Activated - - NEWS - By Jessie Richards Jessie Richards had a role in the pro­duc­tion of Ac­ti­vated from 2001 to 2012, and has writ­ten a num­ber of ar­ti­cles as an Ac­ti­vated staff writer. She has also writ­ten and edited ma­te­rial for other Chris­tian pub­li­ca­tions and web­sites.

I ab­so­lutely love av­o­cado! Along with be­ing de­light­fully de­li­cious, it is a ver­sa­tile fruit. Not to men­tion that it's out­stand­ingly healthy—one of the best sources of nat­u­ral oils and many vi­ta­mins.

In Chile, where I spent many of my grow­ing-up years, av­o­ca­dos—called “palta” there—are abun­dant and are in­cluded in many lo­cal dishes, in­clud­ing a va­ri­ety of sal­ads, sand­wiches, and even hot dogs. It al­ways im­pressed me how adding a few slices of av­o­cado to a salad, or a layer of gua­camole to a burger or sand­wich, could to­tally trans­form it—es­sen­tially turn­ing “nor­mal food” into some­thing glo­ri­ous. That's how I feel about it any­way. Av­o­cado is one of the sta­ples of my diet, and I find that it pairs well with al­most every­thing. It's even great on its own as a snack or small meal—slice in half, sprin­kle on some salt and pep­per, a squeeze of le­mon, and per­fec­tion.

I think that the ac­com­plish­ment of the av­o­cado, as it were, in­so­far as its trans­form­ing power, is in a way rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what ac­tive kind­ness and com­pas­sion add to our lives. There are a lot of things that we do in the course of our work or car­ing for our fam­ily or just be­ing con­cerned cit­i­zens, that are good things, nice things, car­ing things, nec­es­sary things, but also things that be­come some­what the “de­fault.”

You know how when you see a sign all the time, it starts to feel like wall­pa­per and you don't re­ally see it any­more? Some­times, the things we do for those around us be­come like that. We aren't par­tic­u­larly mind­ful when we do them, and the re­cip­i­ents aren't par­tic­u­larly grate­ful for what we do. Or, some­times it's the things oth­ers do for us that fail to be prop­erly no­ticed and ac­knowl­edged. Ei­ther way, when we go the ex­tra mile and add a lit­tle “av­o­cado” in the form of, say, a few words of wel­come or ap­pre­ci­a­tion, it makes a big dif­fer­ence.

Re­cently, I trav­eled home by bus af­ter a few days' visit in a nearby city. I'm an ex­pe­ri­enced trav­eler, and han­dle long trips pretty well, but nat­u­rally I al­ways pre­fer when

We are con­sti­tuted so that sim­ple acts of kind­ness, such as giv­ing to char­ity or ex­press­ing grat­i­tude, have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on our long-term moods. The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sus­tained re­la­tion­ships, chal­leng­ing work, and con­nec­tions to com­mu­nity.— Paul Bloom (b. 1963), pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy and cog­ni­tive science at Yale Univer­sity

I end up with a free seat next to me rather than an­other per­son. I had set­tled into my seat, and the bus seemed nearly full, but no­body was be­side me yet … but, sure enough, a young man soon ap­proached and asked if he could sit be­side me. I said “Yes, please do,” and he smiled and replied, “Never in my life has some­one replied with a ‘please do.' That's re­fresh­ing.” I try to make a point to be kind to strangers—strangers have been kind to me many a time—and it made me happy to have made a mem­ory like that for some­one.

He set­tled in to the seat, we started chat­ting, and had a pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion for a while be­fore we both sank back into our de­vices and ear­buds to re­lax. There was a “warm and fuzzy” feel­ing in the air—so much bet­ter than that prickly feel­ing when you and your fel­low pas­sen­gers inevitably bump el­bows on the tiny seat rest be­tween the tiny seats. We didn't have any of that. The jour­ney was smooth and creamy, like av­o­cado.

You've prob­a­bly heard of the “Pareto Prin­ci­ple.” Also known as the 80/20 prin­ci­ple. The con­cept is that about 80% of one's ef­fec­tive­ness is de­rived from about 20% of one's ef­forts. I was think­ing about that in re­la­tion to guess what—av­o­ca­dos. I feel, and this is purely per­sonal opinion, that while they're usu­ally about 20% or less of the con­tent of a meal, they are eas­ily worth 80% of the de­li­cious. Bringing the thread back around to mind­ful and ac­tive kind­ness, I think it's fair to say that when do­ing a “rou­tine” help­ful deed, if you add a few words and a per­sonal touch, then that 20% of the ef­fort is eas­ily go­ing to end up as 80% of what the other per­son re­mem­bers about the ex­change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from International

© PressReader. All rights reserved.