I love to give my time, money and compassion to things that are making our world more beautiful and pleasurable. I talk about it in this YMoment: Reward the Special.
To reward the special, you have to start with knowing your personal values. Then aligning your actions with those values. Here are just three easy examples:
If you want bustling main streets across America overflowing with outdoor cafés full of neighbors laughing and breaking bread together – then perhaps next time your family heads out for dinner rather than drive to a chain restaurant if that’s the plan, walk together to a local family run restaurant in town. Over time, you’ll know the owners by first name, be asked to taste new dishes before they end up on the menu, and, from my own experience, your kids will be invited into the kitchen by the Chef whenever you pop by...priceless!
If you want to see a world with happy farmers and healthier people – maybe think before getting in the car and driving off to a big box store to fill your car with groceries shipped in from around the world. Instead reward your neighborhood grocers or farmers market for its curated, locally grown selection.
If you get a tingly feeling every time you step foot into a bookstore (we must be soul sisters if so) - think twice next time you order books online. Instead grab your bike or running shoes and head out to your local book store. Take time to meet the owner, ask for recommendations, and find out when the next author events are (so inspiring and usually free). Then enjoy your new book at a local café in town.
I know sometimes these experiences could be slightly more expensive or sloooower paced compared to the fast energy of our culture. So choosing fast and cheap sometimes over special and pleasurable is perfectly fine.
Just not all the time.
For if we really want a world filled with beauty, inspiration, artists, craftsmen, entrepreneurs...buzzing main streets…people making mundane tasks more beautiful and pleasurable for us.....oh and what about rewarding that little shoe repair man, you know the one, the man who's been in his little shop off the main street for decades and all you can see is stacks of shoes and boots through the window but he always manages to make his way through the piles to greet you with a smile because his purpose and passion in life is the art of mending shoes for people in town, then we must reward the special when we see it. If not, think of the alternative for our children.
Write down what YOU truly value. Then give your time, money and compassion to things that align with those values. You will feel empowered and happy – authentically happy – every time you reward what is special to you.
PS. For those that read YMoment: Reward the Special and are now emailing me asking the location of this gas station, it's Bridgeway Gas in Sausalito, California. It's a simple place but the loving intention and beautiful music is wonderful (if for some reason you don't hear any music while pumping gas, the owner had told me to kindly remind his employee to turn on the classical music....so you should do the same!) Bridgeway Gas is also next door to my all time favorite café Cibo (another great place to reward some special). Enjoy!