Jan 6th

What Matters Most in 2013

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Kindness. . .

Many of us have a hard time letting go of the holiday season. I still have not taken down my Christmas tree, as my ritual is to take it down after a full week of the new year has passed. Although the neighborhood streets are not lit up quite as brightly with proud displays of festive lighting, there are still plenty of visual reminders that we have just concluded the holiday season. For some, they will keep their blinking — Santa sled and reindeer display on their roof — and savor that last holiday cookie, well into the first few weeks of January. It seems we don’t want to let go of the warmth we feel towards one another during the height of the season. We want these feelings to linger, and not be in a rush to go back to “business as usual.”

I’m not particularly devoted to making a specific list of New Year’s resolutions because, for me, it seems that reviewing what we like and don’t like about our lives is a 365-day-a-year process. But I did reflect upon what quality I could focus on this year; one that would be achievable each and every day of the year, and I came up with a simple word: kindness. This word may have bubbled up to the surface for me in part because in 2012 life events, and subsequently my lifestyle, was a little more like a roller-coaster ride than I’d like. Consciously seeking opportunities to show kindness helps me maintain a balanced life, reminding me through interactions with others that relationships are what count.
Keeping kindness as a core ingredient of interaction with others is a fine way to keep the warmth of the holiday season alive all year long. And, practicing kindness is something each of us can find the opportunity to do at least once a day, whether it’s resisting your impulse to honk your horn at the car that just cut you off on the freeway (who knows, maybe they really didn’t see you), or helping your elderly neighbor by offering to carry in a bag of groceries from their car (it could be just the load they needed lifted to lighten their day), or offering a smile and a few friendly words to the chatty five-year-old in front of you in line at the pharmacy (highlighting to him that the world he is learning to relate to is indeed a friendly place — and holidays are not the only time people people are nice.)
Another way of practicing kindness, to yourself and others, is to share a meal with someone, at least once a day. When we make contact with another through a shared meal, we are renewing the same bonds of social unity that most of us find so inspiring and fulfilling throughout the holiday season.
Why put away the holiday spirit when you’re packing your holiday ornaments?

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