Sustaining Appreciation Beyond the Moment

sustaining appreciation“Acts of love are what will bring peace to your life and to the world.” Dr. Lee Scampolsky

Whenever another person does something for me, it fills my spirit with thanks and total appreciation for them in my life. The problem for me and I am sure for most people is to maintain that appreciation past the thankful moment. When we are sick we call on a friend or family member and they come running to help us. When we are feeling better we don’t think as much about them. I know we will help them in return if they need us but the focus of their kind acts shifts to the background of our lives.

When our car breaks down, our pets need to be looked after while we are on vacation, we need a babysitter, cheering up, help in a desperate time of need, someone comes to our aid. Fast forward to a future time and place. The person who has helped us out numerous times suddenly says or does something we don’t like. Now we forget immediately, all the times they were there for us. We get angry and hurt and we lash out and dismiss them with nothing more than a blink of the eye.

If this is something you have done or experienced, you are in the majority group. You go home and try to understand what just happened to you. Maybe they don’t recall your generous time effort and money but you certainly do and you can’t believe how fast they turned on you. I have been at the receiving end of such situations and pondered the numerous things I had done for this person and I found it hard to believe they didn’t count my many offerings of love and generosity of time and money.

Recently I was on the other side of the situation. A good friend infuriated me and I lashed out without thinking. It didn’t escalate but I went home upset and then refused to answer her phone calls or e-mails. For days I reviewed what she had done to me and my fire was fueled. I eventually answered her calls and we talked about things unrelated to our problem. Our relationship was somewhat back on track but I had the feeling it could never be the same.

Then I needed help and the first person I thought of was my friend. I felt uneasy about it but I asked and she answered immediately. After the incident I sat reflecting on what had just transpired. My friend was my friend regardless of our recent strained issues. She came through just as she had always come through for me. I then recalled how many times I came through for those who had tossed me aside. I asked myself why we get up and go back for more.

It occurred to me that the reason was love. When you love someone you put aside petty disagreements and take care of their needs. The arguments wait for another day. Enlightenment happened at that precise moment. I began contemplating all the wonderful times my friend and I had shared. I recalled the multiple times she was at my side when I needed her to be. I began to feel guilty about the problems between us and felt like I had created a mountain out of a mole hill.

You see, all the caring acts of kindness create the huge mountain of love. The few acts of meanness create the small mole hill which we can either jump over or climb easily to the other side. I was so focused on the few hurtful incidences and I reviewed them constantly in my mind. I understood how little I had thought about the kind acts of service which she had performed on a regular basis. As soon as the favor was completed, it was out of my mind.

I resolved that day to remember the wonderful things people do for me. I refuse to allow them to go unnoticed. I don’t want to forget the glowing feeling I experienced when these favors were done for me. So when the day comes, as it always does in any relationship, that my friend or relative annoys me or worse, I will be armed to fight the negative thoughts with the remembrance of the good she or he has shown for me.

Now, I am actually applying it to all areas of my life and have a more positive approach to people in general. Sometimes we don’t want others to forget all the things they did wrong at our expense. In retrospect, we forget to remember and sustain the memories of all the things they did and said that were inspiring and helpful for us. This is similar to the way we teach our child that we dislike what they did but we still love them. If we can sustain and appreciate love, beyond the moment, we will keep our friends and family close. For Everyone’s information, my friend and I are completely on track without any scratches or scars.

 “You can give without loving but you can never love without giving.” Robert Louis Stevenson

 “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain

Find Serenity in the Moral Struggle

find serenity in the moral struggle “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein

 We all have varying degrees of flexibility. As children, most of us exhibit lots of flexibility. As soon as a friend calls we are out the door. Growth and maturity appears to dampen our willingness to bend or stretch in different ways. If we think about this situation, we realize the sadness of our plight. We may be free in body but our minds and thinking become more and more enslaved until we perform our duties ritualistically.

We must call our parents, water the plants, clean the house, get a recipe for dinner that will impress our friends, find the right clothes for the right look etc. In all of this commotion have we thought over what we are doing and if we are truly living or simply surviving? Reflect on how much love is given to us unconditionally by our parents. Ponder the living plants and the awesome beauty they bestow on us. House cleaning is overrated as much as connecting with people is underrated. Fabulous meals have more to do with the companionship we have with those who share the meal with us.

Duty and ego have replaced love and affection. When we visit others we look back and recall the great conversations and spirited mood we enjoyed with them. We don’t even think about the manicured yard or neatly picked up house. Maybe it is time to reflect on our inner human focus rather than the outer peripheral nonsense. We would most likely save ourselves time and money.

We all love artistic beauty but not at the expense of the beauty we find in each other. Less time spent on silly jobs leaves us with more energy to give to the important things in life. Our priorities perhaps are messed up at the moment. As children we knew what counted. As adults we get lost. If we keep cluttering our minds with jobs that are really meaningless, we will miss doing what counts.

It is more important to spend time talking to your child than it is to mow your lawn. I watched two dads in two situations dealing with their children while they were working in the yard. Both children were two years old at the time. One dad screamed at his toddler for digging in an area where he had recently planted some gorgeous flowers. The child went screaming and crying alone, into a corner of the yard. I wondered to myself, what had he just taught his child.

Another father in an adjacent lot had finished planting a row of various colored flowers. He stopped to take a long drink of water when his young son was standing in front of him with a fistful of flowers. They were a beautiful bouquet. His young son said as he shoved the flowers into his father’s hands, “I love you da”. I watched for the dad’s reaction. He was surprised when he realized they were the newly purchased and just planted flowers. The dad immediately scooped his son into his arms and hugged him tightly as he said “I love you too and thanks for the flowers.” Somehow I believe those flowers meant so much more in the dad’s mind and heart than they could ever mean to any observer who chanced to walk by them growing in the ground.

Children are a gift from God. Love them and tell them so every day. Recognize your obligation to them by respecting and nurturing them. If you are rough in your speech, or actions towards them especially regarding discipline, rethink and alter your behaviors and habits. Children can teach us to be spontaneous and how to recapture our love of living. They remind us to be flexible because when we are flexible our disappointment and anger decreases while our love and awareness increases.

“Blessed are the hearts that can bend. They shall never be broken.” Albert Camus