Small gestures

Sometimes I like to play a game with myself. For a few days I will make it a point that everywhere I go, into each store, each person I come in contact with I will pay attention to and make a meaningful comment to them. At the grocery, or Target, or a restaurant, or wherever, I take a moment to notice them, and then acknowledge them. It might be what they’re wearing or the service they provide, or anything that strikes me, but I make it a point to talk with them.

As it has been said:

Love and a cough cannot be concealed.

Even a small cough. Even a small love.

Anne Sexton

The first time I decided to play this game was the first time I moved to Albuquerque after walking away from my career. I was living in an apartment in the city and was vacillating between loving being invisible and feeling so lonely from my invisibility I could barely move. This was my solution at the moment. Be seen and see others in small ways. And I enjoyed it. It was easy, and people smiled. And I smiled too. And it was enough.

And then once, I noticed that my dog left her ball outside my son’s door one morning while he still slept. A small gesture that she wanted to play ball, and she was hoping he would play soon. Beautiful. Heart-breaking too, how delicate and sweet, the note of love and hope. It was so generous of her not to wake him.

I’ve continued to play my game in the four years since, even though my loneliness is more enjoyable these days. And my invisibility is happier. I enjoy seeing people smile for that moment. It is a good game to play. Everybody wins.

Try it out for a few days yourself.

2 thoughts on “Small gestures

  1. What a great post. Just these past six months I’ve found myself doing this too. I find fellow travelers to be quite openly friendly, but not always locals in my southern hometown. Sometimes when passing a stranger on the street, he/she does not return my hello. I try to not to let it discourage me, and remind myself that hopefully my gesture has still made this person’s day the tiniest bit brighter. Maybe next time he/she will be the first to smile or say hello to a stranger. These little gestures are meaningful. And contagious. And they really do make me feel more like we are all connected somehow in this big, big world. P.S. I love Albuquerque and have had dreams of “being invisible” there for a while (recognizing the down side of that invisibility too!). Thanks for sharing. — Marsi

    1. I agree so much about the discouraging parts, but it does not change the meaningfulness for me. I keep learning the importance of the gestures for me as much as for others. So happy to hear others’ experiences with it. Esp when traveling! I’ll have to pay close attention to this. I’m traveling at the end of the month. PS thanks for your comments. I love them. 💕💕

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