This morning it is ten degrees out. I am on a very narrow road with no pass options and I am behind a one armed trash truck. (It has one driver and a mechanical lifting arm on the side.) Now I imagine that the person who gets this truck has drawn the short straw, because the truck is tall and just open at the top, and so you do not even have the CHOICE to just grab a bag and toss it in the back. Things have to be lifted by the one arm. And the one arm does not take turns driving, or ask you if you want to stop at the next Stardonuts to get a hot coffee, or ask you how your mom is feeling or how your son is doing in his spelling bee. A mechanical arm is no company at all.
So here it is freezing cold and the driver has an unzipped jacket and no gloves. At least the jacket is a nice winter jacket. He steps down out of the truck. I feel better when I notice that he has a warm knit cap down over his ears. I have time to think about him as I watch him, not able to pass him yet. We both wait for the mechanical arm, then we both advance.
The next trash bin had spilled over or been knocked over by a snowplow. There is a mess. Up goes one bucket via the mechanical arm and it dumps and then it moseys on back down. The bare hands of the driver have grabbed plastic bags of trash out of the snow and he reloads the bucket and the mechanical arm creak-creak-creaks it up a 2nd time and dumps, and creak-creak-creaks it down. And there are still miscellaneous small loose objects that remain in the snow and I can tell the driver is annoyed and his face is set grimly and he is also aware he is holding up traffic and yet... He reaches bare hands into the snow and picks five or six “smalls" up, and he cannot toss them up; no, mechanical arm needs to be engaged in its forty-five second routine.
Finally the driver stands the empty can in the snow, and bolts into the drivers seat to continue.
At his next stop he waves me past but I put my car in park and get out because I am going to give him a piece of my mind, yessiree. Cars pass us as I walk toward him. He sees me coming. I said something like "About that mess back there," and this man starts to apologize that he had “appeared annoyed” but the bucket had been tipped over and I said "no no no I wanted to THANK YOU because it is SO COLD today and I was AMAZED how carefully you cleaned that up- I appreciate your taking care of our world that way- and so thank you!" ... and then I slugged him on the arm for good measure, as I believe it to be a sign of sincerity. A soft little fist bump to his upper arm with my pink mitten, served with a smile.
Well, he said I made his day. So that made mine. And when I got home I looked up “Leck Trash Removal” and I pressed "call" and I told the nice lady that answered the "residential" extension what a great guy they had on board. I told her he initially thought I was going to complain to him. "People complain all the time, especially about the mechanical arm truck," she sighed. She said I made her day too, and she was going to tell every one, and she guessed it was "Rudy" and her description matched, so it must have been Rudy.
Now peeps. That was so much fun. It was so easy and simple and there is no better feeling in the world than letting someone else know that they made a difference and you noticed.
Keep your eyes open for a Rudy of your own and have some fun. And please always keep your heart open for the solitary peeps that are stuck with the mechanical arm truck.
In general, an open heart is what I recommend whenever we are faced with any version of hardship and solitude. Being kind is powerful. It is like reaching for happiness and having it rest right on your shoulders. I hope you have felt it.
A different road in a different state, but the temperature was 10 degrees.
There is a little space high on top of two of our porch posts and for some reason late last night a small bird had tucked itself into bed on the top. Later I noticed a second little bird had tucked itself in, too.... but on the second post. It was very cold out. I was curious. Why did two cold little birds use separate posts?
I am sure there is a reason. Mother Nature is wise after all. But I so wished I could make an introduction. I so wished I could create a safe spot to meet in the middle, and some quietness where they could discover each other. I so wish I could have taught them that together they could keep each other warm.
One bird might shyly say that they were having a hard time with the cold weather. The other bird's eyes might open wide, and they might smile as birds do, and say, "Gee. Me too."
Why do we stand so much on our single posts? This life is so busy that sometimes we forget how important community is. We humans, to live our lives well, must make sure our own wells are full. It is only in being full ourselves that we can give more to others.
Come one, come all, little birds. We are all in this together. It is why every avatar sent to humanity thus far taught some form of the golden rule, “Do unto the people just like you and ignore the upsets of all of those other people.”
🙄 🤔 🤭 😬. Did you know this face 😬 means “oops”?
Oops! My bad!
An email from “The Daily Stoic” presented the Marcus Aurelius version of the golden rule:
In fact, what we see in Marcus Aurelius over and over again is the idea that we must treat other people better than they treat us. Because they didn’t mean to do wrong, because they aren’t as informed as we are, because they have their own problems. And that we treat people well not because we ourselves would like to be treated well, but because to do anything less is a betrayal of our own values and standards.
Sometimes we can feel really cold... in our bodies these winter mornings, but also in our hearts. Can we come to a warmer place on a cold afternoon? Can we consider the energy we are offering the world? Is our own behavior a betrayal of our own values and standards? What are my values and standards? What is my personal code?
My friend Carol posted on Facebook this morning:
“The left wing and the right wing are on the same bird.”
That there is some 🍇🍐🥑🧀🥗🍕🥕🥦🧁🍿🍪 for 💭 🧠!! (Food for thought.😬)
"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap."
I see you over there, you precious darling person, standing on that post. I see you.
Melissa Regan is a Storyteller who is honored to celebrate the life you live and the people you love. She partners with individuals at significant times of life and loss, supporting them by creating and presenting their loved ones story at a service or by planning an inspirational day of rememberance and reflection.
Melissa spent time as a critical care nurse before she became specialized in the field of organ donation. Melissa was well known for the care she gave grieving families and did this delicate work for 14 years. Her experience lead to her teaching heartfelt methods of communication to donation specialists around the world.
