Category: Feeling Good


Payin’ It Forward

pay it forwardIt doesn’t take much to make a day a little brighter for those around you, and, in doing so, for yourself. The other day at work, I witnessed a random act of kindness between two strangers. A woman making a purchase and I were chatting about the weather turning a bit more Spring-like as I was completing her transaction. The transaction was somewhat complex, and took about 6 minutes to A man behind her in line was patiently waiting. The woman apologized to him for his having to wait for her transaction to be completed. He smiled and said, “No problem.” Then, the woman took his item that was sitting on the counter next to her, and asked me to ring it up on her card, indicating that it was in concern for his time spent waiting. It was an $18 item. The man protested, thanking her, but she insisted. He reluctantly relented, thanking her profusely, and said to her, “You didn’t have to do that!” Her reply? “Yes, I know. But that’s exactly why I am doing it. You can do the same –something nice and unexpected–for someone else someday.” “Pay it forward, my friend”, I said. “That’s how you keep the good going ’round.”

He thanked her again, and left with a big smile on his face. And so did she. And I left work with a happy heart that day.

The Author:  Kathy Clark

Kathy Clark

“Live to Give” typifies her heart’s truest desire.  Her hope is to continue to Do Good through reaching out to others through ThinkGood, sharing with all of you  her energy and appreciation for the (sometimes hidden-suddenly revealed) moments of beauty in life.

 

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Liquid Diamonds – The Most Valuable Diamonds of All

Water over kids hands

I’d like to think we all have a moment, or, if we’re lucky, many moments, when we are suddenly and unmistakably drawn–pulled, even–from our inward-turned world of daily life, when we’re shown something that opens our eyes–and opens us–almost turning us inside out, so we look OUTward.  It is in these moments that we really SEE who or what is right there in front of us, seemingly put three for us, and us alone, at that precise moment, to notice, take in , to be inspired by, to love, to share and to learn from.  Or, we are given the chance to see it for some purpose to be revealed to us later, but we know to tuck it away because it is extraordinary in that moment.  Our senses are heightened, our minds are opened and focused solely on that moment, that something, that someone.

That something could be present in our lives already, even on a daily basis, yet be so mundane, so routine or so seemingly insignificant that it doesn’t register as anything other than ordinary and expected.  Or, it could be a sensation, a vision, a sound, a feeling, an awareness, that we have never experienced until that moment, and it catches our full attention and may even move us deeply.

Sound familiar?  Are you picturing fireworks, bells and whistles, orchestral or angelic soundtracks or some other dramatic accompaniment to the moment of “enlightenment”?  Or, do you imagine complete quiet , hushed, pleasant sounds from nature, repeated mantra or the steady soundtrack of familiar voices and daily activities humming along in the background, as you uncover a gentle reminder about the importance of small, simple things in a gradual, layer-by-layer excavation?  Do you picture a surge of deep emotion welling up inside you and spilling over in the form of tears…or laughter?  Will the moment be fleeting, or be forever teched in your heart and mind?

One of these “moments” in my life happened at a time when I believe I really needed it, which is when, at least in my experience, we are most likely to be shown and surprised by them.

My two children, then five and seven, and I were outside in our yard one hot summer afternoon.  They were playing with a favorite water toy–a waterway, with multiple pieces, curves and drops and a pump to raise and lower the water level, like a canal, and several different little boats to travel the route they created.  I had also filled 2 tubs with shaving cream for them to be silly with, too.  They had sunblock on, an umbrella to play under, and two icy cold drinks in their spill-proof cups, each.  Just shy of patting myself on the back for thinking of everything they’d need, “I’m all set!”I thought.  Soon, I was deeply engrossed in clearing out my garden beds anticipating momentarily getting some long overdue planting done.

All was well, until, as young kids are wont to do, my two got bored with the items at hand, and began asking for “new stuff” to play with.  Squirt guns, the small, impossible to fill, empty-in-two-squirts kind that I should have known better than to have bought, were dropped at my feet.  “Mom?  Mom?  MOM!  Can you fill these NOW?  Please?  I want the blue one!  You get the red one!”  Sigh…  I complied, and off they went.  I had barely gotten my gardening gloves back on when they were back, with the same, urgent request, now bordering on “demand”, since one of them had lost the previous “battle” and gotten sprayed in the face by the other, who was declaring “victory”.  The fourth time they returned, out of “ammunition” and getting crankier by the moment (as was I), I decided it was time to remind them that “Mommy has work to do, and I can’t keep stopping every five seconds (a classic use of exaggeration by a flustered mom) to fill these guys!”  They looked at me dejectedly, and I felt that lousy feeling of frustration and guilt combined, knowing the work I was hoping to do was not going to get done (frustration), and the reason why was because my kids needed/wanted me to help them and play with them and I was doing something else instead (guilt).

