• Jill Hance 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, 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 devour 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've grown older I realize the necessity of gifts to self and their values. For me, gifts can arrive with a gorgeous morning sunrise or evening sunset, the smell of fresh mown hay, the lilacs that bloom in my garden, walking in nature, or curling up with a good book. When our lives get hectic, we often cancel out these richest gifts that pay big dividends.

What gifts can 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, relaxation, and joy. The joys often linger on into my day when I recall of the smell of my morning’s fresh brewed coffee or the lavender which scents my sheets.

Each of us is worthy to take time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. In fact, we need to do that very thing. It requires we set aside the oughts and shoulds: I should be doing this or I ought to be doing that. There should be no 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 to share with 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. And email me at jill@drjillbakke.com.

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