A Celebration of Love

Why does Valentine’s Day have to be just about romantic connections?  What if it were a day to celebrate love in all of its manifestations? How could we make it more inclusive of everyone rather than focusing solely on a romantic partner?
valentine's day | love is the new currencyValentine’s Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge those we love. My friend Deana calls it a “love holiday.” It’s a wonderful reminder to put more love into our interactions with others, whether they are friends, parents, children, a neighbor, co-worker or someone we just happen to meet. There are many ways to express a heart connection…hugs, smiles, or saying “I love and appreciate you” with more frequency and ease.One of the reasons we love Valentine’s Day is that we all want to be acknowledged and cherished. So instead of focusing solely on that ‘special person’ in our life, or being disappointed that we don’t have one, perhaps we could use this Valentine’s Day to open our hearts wider and express our own unique ways to let others know we care.

Andy, a freshman living in a co-ed college dorm, would secretly leave a single red rose at the door of each of the women in his dormitory on Valentine’s Day morning, making it the first thing they would see to welcome their day.

Although I try to let people in my life know I care, I must admit that I delight in taking it up a notch on Valentine’s Day. For instance, I enjoy creating and sending Valentine cards to my friends and family, especially those who are single. In the past, when I’ve facilitated meetingsvalentine's day | love is the new currency for a group of women business owners, I’d show my appreciation with a beautiful rose, a card, and chocolates on Valentine’s Day.  And one year, two pairs of cozy fleece PJ’s were sent to my mom and to a good friend in the north with warm “Happy Valentine’s Day” messages of love. And I’d even bought a pair for myself!

We don’t need special days set aside to honor those we love.  For instance, my dad frequently buys my mom a bouquet of fresh flowers. Lulu often gives away individually wrapped roses from her flower stand at the farmer’s market to someone who looks like they could use a smile (sometimes me). There’s a lot to be said about such spontaneous gestures of love.

How can we make Valentine’s Day, and every day, a celebration of love?

valentine's day | love is the new currency

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Trending Kindness

Be a trend setter!
I’ve always loved reading and writing about TRENDS, especially when I had a home accessory business. It’s interesting to discover how trends start and how they can affect or inspire us. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that a collective movement towards an idea or concept influences our thoughts and actions.

It seems obvious, and many studies indicate, that we are experiencing a lack of compassion. According to a poll by Kindness USA, “only 25 percent of Americans believe we’re living in a kind society.” One could find countless examples to validate that report.

Regardless of the evidence that empathy and kindness are diminishing in our current society, I still have faith that the trend is, and will be, toward increasing kindness. I believe that “being kind to each other is not just some altruistic notion, but is critical to the survival of our species.”

Humans are inherently social and strive to be in balance. What better way to achieve that today than to create a counter balance to rude and unkind acts through increased kindness and compassion.

I don’t like to admit it, but I find that I am more motivated to do something about promoting a kindness consciousness when I am feeling discouraged, especially in this negative political climate. But maybe that’s what is needed to shift us to a place of greater concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens. What I am noticing is that people and organizations are already making inroads to creating a kinder world.

Herald Tribune | love is the new currencyFor example, in the January 1st Sarasota Herald Tribune, the front page of the Parade, decorated with brightly colored dots, was titled: “Throw kindness around like confetti! It’s the little things we do that make all the difference.” Inside were three full pages dedicated to kindness, starting with Paula Spencer Scott’s article titled: “2017 Year of Being Kind,” and a focus on Lady GaGa’s Born This Way Foundation and her statement: “Kindness is showing LOVE to someone else. I believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world.”

Get involved! Get inspired!
Immerse yourself in reading about individuals and organizations focused on promoting kindness. I loved what a young woman – Orly Wahba, CEO of Kindness USA – shared in her video Kindness Boomerang: . . .and her Ted Talk on the ‘magic of kindness’ was inspiring.

I recently met with an engaging college senior student who has committed to support the Kindness Starts with Me program, infusing animation and new ideas to excite and motivate children to be kinder. The millennials have helped me to feel more hopeful about our future.

love is the new currency

artist “Jacque Michelle”

What we focus on is what we see and believe. I have been seeking something good to believe in, talking to everyday people to learn what they are experiencing in their lives that is positive and what they are doing to create a kinder society. These are messages and stories that we need to hear more about and they are everywhere.

