The fifth of an eight-day exploration of everyday gratitude. Inspired by our new book, Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life as a Gift.
Welcome to our practice. Let’s begin…
We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and read today’s quote by Saint Mother Teresa: “Every act of love is a work of peace no matter how small.”
Whether it is offering an unexpected thank you, lifting a struggling earthworm off the sidewalk onto a grassy curb, taking muffins to the office, encouraging a service-provider to take their time, or treating ourselves kindly when we’ve made a mistake — what we do has an impact. A kind gesture? A listening ear? Can you see how such actions are, in themselves, peace-full? Ask yourself: What small act of love can I offer today?
Share your responses to any of the above in the reflection area below, write in a journal at home (or online), or simply let the quote and question accompany you throughout the day.
Notice how this exploration impacts you…and those around you.
It has been said that no act of love is ever, truly small. And imagining that our acts of love are actually each a work of peace stretches our sense of the importance and possibility of all that we offer. No kindness ever wasted. No action without a ripple effect. Everyday Gratitude, and grateful living, encourage us to know that whatever we offer from love is enough, is needed, and can help to nourish the heart of the world.
For further inspiration you might appreciate:
The Sun Never Says – a poem by Hafiz
Above All, Be Kind – a 2-minute video by John Lloyd
Love and Trust – a 5-minute video excerpt of a conversation between Jack Kornfield and Br. David Steindl-Rast
Daily Grateful Living Practice Ideas – 30 actions, many of which are small acts of love and will take just a few moments of your time.
The image above is excerpted from Everyday Gratitude © by A Network for Grateful Living; book design and lettering by Alethea Morrison; watercolors and cover illustration © Katie Eberts, with additional watercolors by Clikchic Designs; used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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Good Morning, It’s 8 a.m. in my neck of the woods and it’s a bright-sun-shiny day. I’m not tripping-the-light fantastic as they say physically as I strained my back yesterday and it speaks quite loudly when I attempt to do some of the simplest things like bending to pick an object up off of the floor. Oh, how I wish this reality were not so; Oh, how I wish I hadn’t been so tense; oh, how I wish I hadn’t reacted in fear when that big dog came bounding toward me. It was not vicious just overly friendly but in my need to avoid injury, I caused injury.
I don’t like to own the fact that this scenario has been a pattern in my life—the old “react instead of respond” syndrome. I wish it were not so but it brings the serenity prayer to mind.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
I’m scheduled to hit the road in a few days and time will tell when I will be able to depart but I know I will be able to hit the road sooner or later. That is because the thing I can change is my attitude toward my situation. I can “desist” instead of “resist.” Acceptance creates possibility. Mind and body always wishes to be healed.
This injury has already provided me with a powerful reminder of the limitations many live with every day, every hour of their lives. The pain reminds me that the pain of so many others leaves them feeling helpless and hopeless. This injury reminds me that fear can rob us of the mercy to be fully human, to be instruments of the wisdom that can make a difference. It reminds me of the importance of willingness, the willingness to be channels of the grace that the world so desperately craves and needs to heal.
And so that is my wish for us all. Yes, as Saint Mother Teresa taught: Even the smallest act of love is an act of peace. There are things we can’t change but we can always strive to choose love instead of fear. The tired the poor are every where, surrounding us in our every day lives. I have a wish: May we greet ourselves and them with compassion.
Carol, I ❤ your reflection, thank-you for your sharing! I do hope your back is much better soon! Take good care!
I love the line, “whatever we offer from love is enough”. As it says in The St. Francis prayer, “Make me an instrument of Thy Peace, where there is hatred let me sow love”. I truly ask to be an instrument of Peace. Thank-you for this practice, that has touched my heart!
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We invite you to experience six blessings in this short, meditative video from Brother David: