Tag Archive | kindness

Hugs & Exercising The 5th Sense


October 2011

On my way home the other day, I saw a boy who was as tall as his mother lightly holding hands with her as they walked down the lane. It was a heartwarming sight that got me thinking about the power of touch.

Someone once said, “Happiness is an unexpected hug.” Our need for physical connection starts from birth—a nursing newborn instinctively seeks nourishment and comfort. Young children who are frequently cuddled and adults who receive regular positive touch (as opposed to negative forms like abuse or molest) are reportedly happier and healthier than their peers.

Touch communicates love, conveys comfort and heals hurts. It breaks down barriers so that even normally reticent teenagers would be more open to sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s a nonverbal expression of caring when you can’t find the right words at a funeral or sickbed. I’ve read that touch strengthens our immune system, and it also lightens dark moods.

Remember that warm fuzzy feeling you had the last time you gave or received a touch? One of my favourite cartoonists Bill Watterson captured it perfectly in “Calvin & Hobbes”.


Why not give someone whom you care for a gift of touch today? Surprise him or her with a hug, a squeeze on the shoulder, a pat on the head or just lightly place your hand over theirs. Go on, make their day, and yours too! And while you’re at it, how about taking the time to say aloud, “I love you” or “You matter to me” or “I value your friendship.”

A hug is a great gift—one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange. ~Author Unknown
A hug is like a boomerang—you get it back right away. ~Bil Keane, Cartoonist, “The Family Circus”



“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.” ~Apostle Paul


November 2011

3.14pm – My phone notification sounds….a friend just delivered her third child.
3:53pm – A colleague calls….his dad just passed away.

Life and Death within an hour. Two certainties in life; two ends of a journey that every living creature must go through. At times like this, reflection is normal: “What is it that’s truly important during our sojourn on earth?”

How many people look back when their final hour beckons, and wish they had worked harder? The reality, according to a survey, is that a desire to turn back the clock and spend more time with loved ones tops the list of death-bed regrets. Recall or read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and the warning by miserly Scrooge’s partner Jacob. He laments, “In life, my spirit never rose beyond the limits of our money-changing holes.”

“If Only” is always Mr Right –that’s the quaint expression someone I know used to say. More typically, the phrase “Hindsight is 20-20” is quoted. Few people go through life without acquiring excess baggage that sings the tune, “If only I/they had….” or “If only I/they hadn’t…”

Heed the wise sayings that go like this, “Enough for today are today’s own problems”, “Let bygones be bygones” and “Do not anxiously hope for that which is not yet come; do not vainly regret what is already past.”. That’s not to say we don’t carry forward valuable lessons learnt from past experiences, but let’s travel light.

Treasure the people in your life; they won’t be there forever. Some will be like ships that pass in the night—if that line sounds familiar, it’s probably because crooner Barry Manilow used it in a song. Others will be there only for a season but let’s be content with what they add to our lives during that period. A final group will be like cosy blankets or comfortable outfits, sticking with us through thick and thin as together, we witness the decades go by. My recommendation: Value them all!


I’ve realised the necessity of arranging or rearranging my “prioroties” to match what’s in my heart. Said an exhausted parent to his children, “I’m working day and night so you’ll have a better life.” Perhaps a pertinent question to ask is, “Better by whose standards?” A sorrowful parent told anyone who’d listen to her woes, “I worked so hard to provide for my son and spent all my time building up my business. Now, my teenager doesn’t even talk to me. He treats me like a stranger and our home like a hotel.” It’s the age-old argument of quality time versus quantity. Can our kids only enjoy one or the other?

Time is unbiased, and rich or poor, we all get the same 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour. So if someone says they’ve no time to celebrate or mourn with a family member or friend, answer a call or catch up over a meal, isn’t it a matter of choice? On a day when Life and Death met, it was time for me to reassess my commitments and activities. I know my answer to the first question in this post. How about you?

Beyond The Cursory Glance



April 2012

She sits in a cubicle in the Lady’s Washroom, and every once in a while, she’d get up to wipe the basin dry. She rarely makes eye contact, and if you pause to offer a word of thanks, she looks surprised, as if compliments are foreign in her solitary world. “Alone In The Crowd” is the phrase that comes to mind if you stop to observe her.

He sits at a corner of the Bus Interchange, unseeing, holding out packets of tissue paper that he hopes passersby will buy. When he doesn’t hear anyone around him, he slips into a still, silent cocoon of his own. Some people stop in a simple act of compassion, but far more are too caught up with their own thoughts or troubles to turn aside and reach out to him.

help blind

Tips for assisting someone who’s visually challenged
Give them your arm to hold when walking and let them set the pace.
(The guy in the cartoon should be standing on her other side!)
Read: http://www.cehjournal.org/files/posters/ASSISTING%20THE%20BLIND.pdf


Stop For The One!
That’s the cry of a woman brimming over with love and compassion. Heidi Baker founded the non-profit IRIS Ministries that cares for countless orphans and provides free health clinics and feeding programmes for the poor and sick in Mozambique. Primary and secondary schools and cottage industries are other tangible demonstrations of genuine care and concern.

In his song I Refuse, singer songwriter Josh Wilson declares, “Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and act like everyone’s alright when I know they’re not. But I refuse. ‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care. I refuse to say another empty prayer. I could choose not to move but I refuse. I refuse to turn my back.”


Someone noted that, “The faster our world gets, the less we notice people around us.” It’s not uncommon to see families and groups of friends sitting down for meals “together” but each person is focusing on an electronic gadget-checking a social networking site, playing a game, reading emails or picking up calls. Etiquette consultant Ms Manners would have a lot to say about such behaviour that’s become the norm!

Why not take time to notice someone today? Reach out to those who usually hover on the fringe and are seldom accorded any attention. Make a connection and find out something about the person that you never knew before. Here’s a challenge from a wise teacher: “Be nice to people who’re different from us, to those who won’t or don’t treat us well, and to those who can’t or won’t pay us back.”
Radical Living—what a world it would be!




Keep in touch!” is a phrase whose context has been turned upside down, especially among those who make it a point to stay connected round-the-clock via social media and instant messaging applications. Not so long ago, a timely response meant getting or giving a reply the next day, but now some of our contacts may well express annoyance if they don’t hear from us within minutes or even seconds!

The benefits of constant connectivity are evident but the pitfalls shouldn’t be lightly dismissed. According to a new survey of 900 young people, many are struggling with growing stress as they try to stay in the loop all the time and actively participate in one another’s blow-by-blow sharing. The respondents aged 19 to 26 confessed that their social media commitments had a negative impact on their studies or jobs.

Details: http://d3ftitl17j4lal.cloudfront.net/ad7573b7-3cca-480c-9cad-3568eec5ab66-all_documents.pdf

I read an amusing headline that proclaimed, “Stressed by social media? There’s an App for that!” As much of the urbanised world rushes along at breakneck speed, let’s take time to appreciate the meaning and importance of R.E.S.T. which is defined as:

– A state of quiet or repose; tranquillity; to be still
– Rest from physical or mental exertion that wearies or disturbs
– Peace; security; freedom from anxiety

There’s a lovely Hebrew greeting that can be used whenever people say Hi or Bye. It’s “Shalom” and it means well-being, wholeness, soundness, health, peace, rest, no agitation or discord, prosperity, safety, harmony and completeness.

Isn’t that beautiful? Well, dear reader, I’d like to wish you, “Shalom!.”