We hear these words, or a similar sentiment, often, and especially at this time of year.   We all feel that joy of seeing someone we love light up when they receive a gift chosen carefully for them.  It’s only part of being human to relish in the happiness and joy of people we love.  Gifts show we care.   

There are many other ways to show we care.  Giving our love, kindness and time is something we could practise every day, to people we’ve never met as well as to those we love.

“Practise kindness all day to everybody and you will realise you’re already in heaven now”, a beautiful quote by Jack Kerouac.  The great thing about love and kindness is that it’s free and can be given at any time and anywhere.  Sometimes, we underestimate the knock on effect we can have by doing something kind for someone else.

We can extend that love and kindness to the planet, particularly now.  As humans, we create imbalance by taking from the Earth and not giving back.  There are many ways, even if they seem small, to assist.  Planting trees, composting, growing and nurturing plants in the garden that attract bees.  These and other gifts that we can give to the Earth will reward us in countless ways.

In this short video Radhanath Swami talks about us being the caretakers of divine property and how trees support and care for each other in a way that is often missing in human society.

And Guru Singh whose Daily Prayer I highly recommend suggests the Tree of Life is the subtle connections that every life has with every other life, human or otherwise.

Connection is key.  Connection to each other, to Earth and all nature and to our inner selves.  Since we are all connected, showing love and kindness whenever and wherever we can actually means we’re receiving as much as we’re giving.