Our youngest just finished kindergarten with a sweet ceremony, cap and all.

Blair and I have a lot of conversations. Recently she told me about the clip system at school, Ms. Peartree and Mrs. Z’s behavior management program. It went something like this:

Blair: My clip is on green a lot, Mom.

Me: (Silently: Wha?) That sounds interesting. Tell me about that!

Blair: When you’re good, your clip moves up to green. If it happens a lot, you get to go to the treasure box.

Me: That sounds fun! What happens if you’re not so nice?

Blair: Then your clip moves down to red. And you might have to go have a big talk with Mr. Mullahy.

Me: Serious stuff. So, you talk about what happened and how to be more kind?

Blair: Yup!

In the midst of life, it’s easy to forget how simple it can be. Blair is known in her school — not for having her clip on green or red — but for her incredible hugs. And infectious smile. And kindness. Proud to have her as my guest on…

lifeyumTV episode 2: Kindergarten Simple

1. Be nice. And treat yourself to your own treasure from time to time.

2. Be yourself.  Channel your inner three, four, or five-year old or unlearn all that somebody training you’ve done. And when you’re not yourself, have a little talk (or a big talk) and then get back to class.

3. Be imaginative. Including imagining the love that brought you into this world and how much beauty, sadness, dark, light, humor, color, crazy, confusion, stillness, change, right, wrong, and love makes it all kind of work out.

As I run from pick up to pick up, the market to the orthodontist, and find myself somehow slipping into the Race instead of loving up my people, our doggie, our friends, and little gardens…a conversation with Blair can be just the right elixir.

How about you? Do you slip into autopilot? What draws you out?

And this. Oh, gratitude. I sometimes watch it with the kids before bed. So perfect: Happiness Revealed.

A Moving Art original short by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. Spoken word and music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin. Narration written and spoken by Brother David Steindl-Rast.

Transcript of Happiness Revealed, a glimpse into that perspective from the point of view of a child and an elderly man of that world, by Louie Schwartzberg:

Child: When I watch TV, it’s just some shows that you just — that are pretend, and when you explore, you get more imagination than you already had, and when you get more imagination, it makes you want to go deeper in so you can get more and see beautifuller things, like the path, if it’s a path, it could lead you to a beach, or something, and it could be beautiful. (Music)

Brother David Steindl-Rast: You think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment, with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, and even with the weather, we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather. This day, right now, has unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. That formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now. Open your eyes. Look at that.

Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom, not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far, and in this present moment, on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generationsand from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here like a life-giving water, if you only open your heart and drink. (Music)

Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water, and drinkable water. It’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

So these are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which we can open your heart. And so I wish you that you will open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you, and then it will really be a good day.

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