I woke up this morning thinking about how I was going to spend today. Was it going to be just another day with a list of tasks to drudge through (because it is a Thursday after all) until the weekend or should today be about adventure, maybe it could be about what can I achieve, what can I learn or who I come across (I might have got a little distracted thinking about this one…) or maybe there is a way I can influence the world to make it a better place?
I began to think about people I know, those who approach life in a way that I admire. They are the ones who THINK about things, and because they think they are the ones with the big hearts. They act consciously always aware of the implications of their interactions and commitment to themselves and others.
I have lots of really thoughtful people in my life but three in particular come to mind (because I have to have my mum in here too). They are the ones who listen intently to my whole story without looking vacantly around the room or interrupting to tell me about something similar happened to them, they are the ones who are also always so patiently attentive when I tell the SAME OLD STORY of the same old, unsolved problems that I love to talk about and respond with the same gentle and consistent advice.
They actively think about their friends and what they may need, they are sensitive to the feelings of the person who lashes out, for they are most likely the ones to be hurting and neither respond badly nor take it personally, they are the ones who look for ways to assist others and the community to feel a sense of satisfaction when they make someone’s day a little brighter.
When I think of them I imagine the biggest, sweetest pink hearts sitting inside their chests.
My friend S has her own story of a physically, diagnosed, reoccurring sickness requiring her continued attention to taking care of herself. She has had her own issues with disinterested families and childhood hardship. She is young to be a mother (by todays standards) and while that means she has not the opportunities that others may have around her, you rarely hear her complain about her circumstances. Her sons are little treasures themselves with gentle and interested spirits.
People like these have much to teach us. They teach us that to be thoughtful is to expand our awareness, to make a connection to others on a deeper, more profound level. They teach us to bring our attention to the needs of others by becoming aware/conscious of their feelings and sensitive to their wellbeing. They are aware of the vulnerable aspect of both themselves and others. They teach us to intend to care and choose to give.
My friend R has her own PR Company and built it to a level where she can choose her clients. It is soul satisfaction that she chases, not money and so her work includes presenting community events and fundraising for endangered wildlife and the environment.
She was raised with strong Christian values, in particular the desire to help others in need. She has recently considered sharing her home with a man that is connected to her family, who is young and desperately in need of support and love, but who has never been shown support and love, just abuse since he was young. Despite the troubles that this person may bring to her home and her life, she still considers what help she can provide.
And then of course there is my Mum. She is the definition of compassion and thoughtfulness. It is only recently that she has started to do things for herself (which is great to see), she has spent most of her life seeing a gap where someone may need something and doing whatEVER she can to fill it. She is a wonderful influence on her Granddaughter!
However, being thoughtful or thinking is actually quite difficult, it is a learned skill, I know this from being around children ALL of who are very self centred only developing compassion and thoughtfulness as they grow. M Scott Peck also suggests that to think well is a laborious, often painstaking process until you become “thoughtful”. Although people are different, an all too common flaw is that most tend to believe that they instinctively know how to think and communicate, in reality they do neither well because they are either too self-satisfied to examine their assumptions about thinking, or too self-absorbed to invest in the time and energy to do so.
In short thinking takes time and effort, it takes practice and trial and error, but thinking separates out the angels from those who do what they do for their own self satisfaction. The thinkers are easy to spot, they are the ones who make you smile and feel good once they are gone – for it is the angels who when they leave your company, leave a smile on your face, and the devils in turn who leave behind the heartache.
So at the end of my morning thoughts, interrupted by the sound of the bell (my alarm clock), I decided today would be a day of thoughtfulness and adventure. In an effort to make it a good and interesting start for all of us I decided to take the long way, past the beach before work/school, I had a quick coffee and the kids ran around on the grass, before getting back in the car, wind swept and happy and commenting all the way along west coast highway how good the salt tasted on our lips…
And so I hope todays post inspires you to be thoughtful about how you can put more good into this world?