Today I woke early and did everything slowly and got to my appointment early! Most of my life, I have tried to get to appointments either just on time or a little late, so that I don’t ‘waste’ time. I realise not only is it such a stupid way to go about life but also disrespectful to the person who is waiting. Because I got to the appointment early, I was able stand outside and enjoy the warm spring sunshine, listen to the birds and see the colours around me. I had the time to be kind- I held open the door open, waiting for a woman struggling with pram and another child and she was so grateful for such a small thing. I could smile at people and greet them. In the past, I must have walked past people so many times without even noticing them.
Most religions have a way of acknowledging these simple things in life- gentleness, kindness and thoughtfulness. These qualities are much appreciated in our hurried world today, precisely because they are in short supply. So if one can cultivate these qualities, that person will be a very attractive one- I don’t mean just physically attractive. Following our hearts also means finding time to develop these qualities and stop looking inwards. Julia Cameron says in her book, The Sound of Paper, “We learn to stop watching the inner movie- the movie of ‘How am I and how is my brilliant career?’ – long enough to take a lively interest in the people and things around us.”
These little things of the heart that we stop noticing may be exactly what we need to follow our careers. Sometimes, I have done things for people that I thought were too small, just good manners but I have been repaid many times with kindness and gifts. Think about how ‘rich’ our communities would be if everyone did that. As Henry Miller says, “Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”