The Gift of Time

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I’m standing at the pharmacy counter in San Miguel de Allende, asking for directions in Spanish to Belles Artes when the other woman on my side of the counter approaches.

“Are you American?”
“Yes.”
“Do you have a moment you can spare?”

I assess my personal agenda in a nano-second  for the last day I’m in town.

“Yes, I can.”

I can see the relief on her face when I say yes.

“And you speak Spanish?”
“Yes.”

She launches into her dilemma – she can’t get through to America on her cell phone. Her daughter, actress in Mexico City, who’s been there 22 years has set her up with a phone. She needs to find At&T. She’s got a plan. It should work. The download of information comes in rapid fire.

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“First things first, let’s find AT&T,” I say.
She sighs. “OK.”

We wander the street we’re on. It’s supposed to be close. I pop in and out of stores asking, “Donde esta AT&T?”

Multitudes of answers come. Just up the street.

We find our destination and I spring into action.
Questions are asked.
Responses given.
Money paid.
Sighs released in frustration.

After a good ½ an hour of sorting through the confusion, paying more money, and getting her cell phone number sorted out, Sandi makes her call to the United States.

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“I’m never letting you go.” She says, a wide smile shining out from underneath her broad brimmed hat.

“My pleasure,” with the utmost sincerity.

I’m relaxed. Like this is my purpose for having gone into the pharmacy – to help sort out the confusion for Sandi.

She beams. She’s connected now.

It’s now been an hour since I met her in the pharmacy. I have the afternoon to go see the last sights and shop for a few items. And yet this diversion from my own “plans” feels like the most important thing I will do today.

Sandi and I hug, we exchange phone numbers and emails. She invites me to her farm in upstate New York.

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The whole encounter wakes me up to how the gift of time and attention are more valuable than anything else I could give anyone.

As the heaviest shopping time of the year approaches, I’ve decided to take this lesson to heart and put it into practice.

I will give the gift of time….by either spending time with people, doing something with them, or making them a hand-made gift.

As I leave Sandi, she pops into a shop where she’s spotted a pair of pants she fancies. As I walk down the cobble stone streets, my heart feels fuller than it did before I’d bumped into her.

Thank you, Sandi! Happiest of holy-days to you!


In Troubling Times....

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It seems the world really IS spinning out of control with the abundance of tragedy around the world, from bombings, to shootings, to hurricanes, fires and floods.Things feel tenuous at best, and yet I can't help think that we are all being called forth to create the new world we want to live in. So, in these troubling times, when life as we know it seems to be falling apart, here are simple practices to create more love in life. 

Be kind.
Make it a point to be kind to the person in front of you in any given moment.

Play with the children and the elderly.

Make art.
Create something. Write a new song, paint a painting, write a poem, make up a new dance.

Gather together.
Get together with loved ones…family, friends. Make it a priority. Time is short and we never know when we won't have the opportunity to do so.

Gratitude.
Remember all of the small things your grateful for.

Break bread together.
Share meals with friends, family and strangers. Cook something and invite people over.

Go out of your way.
Take time to honor people who are important to you. Send a card, pick up the phone, send them a present.

Get out to nature.
Go on a hike, get on your bike, sit in the trees or by the ocean. Listen to the wind, the trees, the waves.

Love the animals.
Spend more time loving your pets, or other people’s pets. Go to an animal shelter and love up the furry ones.

Tell someone you love them.
Today.