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The gift of a leek

“I love the way you handle paper!” I said, looking with admiration at a person who is a former love in my life. It might not have been the most romantic thing to say to someone you are in love with, but it was true. The hands moved skillfully over the sheets, folded them carefully, put them in an envelope and wrote the address on it with slow, slightly jerky movements.

The action itself was nothing out of the ordinary - writing a letter - but it was like something came alive before my eyes: a theater play that keeps you spellbound but instead of a stage, you sit by the kitchen table at home. I was fascinated by my reaction. Sure, I enjoy both writing and receiving letters, but what I got to witness there and then was something very special.

I have had similar experiences with other people over the years and what has been a common denominator in all of them is that the greatness that was found in the small things. It may sound like a cliché, but for me it is a gift, a way of being able to look at and relate to things that go beyond everyday stress and idleness. Presence.

One of my oldest friends is a natural at seeing the greatness in the small things. Everyday life is full of details and she takes the time to experience and pay attention to them. And best of all, it's contagious. I remember one time many years ago when we were making a meal together. I'm not someone who loves working in the kitchen but she seems to be able to make magic with ingredients. She praises them in the way she handles them and there is so much joy in the food she prepares. "You're probably the only one I know who can really see the gift of a leek!" I told her, grateful as I always am when I get to experience the world through her eyes.


The American bestselling author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer used to say that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. In addition to that, I would like to say that it also brings about change in ourselves. When I enter a conversation with curiosity, my experience is different than if I assume I already know what the other person has to say. If I see the morning rush as an opportunity to have a bit of time for myself, I don't get stressed if I end up in a traffic jam or if the train is late. And if I can remember that a "difficult" person is often someone who has a difficult time (and that I am this person sometimes) then maybe my response to them will be different than it would have been otherwise.

Today I stopped what I was doing and embraced the gift of dried strawberries, remembered that there is life experience in gray hairs and felt that it is nice when the socks I take out of the washing machine are as many as the ones I put in. If you look around or think about your day, are there any gifts there that you haven't yet noticed?



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