Sunday, June 12, 2011

Leave Everything Better Than When You Found It!

I started thinking about something a yogi once told leave everything better than when I found it. It seems like one of the most obvious and simple choices we can make in life. No matter how small the interaction - whether in a grocery store or walking down the street or attending a gathering - or how big - from friendships to relationships to partnerships and beyond - if your only intention is to just interact with any one and every one and leave them, and you, better than when you first met or interacted, imagine how the world will be.

I have been living by this principle, consciously, for some time now and it is miraculous how profound the effect is on me. I have almost begun to treat life and my interactions with others as a game. Not in a bad or insincere way, but just in a way that seeks to bring the light and best out of me and others. When I am in a grocery store, I try to engage others with a smile or an extra look in the eye or positive interaction. When I walk down the street, I try to take everything in and walk with a little skip or bounce in my step and smile on my face. When I run an errand, make a business call or email, I try to sprinkle a little light, love and grace onto others.

I can think upon countless interactions in which by just being a little brighter and lighter and sharing that light with others, their mood picks up or at least something shifts. I remember I was at a store once and the person behind the counter was very cranky. It made me sad, so I just gently and softly kept engaging them in little ways, asking them about themselves, being grateful for little things and by the end of the interaction, they had completely shifted.

It reminded me of throwing the stone into the water and watching the ripple effect. That as I seek to be brighter and leave everything better than when I found it, it has the effect of not only impacting that one person, but then that person turns around and shifts in their interactions with others.

Sometimes this is easier to do with strangers than those we love, but even in those interactions with loved ones it has a profound effect. Bringing in an sense of empathy, compassion and gratitude to our loved ones and those around us helps to heal everyone involved. I think about my relationships with friends, family and partners and make an effort so that as I leave every interaction, if I were to ask myself, did you leave them better than when you found them, I can say yes. It definitely takes a constant practice and a consistent effort, but it is worth the outcome and results - for me and I think for them.

Imagine what the world would look like if we could all leave everything better than when we found it. Often times that means meeting people where they are at and interacting genuinely and compassionately not being fake or insincere. Rather, it is about really being present to listen, feel and hear them and or smile at them or breathe deeply to uplift and share your own light with them.

Are you making a conscious effort with every action to leave things better than when you found them? What would it look like for you? Try it on for size and see how your world, and that of those around you, shifts...likely for the better!

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