“Love isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.” ~Erich Fromm
To cherish is to value or to hold something dear. Its formal definition goes on to include “protecting and caring” for something or someone. In other words, cherishing involves the heart but also outward expression, feeling but also action. When we attune ourselves to the constellation of relationships that hold us, there may be an inward shift of our hearts where both longing and belonging emerge. In that mix of emotion, what relationships are calling for an outward expression of your cherishing? To whom do you feel moved to offer your care?
Begin today’s practice by returning to the visual constellation you created (or even began to imagine) yesterday. As you tune in to the many relationships that have made it possible for you to be alive and well today, select two or three from different categories that would be nourished and enhanced by an outward expression of your care. For example: a longtime friend, the mail deliverer, a family member, the grocery store clerk, a colleague. After you select two or three individuals, consider how you might bring more ease, support, and joy to their day. You can choose from the list of ideas below or come up with your own. Select options that you can, ideally, do today.
- Pick up the phone to call and check on a beloved who is in need of support. Ask how you might be there for them in a meaningful way at this time.
- Send an “I appreciate you” email or postcard.
- Make a small card that reads “I am grateful for you” and hand it to someone you encounter in your day.
- Leave a simple note of appreciation on a post-it; stick it on the bathroom mirror, on the mailbox, in a lunch bag, etc.
- Consider an act of care you can offer someone: Provide a meal, run an errand, donate to a personal cause, leave an extra tip, offer a hug or some gentle healing words.
After you’ve committed your two or three acts of care, how do you feel? What surprised you? What brought joy? How did this outward cherishing contribute to your relationships? In what ways might your constellation be shining more brightly? What would it look like to extend this practice to something you do weekly or even daily?
Small Kindnesses, a poem by Danusha Laméris
Please share your reflections below if you feel moved. We’d love to hear what emerges for you from today’s practice.
Video Recording of the Live, Opening Session on Tuesday, November 16th is below: