The Power and Virtue of a Small, Unexpected Gift

Weekend Meditation

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When I opened my back door this morning, the first thing I saw sitting on the step was an old pot filled with some just-picked apples, an unexpected gift from my neighbor. Such a small, simple offering but immediately I felt a chrysanthemum of joy blossom in my chest like a tiny firework. A much needed tiny firework chrysanthemum of joy, for the previous day had been a difficult one.

This is the power of gifts, especially spontaneous ones that aren't given out of obligation or ceremony but from a place of kinship. A gift that, in my case at least, spoke of welcome and belonging, and painted the moment a bright, encouraging hue. A true blessing.

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This meditation isn't going to be about what I will cook with the apples, or where I live and who my neighbor is, or how grateful I am to live next door to someone who has the capacity to make such a gesture, although any one of those would be well worth writing about. Instead I present this story as a challenge to you to take up the heart and mind of my neighbor and leave an unexpected gift for someone today.

This someone could be a stranger, or your neighbor, or a friend. It could be your child, or your spouse, or your mother. It could be someone who looks like they need something or it could be someone who looks like they don't. It doesn't even have to be another human being. A pet or a tree or an organization might be what calls to you.

Don't over think it or overdo it. Just cultivate the mind, the attention, the intention to be spontaneous and generous and see what happens. I hope in doing so you will discover virtue of the small, unexpected gift. That you will experience how the very act of setting off a tiny firework of joy in someone else will also set off a tiny firework of joy in you. A pot full of apples won't solve the world's problems but its power should not be underestimated. The action may be simple, but the effect is enormous.

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I hope you enjoyed this encore Weekend Meditation, originally posted in September, 2012. I will be posting these vintage posts every Sunday (with the occasional new post, if I can manage!) for the next several months while I focus on writing my first book.

(Image credits: Dana Velden)

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