Living Gently: A Year of Reflection

Every month, in this column, we discuss a topic that has the potential to make life a little better. Whether positive habits or a reminder that there’s still good in the world, it’s a column designed to focus on the good within us as people. I’m no expert. I have even said in past columns that I often write them as much for myself as I do anyone else. This column has actually been running since June 2013 (with the exception of a two-month break) and we’ve touched on a lot. This month, as we close the chapter on 2015, and prepare to welcome a new year, let’s recap almost two years worth of topics.

Blessings: Counting your blessings is an opportunity to focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have.

Etiquette: Etiquette is about demonstrating respect for others and “treating others the way you want to be treated.”

Random Acts of Kindness: When was the last time you did something for someone you knew could not repay you or just to be kind?

Gratitude: Gratitude is an art, and finding ways to be grateful seems to be an easy task.

Frugality: Frugality means being ever diligent in our quest to be smart about our money and wise in our decisions.

Contentment: Oprah Winfrey once said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Compassion: Demonstrating compassion for our fellow human beings is one of the greatest virtues we can master.

Faith: Too often, it’s easier to believe in the reasons we can’t do something rather than having faith in our abilities to change.

Love: When it comes to showing love for our families and friends, it’s the small gestures that often mean the most.

Luck: Coleman Cox said, “I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”

Happiness: In our constant state of motion and never ending to-do lists, do we ever stop long enough to identify the things that make us happy?

Choices: Whether you believe that choice is God’s gift of freewill or not, it is our ability to choose that separates us from other species.

Celebration: Celebrating even the small moments can have a tremendous, positive outcome on your life!

Patience: Patience is a learnable life skill no matter how old you are.

Forgiveness: Forgiveness is as much for ourselves as it is for the person who wronged us.

Generosity: The great thing about generosity is that once it’s given, you can’t help but benefit from it too.

Laughter: Milton Berle once said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.”

Thankfulness: Start every morning off by identifying something for which you are thankful.

Cooperation: Cooperation isn’t about conceding values, but rather, taking an active and decided measure to figure out how our differences can work together.

Listening: Make it a practice to listen WITHOUT thinking about what your response should be, but simply absorb what is being said.

Community Spirit: Being a part of the community is much more than just having an address within the community.

Golden Rule: Let’s be polite and see how far it takes us.

Smiling: Smiling is a universal language that is spoken by everyone, including newborns who are born with the ability to smile.

Promises: François VI, Duc de la Rochefoucauld said, “We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears.”

Excuses: We use an excuse as a Band-Aid® on a bad habit rather that addressing the root of the problem.

Learning: You never know when learning one skill can take you to another.

Have To vs. Get To: What are the “have to’s” in your life that you can turn into “get to’s?”

Helping a Friend Who is Grieving: The answer in being a friend to someone who is grieving is being there.


Thank you for reading “Living Gently” and joining me as we explore these topics. It’s a great reminder that the human spirit has great capacity and abilities. I look forward to talking about other ways we can gently live in 2016!