The Heart Cleanse continues (40 day feast – practicing gratitude, kindness & mercy), and opportunities abound.

This offered a lovely morning greeting after a wonderful (yet hard) college send-off weekend in San Antonio last weekend. The boys held down the fort while the girls traveled and dropped off.

Why the open cereal boxes? Why not just close them and put them away (& other counter-stuff for that matter?) I don’t know. But with a genuinely happy heart (GRATEFUL for all they had done while we were gone – including a certain son not only loaded the dishwasher, but started it!) I cleaned up – knowing they had a lot on their plates too. GKM were at play, making it easy to start the laundry without resentment or indignation.

So that was at 6:30 am.

Fast forward to 11:30 am and BAM(!) another opportunity for kindness/mercy as a minivan mom turned in front of me, stared me down, honked and then …. rude-gestured me for good measure, pausing and catching my eye to be sure I understood her disdain.

I turned to my passenger kid and sighed, “Well, I’m not feeling it, but here’s our mercy opportunity. … Something stressful & hard must be going on in her life to prompt all that.”

What’s funny, in that moment I was still trying to find a place to put all she dished our way. But writing it now makes me really feel for her and wish I had been quicker to practice kindness.

Then getting home, I had the opportunity to be kind to myself (strangely the hardest.) In all the hub-bub, I threw away a receipt – a big one for rugs that didn’t work in a dorm room. This prompted some dumpster diving, in the heat of the day, after I’ve already showered – just sayin’. I’m SO grateful the trash guys had not picked anything up yet – and I found it! Then walked in the door hot, tired and thirsty – and a little sad as I spied some of Sally’s things.

But on my now-clean counter sat a bottle of water from weekend and my thoughts were literally flooded with things for which to be grateful – like that beautiful bottle that the hotel generously put in our room, the lovely dorm room that will now be home for Barton, kind roommates, safe travel, sisters that love each other …. gosh the list could go on and on.

That was yesterday.

Today began with a sad kid whose school schedule monumentally shifted from what he not only expected but had looked forward to most of the summer (and some of last year). Frustration when he discovered the change last night prompted some serious questioning and a just a little anger. But what can you do? Things change – and certainly not always in our favor.

I woke up early this morning, slightly heavy myself, and quietly grabbed Mitty for a walk. The minute we opened the door, I knew we were about to get a blast of refreshing perspective – in the form of a stunning rising sun. Experiencing a sunrise almost always re frames perspective. Looking up unavoidably broadens our horizon and literally expands breathing. It prompts me to see beyond my moment and thoughts again race to GRATITUDE.

Here’s thing we’re learning about practicing these things, the more they are put into play, the more they come into play without the need of an invitation. It’s almost reflex. And what a great side-affect: a gratitude reflex.

We go for a long walk. I have the chance to practice KINDNESS – like picking up a couple stray pieces of trash and tossing a newspaper on the front porch so its owner doesn’t need to make the long trek to the sidewalk. Okay, it’s a few steps, but still.

We turn the corner on the way home and enter a block with friends I know have been suffering – one with relationship issues, another lost her father. I pray for them while heading up the block. And who do I see out in the front yard, but the latter. I was thrilled at the chance to hug her neck and acknowledge out loud how I’m sure he is missed as school is starting and his absence is felt a little more than on regular days.

We chat a bit – then she brings up the schedule shift. She shares about her child’s sadness over the change and explaining more about the process about which I didn’t know. She told me several things that I relayed back to my child – allowing him to understand a bit more fully the why behind the what – and some comfort was found. To the point he even found compassion (MERCY) for the people who had to make the tough decision that they knew would frustrate lots of kids and families.

All from a walk.

Peace and joy take over. Arguably, absolutely, the best part of the 40- day heart cleanse that’s not a fast but a feast!

Want to play? It’s simple 40 days of practicing GKM. Join in and grab a friend – it’s actually a fun (& free!) adventure.

Thanks for walking the road with me.