The Internet is full of advice on everything from what not to say to working parents, to the correct way to extend a friendly greeting to another during the holiday season. In this age of awareness and correctness when interacting with one another, it is easy to get so hung up on your delivery, you are actually afraid to speak!
So much time can be spent focused on what is lacking, that what is present in abundance can be overlooked. Good intentions are everywhere. Caring people abound, but can feel bound by a fear of being judged for their inability, instead of honored for their intent. If this feeling is common in those of us who are considered "typical," what must those who face intellectual or physical challenges experience from day to day?
When we are open conduits, we are better able to honor the intentions of others. We can forgive words and actions that aren't gracefully aligned with the driving thought behind them. In this way, we broaden the spectrum of possibilities for ourselves and others. By allowing thoughts to flow and be expressed freely, we can be awakened to fresh ideas, inspiration and energy that encourages us to reach further, try more, fear less. Organizations like Special Olympics strive to open these possibilities in every person they connect with, thus serving as an inspiration to all who strive to do the same.
Try this: practice listening to a friend without reacting facially, vocally or physically. Just listen. Thank them for their thoughts. Just that. There is no need to offer your opinion unless it is asked for. Notice the feelings and intentions this awakens for you. Sometimes the greatest gift we have to offer is the simple act of being present and aware.