What if you became a Day-Maker?
When people hear “mindfulness” I think they immediately take on a petrified expression, expecting a host of complicated philosophy that can be impractical for most of us. But in reality, much of what mindfulness embodies are things you are familiar with and which you can not only practice, but teach to young children.
Something I read or heard about recently that captured mindfulness and the nature of my friend Lisa, who recently lost her battle with breast cancer, is the idea of being a “Day-Maker.” She was the type of person who radiated such warmth, that you wanted to get closer if only to feel it glance your cheek and whose laughter was so contagious that you’d fall into a fit of giggles right beside her. To me, she illustrates perfectly, the concept of Day-Maker.
Working in retail and dealing with people from all walks of life, who come into the store having all kinds of days, Lisa was always adamant about treating people with kindness even if they weren’t being the same way in return. Why? Because Lisa had battled cancer six times at that point and understood that our brief interaction with customers could never convey whatever battle they might be facing. For example, she would say: “Maybe John just found out that he lost his job. Or, maybe Jane just lost her mother. Or maybe, Debbie just found out she has cancer.” There could be any number of reasons for why someone is acting the way they are that we will never know. So, Lisa felt that it was imperative to treat people with compassion and compassion and mindfulness go hand in hand. In fact, there is research to suggest that being mindful makes you more compassionate, but Lisa wasn’t aware of any of that. She simply did it because that is who she was.
So, how was she a day-maker and how can you be too? Lisa brought a smile to every situation. She spoke with kindness and encouragement always. I am not saying that she was Zen-like and didn’t have a temper, but that more times than not she considered how her words were going to affect a person. She tackled difficulties (both people and situations) with hope, optimism, love and compassion. Even in her own life, and her own situations, dealing with her cancer she never gave up hope. And when there was no more hope and she was faced with death, she still managed to see the brightness in that. Now, we’re not all built like Lisa. I know I tried to emulate her and failed because I am far melancholier than she was, but you can still be a day-maker.
Just think of it as bringing a little, unexpected sunshine into someone’s day. It can be a friend, a co-worker, a client, a patient, a neighbor and yes, even a stranger. We’re all pretty hardwired to think the worst in people and at the very minimum, simply not expect a “free” or “no-strings-attached” kindness, from someone that we don’t know that it usually surprises us. These instances of being a day-maker do not need to be much to truly affect someone. Here are some examples of how you can be a day-maker.
· Smile and say hello to a stranger: We live in a world where people have fallen victim to their phone and texting. Human contact is becoming less and less. But, that smile and meeting someone’s eyes is something that cannot be conveyed in text and when relating to people you do not know, can break the ice in an instant.
· Tell a co-worker or even a friend or nighbour how much you appreciate them: We often fall into a pattern of life and forget to tell people they are important. We also can fall into a pattern of only bringing up the negatives, thinking they already know the positive. Hearing the positive can really make a difference in how people respond to you.
· Take a moment and call that friend you haven’t chatted with in ages: In a day of social media and texting we don’t connect with people’s voice and through their voice, them. Hitting like or posting a pic of where you went on vacation is static and not the same as picking up your cell and calling them. It may really be something that changes their day.
· Pay for someone’s coffee, meal or groceries: Being a day-maker does not need to be expensive but if you can, this is one of those gestures that is wholly unexpected and can really brighten someone’s day. Also, if you travel the tolls frequently, paying for the person behind you is something inexpensive that you can also do.
· Spend time at an assisted living facility: It is sad to think that many people in these facilities either have no family or don’t have contact with their family through distance or neglect. You can really be a day-maker by visiting one of these facilities and spending an hour with some of the residents. Just call your local facility and ask if they have volunteer options or if you are able to visit once a week for an hour and maybe read to a resident.
So, what’s stopping you? Be a Day-Maker! We can all be Day-Makers. We can all bring a little sunshine into someone’s life. And you don’t have to believe in karma, but I do believe we get what we put in to the universe.
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