Shanti Emerson: New spiritual practices
After visiting my friend Karen one day, I thought about her beautiful glowing complexion. Why not tell her? So I texted her. She was delighted and filled her return text full of smiling emojis.
A couple of days later, I watched a PBS special entitled “Loving Your Way to Happiness” in which Dr. Michael B. Brown talked about spiritual practices. One of them was giving someone a compliment each day.
Easy and fun, I thought. And so, I set that intention. Of course, “Nice hairdo” or “Beautiful earrings” wasn’t going to pass inspection. It had to be deeper.
The friendly baristas at Starbucks heard, “You’re the first people I’ve seen today, and thank you for starting my day off right!” They smiled. The cheerful lady who stands by the door at Kathy’s QiGong class heard, “It’s so nice to see your happy face every time I come to class,” and then I hugged her. Oops! I’m afraid I overdid it, but my husband said she asked where I was the next time she saw him.
My friend Patty, who has done so much for me over the years, introduced me to the Hirschman Trail. “You just gave me a gift which will keep on giving. I’ll walk this trail many times.”
When I was on the massage table at the studio of my friend Lily Marie, I realized that she would be my complimentee that day. My eyes stung with tears. Here is someone who has given her life to helping others find harmony within themselves. Working at the Behavioral Health center when Scott Thorpe in 2001 unleashed his hateful bullets, she rose from the trauma and vowed to work for peace, reconciliation and grief therapy. How does one give a compliment for that kind of commitment? I didn’t want to be too emotional, so I hugged her and said, “Lily, you’ve made such a difference in the world.”
Mere “thank yous” became “Thank you for your dedication to our club.” “How are yous?” became “My goodness, you look healthy and happy!”
When I find myself at home in the evening, my partner, Jivat, gets the compliment, and he certainly deserves it. A kinder, more considerate person, you’ll never find. I told him so, and he smiled.
Complimenting others is so simple and goes a long way to brightening another person’s day. Then again, it makes the complimenter as happy as the complimentee. When it happens, it’s like there’s a floodgate of good will that keeps on pouring out.
When I go to memorial services, the speakers and guests are full of praises for the deceased, but wouldn’t it be even better to let them know how wonderful they are and how much we care for them while they’re still alive?
To the waitress, “Thank you for taking such good care of us.” To the new mom, “What a happy baby you have. You must be a great mother!”
To event organizers, “Thank you for your hard work and commitment.”
Complimenting goes hand in hand with gratefulness which I often feel but don’t express. There are so many people who even at this moment are ready to help us in our time of need like the sheriffs, EMTs, firemen, police, and doctors. I am grateful for all the teachers, preachers, farmers and all others who have helped us. I am grateful to the friends who are there to share our joys and sorrows.
Our city councilors and county supervisors work hard to solve the difficult issues and make decisions to improve our community. I don’t always agree with them, but I cannot doubt their dedication.
I have friends who make a gratitude list and add to it every day. In this crazy world we live in, it’s so easy to forget the good that is going on and to concentrate on the bad stuff. A gratitude list brings things into perspective. I believe there is much more laudable than evil in the world; although, you’d never know listening to the grim newscasters.
To my writing group, thanks for helping me polish my columns before publication. They wouldn’t be the same without your advice. To my readers, I want to thank you for your kindness and your compliments. I am so grateful that you listen to my opinions and stop me on the street or in gym class to tell that you like my writing.
Feel free to email me any compliments. They will be gratefully accepted. Criticism will be deleted. (LOL)
Shanti Emerson is a Nevada County resident and a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the board or its members. She can be reached at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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