Be a trend setter: Trending Kindness!


It’s time to have our own movement, a kindness campaign
to create a different kind of future that will have a long-lasting effect on the quality of our lives. Each person, each loving act, no matter how small, can create a ripple effect. We can “kind it forward” and spark a movement to make kindness a major trend.

I invite you to share your positive news of kindness below.

And please keep sending me the wonderful articles that you are reading so I can share them. We all need it.

You can read about Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and numerous other organizations that will soon be listed on this website as a resource for ‘GOOD NEWS’.

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Let’s Choose Hope

I recently had an opportunity to talk to 25 college seniors. I asked them: “With a show of hands, how many of you are feeling hopeful or positive about the world today?” Not surprisingly, not a single student’s hand was raised as they looked around amidst the awkward silence.choose hope | love is the new currency

“So, let me ask you”, I continued, “what is it that you would find hopeful and what would you be willing to do to create that?”

I must admit I’ve been asking myself that question a lot during these last few months, especially post-election, struggling to find the hope in today’s troubled world. One might be tempted to hide under the covers or to run away to live in a peaceful place. Although it may feel comforting, we might ask, “Is that what we came here to experience in these precious bodies?” Life is short. What are we waiting for? We can choose to create a more caring, compassionate world right now.

In this dance of life, we have an opportunity to engage in a new way with our fellow earth dwellers. We can choose to love or to hate, to include or to exclude, to share or to hoard, to cooperatively build a better world or to destroy what we have. We can choose to hope or to live in despair and fear.

The best way we can help others
– and ourselves – is by choosing HOPE. We may need to look deeper for reasons to be happy, hopeful, and grateful, but it’s from that place that we can inspire others.

Let’s open our eyes, minds, and hearts to those who are right in front of us – who may look, speak, or act differently than us – for they are our current dance partners, whether for a moment, a day, or a lifetime.

Start by offering a little kindness, a gesture that says, “I see you, I witness what you are experiencing right now. I care.” Oftentimes, it’s the little things that touch us in ways that matter. Letting someone get ahead of you in a traffic line with a friendly wave, taking pictures for strangers, welcoming a newcomer to your city or neighborhood, or buying an extra rose at the farmer’s market is so simple, so easy.

Sometimes just witnessing the kind acts of others can make us feel more positive about the world. It’s not only uplifting, it’s contagious, creating a ripple effect of kindness. When in doubt about what to do: Just be kind!

We can even take it up a notch by truly listening to all viewpoints, by acknowledging others in a way that makes them not only feel seen and heard, but valued and appreciated. How can we extend our hands and invite others to participate in this dance of life . . . connecting and expanding until there is no one left out?

I am reminded of a quote by Buddha:

“What you think, you become

What you feel, you attract

What you imagine, you create.”

Let’s choose to create a new world vision of kindness, hope, love and peace.

Singing Christmas Tree

Wishing you, your family and friends a loving, harmonious, holiday season and a new year filled with hope, peace and gratitude.

Blessings,
Linda

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Unity and Peace

As I was praying for enlightened leadership and a more unified country, after a stressful presidential election, these words came to me:

We hear your prayers for peace.  Continue to pray daily for unity and peace for all people.

Your concerns about this presidential election are valid because it highlights the divisions in the United States between the haves and the have-nots, the educated and uneducated, liberal and conservative and between the masculine and feminine.

There needs to be a new awareness, a desire to work together for the common good and that will take time and a commitment from EVERYONE – not just the leaders and politicians, but from each person who is part of this country and world community.

It starts with YOU and you and you.

Don’t look to your brother or sister, neighbor or stranger as the cause for division.
Look within your own heart.

Help to create a new world vision of love and peace.

Start now.

What is your vision of how we can create a more peaceful, loving, and unified country… and world?

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In Pursuit of Happiness

In the United States, the pursuit of happiness is stated as one of our inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence, yet I can’t remember the last time that it was an expressed consideration in developing our government policies.

In contrast, in the Himalayan country of Bhutan, with its predominantly Buddhist culture, the focus of its public policies [Read more…]

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