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I just listened to the podcast interview with Sharon Salzburg. In it, Sharon mentioned that she found herself paradoxically being more generous in these times of economic hardship. She specifically mentioned that she has become more purposeful and aware of smiling at people, even in New York City.

As Sharon said this, four recent memories sprang vividly to my awareness. Each was of an ordinary encounter with an associate, a clerk and passers-by. All occurred in the last few days or so. Each memory was of a fleeting moment of courtesy, kindness or uncharacteristic friendliness. Each was by itself perhaps unremarkable... A stranger, offering to walk my just-unloaded shopping cart back into the store... A clerk at the store, making eye contact, smiling and asking if I would like help carrying a bag of ice to the car... A stranger, filling their car at the adjacent pump, commenting on the glorious sky and weather that day... A business associate, inquiring about my daughter who has just left home to travel abroad.

Sharon's comment assembled each of these encounters into a larger picture of people, reaching out to each other in a time of worry and fear.

Suddenly, I am more joyful. Suddenly, I am encouraged. Suddenly, I am resolved be more positive and uplifting to all those I meet -- to pass on Sharon's wisdom and compassion.

I thank all the SOF team, and especially Sharon Salzburg, for helping me become a bit wiser and more compassionate!