Inspired by everything these families taught her, she expanded her perspective on life by studying Positive Psychology, earning both a CiPP and a CAPP. She received training as an end of life doula through INELDA. She has a special grace all her own when it comes to supporting us at times of change and loss.
Melissa is a wife, mother, lifelong learner, and a lover of the wonder you can find in a single moment. She brings this wonder to her public speaking, connecting us to the grandness and depth always present in the day to day.
“Take a day to be thoughtful... the rest of your life is here.”
Grab on to a thought that amuses you.
Appreciate some little thing.
Show some interest in something new.
Daydream about a time or place that brought you great joy.
Inspire yourself to do, be, or see something inspirational.
I am so grateful for clear roads on this cold winter day!!
What the heck am I talking about?
Positive emotions broaden our idea's about possible actions, open our awareness to a wide range of thoughts, and make us more receptive and creative.
Everything I listed comes under the heading of positive emotions.
The day does not have to "happen" to you.
Sometimes I wake up scared, and it eases my heart to sing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” to myself, in my own head. I pray happy things for the world. I think thankful thoughts about people I admire. I reach for something better. I feel relief.
Reach for better thoughts as you start each day.
I do it before I even get out of bed. It is called paving your way, pre-paving. When can you pave your own way?
Pave your day in the shower next time.
Pave your day on your commute.
Listen to your favorite inspirational music and it is paving things for you.
Pave your day while waiting in line.
Pave your way to a brighter day with some simple new thoughts.
Being more positive is just a thought....really hear that! Being more positive IS JUST A THOUGHT.
~ from the work of Barbara Fredrickson as written up by Daniel Pink and somewhat translated by Many Lovely Reasons, directly for y-o-u ❤️🎉⭐️⛄️🌴🎈🐝 I write things to you that I do not want to forget for myself. ❤️
This little one is pre-paving something ❤️🌲🌲🌲
I turned to the woman who was randomly next to me. I thought of her face as serious, I thought of her as reserved, I thought of her as uncertain. First impression.
We were told to hold our hands up to each other without touching. (Picture us saying “stop” to each other with both hands.) We were told to hold our hands close enough so that we could feel the life force of the other and when our hands were an inch or so apart I actually startled because I could so easily feel her energy in my hands. Our surprised eyes met and then glanced away. We were strangers, after all.
As the music started and with no words, one of us was to lead slow movements with our hands and body position while the other mirrored the movements. Anyone watching us should not be able to guess who was the image.
I had been studying for 100 delightful hours with a group of women and 1 man as we completed “Let Your Yoga Dance” teacher training at Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I had come to love my classmates and teachers and any one of them I could have looked deeply and continuously into their eyes for any length of time because of the devoted teaching of Megha Nancy Buttenheim. But here we were, just after graduation, in the Main Hall of Kripalu at the public “Noon Dance.” After playing in a puppy pile of love all week this felt different.
I was relieved to hear, “Look into your partners third eye, between the eyebrows. Sometimes it is awkward to look someone in the eye.” We had glanced again at each other shyly but it was not a glance we could hold. So we began safely studying each other’s foreheads. The music surrounded us.
As she was more of a “guest” than I, I politely waited for her to move first. She did not move. In my head I painted her as “grim”. So I slowly started moving my hands up and to the right. Ever…so…slowly. Our hands continued to move and at the speed of a tortoise in the sun I tilted my head to the right. She did not follow, for she was my image… she was truly with me. She was a lazy tortoise, too.
At some point our eyes met and held without effort. I cannot tell you when that moment was, and yet when I became aware of it I felt richness. In mutual acknowledgement our hands moved to our hearts. They rested a moment. We saw each other. Our faces had softened. My first impression was erased and I saw her warmth and beauty.
She became the leader and I was her image and my heart felt happy, as she was bolder with her movements. As the music peaked we both lead and followed at the same time. The song came to an end.
We held our gaze, my four-minute friend and I.
Suddenly our hands went up to our hearts again. We shared the gentlest of tiny smiles with closed lips.
Only our eyes truly spoke, and they danced as our bodies had. We nodded tiny royal nods of respect.
We stepped back from each other, not sharing a word. We parted. Yet today I hold the essence of her so fondly. As a gift to myself I have locked my moment with her forever into my life by journaling about her. I hope she carries a part of me as well.
Keep your heart open for delightful strangers.
The holiday stretch is over, and now we settle in. I ask my darling peeps not to be typical.
As you step into a fresh new year, do not focus on the vices you long to wrestle into submission, the pounds you want to drop, the problems you want to solve; the regrets of the past year.
I ask that you review your strongest moments of last year. Recognize the times when you were the most content; the times when you made your friends burst out in laughter; the times when you realized you were mistaken and apologized warmly; the times when your heart was bursting with love.
There was that moment at work when you spoke with such intelligence; there were all those times when you gestured to other cars to move ahead of you in traffic as you held in place. That dollar that you put into the tip jar when only you were watching; the time you walked with the dog and picked up litter you were clearly not responsible for. I remember when you gave someone the benefit of the doubt, too; and did not create a negative story in your head. You were so magnificent that day, so strong when you were simply offering love.
You had moments when you were the best of men; moments when you were the best of women; and those moments filled you up. So just treat yourself to a bit more of that; do that a few more times; focus on your strengths and use them to their fullest. That is where your power is. Be more of the very best of you, darling peeps. Offer a little bit more of the best of you and see how that makes you feel. Much love to you and yours ❤️