Skating Uphill - February 2017

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All right, I guess we all know that love is not really all you need. I mean food, clothing, a house, a car, friends, a glass of wine all are pretty important and I could go on and on. Honestly though, love is not a bad place to start, especially in February with Valentine’s Day and all. They say love conquers all, and I think there is a lot to that. However, I would like to dedicate some thoughts to not just love, but also to a few related things that make life better.

The first one is kindness. I saw a headline that read: Throw Kindness like Confetti. It started me thinking about all the different ways we could be kind to each other. Pay-it-forward is an idea that I am intrigued by; I have done it many times in the last month. It is sort of a New Year’s resolution. I put a neighbor’s newspaper on the porch out of the rain. I substituted in a volunteer slot for a sick friend. I did something I really didn’t want to do, but I felt good afterward because my friend let me know how much she appreciated what I did. I saw two kids sharing a burger and fries at Burger King and I paid for two Whoppers and had the server take them over after I left. These are small things, but I am on a roll—so watch out!

Random acts of kindness have been around for a while, but I still love the idea. You just simply do something totally unplanned for someone else. Maybe you know them and maybe you don’t. That is unimportant. The important thing is that this may become like a pay-it-forward and inspire someone, and then someone else, perhaps stoking an infinite chain reaction. What a lovely thought. I try to greet people I see or meet as my daily random kindness. I always say “Hello,” “Good morning,” or my favorite, “Have a blessed day.” A greeting and a smile can make another’s day. I know it makes mine!

Another idea I saw online was a big badge/pin that said “I’m Listening.” I thought that said a whole lot of things. Do you really listen when someone is trying to tell you something that is important to them? Do you care? Do you show you care? Do you think about how they are hoping you will respond? Let’s step back for a minute from politics and other hot topics and take a second to hear what a real conversation might be about. Might a person need something from you like support or a confidence boost or validation of an idea? It might be easy to simply say the right thing and back it up when you are called upon to do so. I babysit for my grandson occasionally, and I listen to how my children feel about his food and care. I love to have him, and I know they are grateful. We listen to each other and have made this work. Think about a situation you may be faced with and how perhaps a solution could be right there waiting to be discovered through simple listening.  

Finally, here is a word to put into your actions and your heart: Empathy. It means the art of putting yourself in another person’s position. It is the old “walk a mile in my shoes” idea. It means being non-judgmental. Going back to love, just think about what we could mean to each other if we loved non- judgmentally. Diversity, lifestyles, economic disparity, and I could go on and on with things that separate us. How about things that we all have in common?

Skating Up Hill is about living a healthy lifestyle, so what’s with all of this lecturing? Study after study has proven that people who are emotionally healthy are physically healthier, live longer, and have a better quality of life. My mom used to say to me and my brother before we left for school every morning, “Now remember to be nice.” I am now saying that to you. Be kind. Be empathetic, and just be nice!  Love, Judith


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