I set down my tools and went into the garage to get the two Fire Hose Hero backpack pump-action water sprayers that resembled the packs and hoses firemen might carry to put out a fire.  My two LOVED the fire department, and had won a pizza party the Fall before for “best costumes” at the department’s Halloween tour and costume contest.  They sprayers held a little under a gallon of water, and they were a hit when I brought them out and filled them.  One quick demonstration of how to use them, and they were suited up and off, running around the yard, squealing with delight.  They loved them, and I was happy to get back to work.  But they were SO happy that they were back within five minutes, begging me to fill them again…and again…and I had managed to get only two plants in the ground, with eight more to go.  Envisioning having to abandon what I wanted to do, and not pleased, I said, “Guys, look.  I need to get these plants in the ground!  This is the last time I’m filling these!”

As I reached for the hose to fill my son’s sprayer, he reached out his little hand and held it, palm up, in the stream of water pouring from the hose.  The water missed the opening and coursed over the toy and onto my pants and shoes and his,  In the split second that my mind registered, “Oh, great!  What a mess!  Now there’s no way I’ll get this done!”, my eyes caught sight of something I may never have seen–really SEEN, had I not been granted the gift of “a moment”, that particular moment, to see it.  I have never forgotten eh vision,the feeling and the impact that one moment had on me…

I watched the water flow out of the hose and over his palm.  It was crystal clear, like liquid diamonds, glinting in the brilliant summer sun, and flowing in a  tiny river over his warm and dirt-smudged little hand.  He was open to the joy and the excitement of that moment, and was elated.  He held a little-boy handful of sparkling, liquid diamonds, made of just plain water and sunshine.  But, in that instant, I  saw and felt with my whole being the beauty of what I was witnessing, as simple and ordinary as it may have otherwise been…and time slowed and my heart sped.  Ohhh…his little fingers curled in delight at the sensation of the cool water on his warm skin, and then, he looked up at me and laughed, pure joy written all over his face, and he said, “Again, Mommy!  Do it again!”, and I realized I had liquid diamonds in my eyes and running down my cheeks.

My daughter came bounding over with her Fire Hose Hero sprayer dragging behind her in the grass, and dropping it, laughed and held out both of her small hands, palms up, and the cool water with the sunshine gave her handfuls of liquid diamonds, too.  We were so very rich, my kids and I, in that moment.

Looking down at their sun-kissed blond heads, and hearing their delighted squeals as the water missed their hands and got them wet (my aim was off because there were so many diamonds in my eyes, too many to collect before more came).  I felt a flood of joy and a deep, overwhelming gratitude for the gift, right then and there, of being turned OUTward, eyes opened, and heart softened for me to truly SEE  and FEEL the blessing of my children, my life with them, and the profound gift of being their mother, all in that single, simple sweet moment.  I turned the stream onto my own open palm, watched the sun glinting off it, and felt my whole self washed of all that had closed my heart and my mind,  so as to allow it to be written in my mind and on my heart that THAT, the awakening to a moment of new vision, and moments like it,  are what matter most .

The plants got planted–eventually.  The toys the kids loved then were replaced by book series after book series, two-wheeler bikes were mastered and ridden up and down the street til dusk, and many a kickball game was played with bases that never mattered much when the inevitable silliness ensued.

1016643_716Time passed, somehow faster with each passing year.  Mastery of the eye-roll, then the impatient, “I’ve got better things to do than listen to this”, arms-folded, heavy sigh, look away, foot tap,  and other modes of communicating, like the grunt, the mumble, the silent treatment, and the “WHAAA_TT?” from behind a closed bedroom door when called, rival the complexity of the signals passed between   a major league catcher and his pitcher, and prove to be just as frustrating and confusing to the opposing team, aka, this mom.  But as proficient as they became these, so, too, did they learn to sneak in a gentle hip check or a silly joke, or a “Mom?  Got a minute?” prelude to an unexpected and priceless heart-to-heart about the ups and downs of middle school and high school life.  Hugs from mom being accepted and even reciprocated, eye contact for more than a millisecond, and moments of laughter–and tears…all these have learned to recognize as gifts; these moments, of little hands full of liquid diamonds in the sun, and I am grateful and buoyed up by them, especially on days when it feels like I am sinking.

I know now that the tough stuff will get better, and that we will mature beyond these trying years.  But, in many ways, especially some days, I want time to slow, or even stop, before my two continue that race down the road to adulthood.  I want more handfuls of diamonds days to heal and set my mind and heart right again.  But then, I remember to stop.  I look.  I SEE.  I say the words, “I am thankful.” and those moments, though they may sometimes take a little longer to recognize, or are a bit more subtle and less brilliant now, reveal themselves to me just when I most need them, and as I open my hands, I see them full of diamonds and hear my children’s laughter. 

The Author:  Kathy Clark

“Live to Give” typifies her heart’s truest desire.  She maintains her physical and mental health, youthful energy and sanity through daily fitness training (including Kenpo Karate, cross-training, running, snowshoeing and woods-walks with friends, and will compete in her second Tough Mudder this year).  She loves her kids, siblings and friends.  Clark is a 54 year-old (single) mom of two teenagers.  She is an RN who is happiest helping others in every way possible; her mantra, “Love with her whole heart.”

Kathy Clark

Her hope is to continue to Do Good through reaching out to others through ThinkGood, sharing with all of you her energy and appreciation for the (sometimes hidden-suddenly revealed) moments of beauty in life.

