Welcome to Day 2 of Cherishing Connection, a seven-day practice of tending and deepening the relationships that constitute our lives.
“Love isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.” ~Erich Fromm
To cherish is to value or to hold something dear. Its formal definition goes on to include “protecting and caring” for something or someone. In other words, cherishing involves the heart but also outward expression, feeling but also action. When we attune ourselves to the constellation of relationships that hold us, there may be an inward shift of our hearts where both longing and belonging emerge. In that mix of emotion, what relationships are calling for an outward expression of your cherishing? To whom do you feel moved to offer your care?
Photo by Dimitar Belchev/Unsplash
Begin today’s practice by returning to the visual constellation you created (or even began to imagine) yesterday. As you tune in to the many relationships that have made it possible for you to be alive and well today, select two or three from different categories that would be nourished and enhanced by an outward expression of your care. For example: a longtime friend, the mail deliverer, a family member, the grocery store clerk, a colleague. After you select two or three individuals, consider how you might bring more ease, support, and joy to their day. You can choose from the list of ideas below or come up with your own. Select options that you can, ideally, do today.
After you’ve committed your two or three acts of care, how do you feel? What surprised you? What brought joy? How did this outward cherishing contribute to your relationships? In what ways might your constellation be shining more brightly? What would it look like to extend this practice to something you do weekly or even daily?
Small Kindnesses, a poem by Danusha Laméris
Please share your reflections below if you feel moved. We’d love to hear what emerges for you from today’s practice.
Video Recording of the Live, Opening Session on Tuesday, November 16th is below:
Enjoy the full seven-day Cherishing Connection practice.
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I love this poem, Small Kindnesses. The small things count.
I love to take time to express my appreciation towards someone who is providing a really valuable essential service – a bus driver, a supermarket checkout assistant, the garbage collector… These folk are often ‘unseen’ and the moment of exchange can be really rewarding and joyful for us both.
My day is coming to an end. I couldn’t read Day 2 at the beginning of today but I just read it now and will reflect upon it at bedtime as I drift off. But most importantly, i want to end my day sharing with all of you my evening walk with my dog in our walnut orchard just out our front door. “It is almost a full moon, I turn the flashlight off, I appreciate seeing the shadows of the walnut tree branches in the moonlight casting their shapes down on the earth.” I haven’t been able to create my spiral yet in words or drawing but I have lived with these trees since 1970 and they are coming close to the end of their life. I can feel it as I walk their rows. I am grateful for every day that I can be walking among these trees with my dog at my side.
Always try to bring a smile and kindness wherever I go especially lately. Today I enjoyed reaching out to two friends, many hugs to my teens who are stressed at school, and spent after dinner time sharing stories with my 87 year old mother and 89 year old step dad. Wisdom, wonder, and learning are always present if we are open to them…and with this practice and the multi generational connections, we can feel grounded and supported.
It’s fascinating the good emotions that arise in searching the past for those I want to appreciate. There are so many, so I started in my early teenage years. And then to reach out as I did via email, thinking of things to say that were true. It was touching, to say the least. And then to read today’s poem – what a treat, and it was ‘so very true’. I know I’ll be a better person today for doing it..
I have been doing a connection practice whenever I’m out in public, which is usually grocery shopping. I smile at other shoppers, greet them if it seems appropriate. I have always greeted the checkers and baggers. The pandemic changed my practice in that I learned to smile with a mask on so that people can see I’m smiling at them. Everyone has been so tense, so unhappy and afraid! Just a few moments of contact in that way seemed so important. Now masks are not required where I live, but I still greet people as I used to, whether they are masked or maskless.
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