Recently, I spent a few days in Sweden. What an amazing trip. The views were stunning and the city of Stockholm majestic, but it was the people and the human interactions that knocked me over. Not only the experience there, but how the effects of spending a short amount of time with a small group of exceptionally nice people have impacted me.
On returning to the States I found I’d brought home more than souvenirs—I returned with a place in my being that I’d been far from for a long time. More laid back, more relaxed and back to being in the moment. There was no effort to accomplish this on my part; I just found myself there. As I relaxed into my being, I asked myself, “How did I get away from living life as it should be? Present, in the moment, letting go of fear, worry, distractions.” The answers I found were not a surprise. But before I share them, let me relate an illuminating moment from my trip.
One of my hosts was a woman named Annika. After two days spent traveling throughout the area, she put her arm around my shoulder and whispered, “Joe, can you do me a favor?” Not knowing what to expect, I replied, “Absolutely.” Very gently she made this request: “Would you please stop thanking us for being so nice? This is who we are.” She looked just a tiny bit embarrassed that she had to tell me this.
When I reflected on it I had to smile at my need to acknowledge people for being kind and nice. Isn’t that how we all should be? Yet, everyone I met was completely at ease with being real and just being nice. It was so refreshing. Apparently, it has rubbed off on me in a positive way. The experience reminded me of parenting (a theme in our upcoming August issue), and how powerful the model we place before our children can be. That model is the true teacher. My Swedish experience enabled me to see the model again and reminded me of how I want to think, act and be, in order to be content, at peace, laid back and of service to others.
So, what answers did not surprise me? That this is all about practice, acceptance and incorporating who you want to be into day-to-day life. In other words—the basics.
Be kind. Act nice. Think of others. Don’t judge. Relax. Remember life is not an emergency. Smile. See the good. Stop controlling. Stop trying to fix what is not yours. Stay calm. Respect everyone. Enjoy the moments you have as they are presented. Don’t take anything personally. Spread the word of peace and always come from love.
Remember to be the model of good so others can follow.
Joe Dunne, Publisher