Gifts for the Heart and from the Heart

149955862562968945_eOBULBH7_bI stumbled upon this picture a little while ago, and I was drawn to it immediately.  It sums up the whole concept behind this blog, as I really believe that by doing just one thing each day for yourself and for others can and will change our world.  So, I am taking the fact that I found this picture to be a sign that the change is underway already, and I hope that you all are joining me in this venture.  There is no act of kindness that is too small, and there is no time like the present to begin.

One of the kindest things I can do for myself is to exercise on a regular basis, as it makes me feel better on every level.  I really do enjoy exercise, and I used to work out 5-7 days/week regularly.  All of that changed when I got divorced last year and returned to full-time work last summer, as I have less time to exercise, especially when I have my daughters in my care.  Then, when I do have time to trail run or go to the gym, my ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking kicks in, and I feel like if I cannot work out like I used to, then it’s not worth it.  I have been mourning how things used to be when it comes to exercise and a few other things from my life prior to the divorce, and this weekend, I decided it was time to let go and embrace a new routine. 

So, this morning, when my trail run was rained out, I first thought of all the things I could get done around the house, if I skipped working out, and I rationalized that I could work out tomorrow.  Then, I got honest with myself, as I knew I had time to go to the gym and still get tasks finished at home, and I thought of how much better I always feel following a workout.  I exercised, and as predicted, I felt so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I was re-energized and less stressed, and I felt ready to face the rest of my day.  It was a great reminder that when I take care of myself, I then can help take care of others. 

In my other blog, “That’s Another Story”, I wrote a post entitled “Remember the Turkey” that details some of the reasons I do not particularly like the holidays, which explains why I was less than enthusiastic about helping at the Christmas Party this afternoon at the local day shelter for homeless men where I am employed.  Don’t get me wrong; I really do love my job, and the men I have the privilege to work with are second to none; however, lately, I have begun to feel burned out at work and at home.  So, I didn’t exactly feel the holiday spirit as I drove to work, but then, I entered the shelter and found the true meaning of the season dwelling within the four walls.

Our amazing group of volunteers and staff had transformed the interior with strands of sparkling lights, huge, bright bows, table cloths, poinsettia plants, a Christmas tree, and a potluck lunch that was a true holiday feast for the eyes and stomach.  On the tables were dozens of sugar cookies waiting to be decorated, and there was pretty live music courtesy of a hammer dulcimer and a guitar.  Beyond the material beauty and treats were the greatest gifts of all-the huge, grateful smiles of the staff, volunteers, and “our guys” celebrating together.  Suddenly, I knew how Ebenezer Scrooge must have felt on Christmas morning when he awoke a changed man. 

My contribution to the festivities was helping to set up and clean up, but leave it to the men to remind me what matters the most.  To people who have very little, it is the little things that actually make the greatest impact.  So, as I attended to the practical matters of the party, I also made sure that I took time to chat with the guys, to share a hearty laugh, to look them in the eyes and genuinely smile, and to be present for them.  Giving someone time and attention are two of the greatest gifts you can give, and during a season that focuses more on presents that are bought and wrapped than presents that are truly priceless, I was glad that I could give the guys the best of myself today, especially when I have felt at my worst lately.  When the guys comment on how much I smile, I always respond, “I always smile when I am in the company of such great people”, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

So, today was all about doing something good for my heart and giving back to a very special group of people from my heart.  Both made a warm, rainy day all the better and brighter, and I am looking forward to what tomorrow will bring and what I can bring to tomorrow.  This is only the beginning, but it’s off to a good start.

Just one thing each day . .  .


Categories: Just One Thing Each Day

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