Stories of Kindness from Around the World

21 Day Gratitude Challenge Top 10

--by arathi, posted Jan 1, 2014
If this were your last day, how would you spend it?

"If today was my last day on earth I imagine the world would suddenly come into view as never before. All the things around me, the sights, sounds, feelings, those natural and even unnatural, would have more meaning, preciousness, & vividness than ever before. I would try to live each moment of that day with mindfulness and presence, appreciating the small things that I usually take for granted and feeling grateful to experience them all for one last day. Ideally I would spend the day with loved ones, simply enjoying each others' company. If for some reason it wasn't possible for me to be with loved ones I would make sure I contacted them to let them know how much they have meant to me and how they have blessed my life. There's no reason why this imaginary last day should be much different than any ordinary day. Perhaps on "ordinary" days it's easier to be swept away in a flurry of productivity, to be distracted from the little beautiful things around me, or to save telling someone that I love them for tomorrow. However, as I imagine what would be important to me if I only had one day to live I am reminded to take some time every day to feel fully present in the world around me and to feel grateful for all that is now."

​What have you lost and learned from? 

"My mom passed a few years ago and what I have learned from her is that life is not about the accumulation of material things, but giving of your heart to others and being generous. She didn't have much, but she gave so much with her big hugs and just being there for you when you needed her, her unconditional love will always stay with me in my heart. Love is what life is all about!" 

What can you say thank you for in this very moment?

"In this headache-laden, stress filled moment, I am grateful that it is never too late. Never too late to grow, learn, experiment, discover, change, love. I tend towards anguish as I use various measuring sticks against myself that point out my shortcomings and what I haven't "figured out" yet. But this moment is a beginning. It is a gift. I am grateful to be alive and have the opportunity to continue this multifaceted journey of being human. I don't have to get it right - just keep going." 

When has nature taken your breath away? 

"Many years ago, on a clear, cold New Year's eve, I stepped outside from a party I'd been attending. We were out of the city, so the stars were brilliant; they looked close enough to reach out and pluck out of the sky. We were surrounded by mountains, being in a sort of bowl, and there was a horse nearby, her breath fogging around her in the intense cold. I had the sudden and clear realization that I was standing on a planet, spinning around in the middle of outer space. I felt both tiny and immense. This was a life-changing moment, one I'll surely never forget." 

Who inspires you to be your best self?

"The elders I work with inspire me. So much wisdom and life lived. Even as they suffer losses in their lives, they rise up in gratitude for what each day gives to them. I hope that I may have this same grace someday." 

What made you smile today?

 "Today as i was driving home, I saw a lady with two prosthetic legs, from the hip down, out for a brisk walk and she had the biggest smile as she waved when I stopped for her. Such a wonderful example and reminder of overcoming adversities. Such a small thing but it brightened my day!" 

What's the best advice you've received?

"The best advice that I recall and reflect upon numerous times a week, came only within the past couple of years, yet has had a profound effect on my personal recovery journey. The three simple words “keep waking up” were uttered by a brief acquaintance who feels like a treasured friend because of the profound wisdom he bestowed on me, yet the chances of our paths ever crossing again in this lifetime are slim. Today I truly believe my higher power put him in my path simply so I would hear his message and thanks to that subtle intervention I have taken my personal journey of recovery from the family illness of alcoholism to a new level. I believe the simple instructions “keep waking up” has many meanings, this very day the meaning lies with being open to the subtle lessons that are all around us. On my morning run at sunrise I came across the message in this photograph. The comment I posted with it on FB was “Sometimes you have to look below the surface to get the lesson of the day.” Today below the surface of the leaves the simple word “SLOW” meant patience to me. I believe it was my higher power gently reminding me once again to slow down and be patient with life, wake up and pay attention to what is important. This day I am grateful for Fred, the messenger, and for my own openness to explore what waking up truly means."

What do you know that you never want to forget? 

"We are all connected. I experience this more & more every day, and I want to remember it every minute. When I do, I see the most amazing miracles ... they are happening all the time, but when I pay attention to the inter-connectivity of all life, I notice them more. Today I am grateful for the simple, everyday miracles that come from our undeniable connectedness."

What inconvenience are you most grateful for? 

"The inconvenience of illness eventually brought me to surrender to forces both spiritually knowable and unknowable. And taught me to forgive my body and recognize I am doing the best I can Illness slowed time and forced/allowed me to love the broken things in myself
and others."

How have you changed for the better? 

"A Change Through People: I've changed for the better by making the decision to surround myself with genuinely happy and kind people. Over the past few years I've made an active choice to invest in friendships that show me how to be my best possible self and slowly letting go of more toxic relationships. Through this, I've gained some truly wonderful friends that continue to amaze me day in and day out." 

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Readers Comments

beetoote wrote: I couldn't have said it better.
Barbara wrote: Thanks for sharing this article. It will help me to realize how thankful and grateful i am for every breath and moment.

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