thirty two ways to be gentle

1. Go to the grocery store and buy a mango. Take it home and peel it slowly with a sharp knife and cut it into small pieces. Put them in a bowl. Eat each small piece one at a time, with a toothpick, while keeping your eyes closed.

2. Read a book that was written for someone very small. Read it aloud. Practice using different voices.

3. Soak in a hot bath and imagine all the sadness sweating out of your pores. Moisturize.

4. Lay down on the couch and stretch every muscle in your body one at a time. Then take a nap.

5. Speak with a soft voice even when you’re excited.

6. Write a letter to yourself. Tell yourself that you’re wonderful. Tell yourself “I love you.”

7. Blow bubbles and watch each one until it pops.

8. Lay in the sun.

9. Imagine that the tips of your fingers are made of glass. Touch everything gently.

10. Polish something until it is shiny.

11. Listen to Chopin.

12. Buy flowers for someone you haven’t seen in a while. Deliver them in person.

13. Breathe slowly.

14. Allow yourself to be transparent with people who love you.

15. Ask for help.

16. Go on a picnic.

17. Dust the leaves on your plants.

18. Walk through a museum and absorb the sound of careful looking.

19. Imagine the soles of your shoes are made of crystal. Step carefully.

20. Draw a picture of something you care about. Be especially proud of yourself if you draw badly, and then hang your picture on the refrigerator.

21. Breathe consciously.

22. Smile when something makes you happy.

23. Write a letter to a stranger. Send it right away.

24. Get a massage. Let someone touch you softly.

25. Mix eggs, flour, sugar, butter together. Watch through the oven door as they turn from batter to cookies. Bring cookies to your neighbor.

26. Read a book to a very old person. Practice voices.

27. Ask for forgiveness.

28. Release the sadness.

29. Let go of the past.

30. Look people in the eyes.

31. Tell the truth.

32. Forgive yourself. 

Originally posted: 27 July 2005

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