- Stop to notice priceless gifts all around us. It leads to greater positivity, joy, and respect for our place in this world.
- Each day is a gift. Embrace it. Even though you may be struggling, life is still worth living.
- Reach out for help when you are struggling. We are stronger together. Reach in to others to offer support and make a difference through every opportunity for interaction.
- Chase your dreams. Take one small step every day.
- See the challenges for the month below!
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a GIFT. That is why it’s called the PRESENT.
– Master Oogway, Kungfu Panda
Gifts are all around us. They are waiting for us to discover like a diamond in the rough. The more I expand my horizons to not just see but truly embrace these intangible yet priceless things as gifts, the more I appreciate what is right in front of me. Thank you for joining me on this journey as we extend our view of the gifts that were always there…waiting.
Stop and notice…with intention.
What are things you can see as GIFTS that offer an opportunity for deep
Inspiration to live your life with greater meaning,
Foundational to our inner being, and something you can
Treasure once you find it, for the rest of your life?
In my first post for this Gift Better blog series last month, I wrote about the gift of words. (If you want to dive into a deeper conversation about this, join Martin Silverman and me on his podcast episode where we talk further about the gift of words.) Such priceless value in the words we intentionally choose for others and the ones we receive as gifts. In future months, I will dive into topics such as the gift of opportunity, the gift of connection, and the gift of believing in others.
The practice of seeing such things as gifts shifts my mindset so I am able to be more present, mindful, and aware of my daily surroundings. The result? Greater positivity, joy, and respect for my humble place in this world. My hope in sharing is that you will discover and embrace the same.
Do you ever go through times in your life when you are not feeling quite like yourself? A couple of weeks ago, I felt this way. Gratefully, this is not common but it definitely made me hyperaware of how I was feeling. I couldn’t pinpoint any one event but a number of accumulated things weighed on my heart and mind.
All throughout the year, my class has been very cohesive, kind and empathetic, and inclusive. But last week, there were a number of incidents that really challenged our caring community which sat heavily on my heart. You see, I am a person that values harmony. I feel much happier when people in my life get along. And it affects me deeply when people don’t.
Life Can Be a Struggle
Last Tuesday, I woke up with feelings of unease and a bit of anxiety. On my drive to work, I listened to a voice message, thinking it was my sweet mom because I thought I saw her name. It wasn’t her. To my shock and utter disbelief, it was a man from Arizona who accidentally left a message. He expressed his love for his brother and informed him that he was really struggling. He wasn’t sure how much more he can handle life and intimated he will harm himself so he was reaching out to say I love and appreciate you.
I cried all the way to work. Good thing my commute is only a four minute drive. As I entered the school, barely holding it together coupled with how I was already feeling from the past couple of weeks, I went straight into my principal’s office thankful to have someone to lean on. As I am writing this, I feel emotional all over again even though it turned out to be a favorable outcome.
Every interaction is an OPPORTUNITY. I know not everyone believes this, but I believe things happen for a reason. I spoke from my heart and left a message for the caller. The Phoenix Police Department informed me that they got a hold of him a day later and he was still alive. A great sense of relief instantly came over me. This was the spark that I needed to return to feeling my usual self. I have no idea if he listened to my message or whether it made any difference but I did what I could to support a stranger in need.
A Reminder That Each Day Is a Gift
I shared these stories because they reminded me that each day is a gift. Even though we may be going through struggles, life is so worth living especially when we choose to see the day as a precious gift that is valued deeply.
Embrace all of the joys a day has to bring. It’s right there…waiting for you to notice, see, accept, and receive with gratitude. We can control how our day unfolds starting with how we choose to think and live as our authentic selves and how we interact with those around us.
Each day is a new day—a gift for you to notice and receive with graciousness. It starts from within.
So when we are struggling, it is so important to reach out to other people to seek help. It is through our connections that we are stronger together. I cannot imagine how I could have dealt with these situations without sharing with others. We do not have to go through life or any part of life alone. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you can get support. If you find yourself in a place where you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone you know, then there are helplines that offer anonymity.
Each day is a gift for us to make a difference in the lives of those we touch. In every interaction, it is truly an opportunity. Choose to see it as an opportunity. When somebody says how are you and they respond, “I’m fine,” ask for more. That was an opportunity to find out how they are really doing and uplift them. Please allow me to encourage you to make the most of every day. It is a gift for you to spread your love, passion, purpose, and sunshine in others’ worlds.
Start embracing. The day has been given to you as a gift. Take it. Treasure it. The day is yours to make an impact.
We’ve been encouraged by people like Eckhart Tolle to be fully present and to embrace the power of now. We have 24 hours in a day. What we do between the 12 o’clocks counts. I found that becoming more aware and practicing mindfulness helped me to see each day as a gift.
Mindful practice: Last month, I guided you through mindful practice to fully absorb intentionally chosen words as a gift of words from others. Today and every day, find at least one moment where you stop, perhaps close your eyes, and be still. As you breathe deeply, take in how your day was a gift given to you. Feel gratitude. Then breathe and deepen that gratitude even more. Reflect on the positive things that a new day offers—love, connection, opportunities, and so much more.
Each Day Is a Gift: Chase Your Dreams
What is your purpose or passion? What is your WHY? Align your day to it.
What are your dreams, hopes, and wishes? Take small steps every day to make it happen. One step every day leads to 365 steps in a year!
Is what you’re doing serving you and those in your care or loved ones? If not, change it. Reflect and make it better.[scroll down to keep reading]
Gift Better Challenge
Each day is a gift—a present. When I began to view more things as gifts, it changed me for the better. There are days I struggle too. The “each day is a gift” is not a mindset I can uphold every second of every day but I am able to be more aware every day. This led me to greater overall happiness, positivity, and gratefulness in my heart.
Next month, I am excited to share the gift of gratitude. Until then, here are some ideas for this month’s challenge. Begin to see each day as a gift. Pick one or pick all:
- Build this daily habit: Wake up and before you think of all the things you need to accomplish today in the first minute of being awake, think, “Wow, I have been given the gift of a new day! I have been blessed to go and make a difference in people’s lives today! I feel grateful.” Create your own challenge to try it for ___ days or weeks. Then make a commitment to reach out to the first three people you thought of. They were placed on your mind for a reason.
- Make a difference in one person’s life every day.
- Make one small step toward your dreams to embrace each day.
Seize the day! Life is too short. Make the most of it! We’ve all heard these sayings from time to time. They’re great reminders but the reality is that it’s hard to live by every single day, especially with how very busy we are. But, we can aim to remember these messages more often by seeing each day as a gift.
I’d love to learn what resonated with you. I would love to connect. Please feel free to fill out this form so we can!
With a heart full of gratitude, Livia
ABOUT LIVIA CHAN
Livia Chan is an educator passionate about community, teaching, leading, and lifelong learning. She truly believes in the power of connection and thoroughly enjoys building relationships by reaching out with kindness and gratitude. Livia lives by the belief that it is through every interaction that we have the opportunity to appreciate and uplift others to help make their day a brighter one. Her other passions include family, friends, and ringette, which she is heavily involved in as a volunteer coach, Executive member, referee, and player.
For over 20 years, Livia has continued to experience the joy of teaching in the Greater Vancouver area in BC, Canada and loves her role as a Head Teacher and classroom teacher. She previously served on the District Staff Development Team in Learning Technologies supporting K-12 educators. Currently, Livia is honored to be the Digital Content Editor and Ambassador for the Teach Better Team and loves being a part of this family! Her motto is “Working together to better ourselves, each other, and the world around us.”