeing my pathetic attempt to acknowledge him, he turned his head towards me, bared his crooked, slightly yellow teeth and smiled back at me.

I smiled as I passed a boy on his bicycle and surprise, surprise, he smiled at me!

I decided to create an experiment. I would see how many people would return my smile. At first it felt ridiculous. I felt like a fraud.  Smiling and feeling dreadful but I smiled at every one who passed by. And every one that passed me, smiled back.

I smiled at a mother carrying her new baby in a pouch on her chest. I smiled at a man munching on a bag of chips as his mongrel dog lie peacefully beside him. I smiled the cyclist who rode past me and at the old man who looked a miserable as I felt. And then he smiled too. The strange thing was however, I was having fun, in spite of myself.

Sitting next to a couple who were just looking out to sea,  I turned to them and said, “Hi, how are you today?”

They told me they had arrived from Finland two days ago to visit a sick friend. Their friend had passed away that morning and they were so grateful they had arrived in time to see him before he died. “You must have been very close, to him, to have come all this way”, I said.

They looked at me and told me that he had been the best man at their wedding two years earlier. He had been the man’s friend since primary school. He said that he was so happy to have known him. So grateful to have shared 27 years of friendship with him. They were both smiling and I felt the love for their friend and each other far outweighed any grief they may have been feeling.

We said goodbye and I began to walk toward my car.

The depression that I had carried with me to the beach that morning had completely lifted.

Miraculously I felt only joy and gratitude.

And all I had to do was give something away.

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A Random Act of Appreciation

“Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.” – George Bernard Shaw

For many people in the world sleeping in a bed, under a roof with a full belly is a miracle.For many people in the world giving birth safely is a miracle.For many people in the world drinking clean water is a miracle.For many people in the world being warm in winter is a miracle.Without gratitude, a miracle can pass us by unnoticed, unseen or at very best, melt into another lovely moment. Gratitude connects us to our hearts and turns even the most ordinary and mundane experience into a sacred moment. On the other hand the most profound and life changing miracle will lose its brilliance, and fade unless it is accompanied by gratitude.

We cannot instantly change the situation of these millions of people but we do have the power to count our blessings and pay them forward in many ways.

Recently I read an article by Martin Corben who works on ABC radio in Sydney. He was travelling to work by train as he normally did, and out of the blue, he heard the train guard make an announcement over the loudspeaker. “’ I’d like to thank all passengers for boarding the train so quickly and efficiently as this train has now arrived at Central on time, despite there being a problem with the doors.”

The effect of this most unusual, random, congratulatory comment was that Martin, and probably many other passengers, felt ‘randomly good’ for the rest of the day. How many people stepped off that train and were inspired to pay back one random act of kindness with another? The guard certainly didn’t need to do that and he probably will never know what the impact of his announcement.

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