Sunday, June 8, 2014

Three Life Lessons

I. slow down

What a rush we all seem to be in. I don't think I realized until recently just how much I've bought into the American way of life:  
 "go, go, go!" 

 I don't want to trade sincerity for efficiency. I don't want to swap quality for quantity.

 Last week as I was rushing to my car, I saw a woman sitting on a bench, people-watching and probably waiting to encourage the next person to walk by. I have often seen her downtown, chalking an uneven piece of sidewalk so that nobody trips on it or inviting a stranger to stop and sit a while. She offers to listen and sympathize and encourage. This woman is such a rare gem. She really knows how to slow down, I thought. I want to be like her. I don't want to be so preoccupied with my own schedule that I can't fully be a giver, an encourager, and a friend. I want to walk a little more slowly, actually stop to smell the flowers, take moments to just be still. Maybe stop to say the words that someone needs to hear, even if it means I'll be five minutes later. Because, as Ferris Bueller once said, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 

II. listen with your eyes

We all have stories to tell. We all want to be heard, valued, and loved. One of the easiest and most powerful ways to make others feel loved is to listen; to value what someone has to say, and in turn, who they are as a person. As a soul. 

Too often I find myself halfway-listening. Scrolling through something on my phone and not giving the speaker my eyes. I can be understanding a good percentage of what they're saying, but without my eyes, they won't really feel like they have my undivided attention. This seems like a no-brainer, but with the way technology is taking over the world, it's a growing problem. 

III. be here now. 

With the rise of social media, technology, and an endless number of distractions, I've heard this little phrase more than ever. It's simple, really. I'm here now. I'll never be here and now ever again. So why not enjoy this very moment?