• Dr. Jill Bakke

The Richest Gifts

It is not unusual for writers to have notebooks full of descriptions, catchy words and phrases, and quotations. So, when I held Living in Love, a book by Alexandra Stoddard, in my hands, I naturally started to leaf through it reading the quotations on the sides of its pages.

This quote by Henry David Thoreau caught my attention:

“The richest gifts we can bestow are the least marketable.”

– Henry David Thoreau

What were some of the richest gifts I receive and offer to others, I mused. Several thoughts immediately came to mind as I sat there drinking my morning coffee and watching the birds devouring the peanuts I had placed on the deck for them. But the one I want to share with you is the gift I had given myself with the offering to the birds. I couldn’t market this, but for me it paid big dividends in the creation of a rich, calm pleasure-filled way to start the day.

As I have grown older I realize the necessity of gifts to self and their values. For me, it can be a gorgeous morning sunrise or evening sunset, the smell of fresh mown hay in the field or the lilacs that bloom in my garden, taking the time to walk in nature, or curling up with a good book. When our life gets hectic we often cancel these richest gifts that pay big dividends.

What are the gifts you give yourself that bring the biggest dividends? Those dividends won’t be in cash but in things such as calmness, less stress, peace, pleasure, good health and joy. Each of us is worth the time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. In fact, we need to do that very thing.

We need to set aside the oughts and shoulds: I should be doing this or I ought to be doing that. There should not be guilt over stealing an hour or two from the 24 hours each day provides to take care of ourselves. No one else can do this for us. Self-care is crucial to our ability to take care of others.

I would love to have you email me and offer others a taste of the gifts that you find valuable to offer self, and with your permission I would like to post them. Just indicate how you want them labeled, i.e. a short name, anonymous or something else. Email them to me at jill@drjillbakke.com or leave a comment below.

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