“Please tell me how I can love you better.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Recently I chose to dive into the invitation issued by Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, to ask my loved ones the question, “How can I love you better?” I received my first answer from my niece, Alisha, and began to earnestly pay attention to what she had requested. I noticed how, if and when I could do it, and also, under what circumstances I felt I couldn’t. I loved having the focus of a specific act that felt good to her and that I could offer her.
It tickles me to visually record the death and rebirth in my neighborhood – part of my spiritual growth of loving me better!
And, then I realized I had started looking outward prematurely. Just as it is on a plane, it’s best for me to put my oxygen mask on first and then help Alisha or anyone else who needs help, it is also best to ask myself ( and answer) the question first.
So, I have begun asking myself each day, “Ann, how can I love you better today?” I have been surprised and delighted by the variety of answers.
“Refrain from a certain automatic response with one of my more challenging friends.” “Take a longer walk today.” “Play my new music.” “Get out in the sun.” “Take some pictures.”
And, of course, as I fill my own cup a bit more, then I have more love to give! What a fun easy way to fill my cup a bit more each day, “Ann, how can I love you better today?” Ask. Listen. Take the loving action.
And, then go ask someone else, “How can I love you better?” Ask. Listen. Take the loving action.
Repeat as needed . . .