Do Good Feels Good

Last week I made a delivery to a town nearby. A mom and her little baby boy were recovering from an accident that left them without the boys father. Not only did they lose a precious loved one, they lost their livelihood, are accruing staggering medical bills, and have to depend on others to drive them to all of the doctors appointments including rehabilitation for the significant injuries they are still suffering from.A few friends and I felt compelled to gather together and help this family out in any way we could. We took a collection for gift cards to help with groceries and bills, wrote a letter, gave the baby boy some really super duper books and a special little bunny toy, and when I met them to hand over the items, I gave them my heart. I looked them in the eye, expressed my condolences for their loss and suffering, and I allowed my heart to open and take in some of their pain, holding some of their burden for just a few minutes.I was truly moved and fulfilled by this visit. The Mother looked me in the eye as well with a message of Gratitude. I felt a bond…a bond with another human being that was positive and warm. Yes, she was a stranger to me but we are all connected in this life. Her pain is part of the universe, my universe, your universe. If she is hurting we are all hurting. The energy in the world is missing her passion for life and the love from the baby’s father. To be able to bring her some sort of small token of love and compassion, changes the world’s energy, as it changes hers. Her heart fills up, even if just for a moment or two, but that ripple of love is felt throughout the neighborhood and throughout the city, and so on and so forth.

So my point is this: Do Good. It turns things around…for the Good! 🙂

Feel Good: I got a pat on the back this morning! It made me feel Good!  🙂

While at McDonalds for breakfast, David wanted me to butter his hotcakes and after I declined, he proceeded to fall apart! “Fine! I will eat them plain!”, he scowled. “I don’t know how!” he stated. So, I encouraged him to start practicing, you are 9 1/2, you can do it, *three cheers* for buttering…!  “Great! Now I can’t eat!!”, he cried. “oh! I am going to starve to death!”, he wailed.

Ever see this from your kids?

Ever see this from your kids?

Um…well, I already said No and why are you crying? This is about buttering your hotcakes!!! Pick up your plastic knife, scoop out the yellowy goodness, and move your utensil back and forth over the circular pile. …aaaaand go!

Nope more crying.

Over hotcakes and butter.

No joke.

At this point, I can see a few people checking David out. What are thinking, I wonder. They have heard me give my direction, most likely. Are they thinking 1) Good mom skills! or 2) your kid is a crybaby  or 3) Really Lady!?!? Just butter his damn hotcakes already!!! Stop the madness!

I decided sticking to my guns and letting the poor boy cry was a fine choice. Do I want to give in with all of these witnesses? Will he ever stop crying, though? And, again, why are we having this argument over HOTCAKES?!?!? All the while, I stayed poised and calm and looking like I knew exactly what I was doing!  Doubt was tumbling on the inside however!

His sister and friend offered to help, because Grace is a “really good buttered” and “should enter a buttering contest!”.*giggle* I asked them to stick to their own Styrofoam trays and talk among themselves and let David be.  They gladly returned to their own pile of greasy goodies!

A pattern had formed:  David continued to cry.  I continued to ignore.  The other children carried on with their breakfast.  However, after some time, not too long, but long enough to wonder if the tears would ever end, I spotted David from the corner of my eye BUTTERING HIS HOTCAKES!!!  What the Whaaaaaaa…..????  *fist pump*  I did it!  er, I mean, HE did it!  I felt so relieved!  I was relieved for him…he made it through the Field of Stubborn!  He changed his “I can’t” attitude into “I sure as heck can”!  He would eat his hotcakes after all and would not waste away to practically nothing!  And I was relieved for me!  I had seen this through with my dignity intact. I had stuck to my word, AND I had witnesses!  Ha!

And this is where the pat on the back comes in…the witnesses!  One couple that had been keep quiet tabs on the play before them, got up to leave.  They were dressed in biking garb so I decided to be friendly and ask about their excursion. They filled me in briefly on their route and we peeked at the clouds together to see if they might miss the rain that’s coming.  It was unlikely that they would make it home dry, but decided that was no big deal!     As the woman exited, she cupped her hand around her mouth to tell me quietly “You have the patience of a saint!”  I tried to take it as a compliment and graciously added, “Well, I stuck to my word and looky!  He did it!”  To which she replied with a smile and thumbs up “Well done!”

The interaction left me feeling  happy and calm.  I had received validation and supported not only by a member of society but also, equally important, by myself!  I felt good about what had transpired in the “Battle of the Butter”!   I stayed in a place of love with my son.  I respected my own parenting choices and the bikers showed me an appreciation for my situation.  Maybe they had been there in the same battle with their own children, maybe not, and I am so glad that they shared their positive thoughts with me.  It is a Feel Good kind of day thanks to the kind words of others!

I invite you to Pay someone a compliment when possible!  It could really make a positive difference in their day!
Theresa, Head of Community Good, Think Good, LLC

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A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

Think Good Story

Earth’s little reminders happen at the right times and can be a way to realign thinking.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house.

(Author Unknown)

Synthetic Happiness?

http://www.finerminds.com/happiness/fake-it-till-you-make-it/

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