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Even the darkest doom and the deepest gloom sooner or later evaporate. In my last blog I was hurtling towards oblivion, but today’s a new day filled with bright sunshine. I shovel snow from my driveway and inhale the crisp air. Ah, to be alive!

What happened? Yesterday as I wrapped up a big job, a client presented me with two bottles of lovely wine. Now don’t get me wrong—I enjoy a fine wine, but that’s not the point. It was her simple appreciation. After handing over a hefty cheque—which most people do with demonstrable reluctance—she pulled the bag from behind her back, lit up her eyes and she said, “These are my favourites; I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.”

Being appreciated blows the dark clouds from your mind. We should all experience it—and pass it around. It doesn’t have to be wine. The same feeling comes from simply being heard. What counts is that people see and accept you as a human being. It doesn’t just make life more pleasant, it lightens up the mind, and that‘s a gift to us all.

Mindful reflection’s great; and profound, paradoxical, elegant Buddhism is worth a lifetime of study and practice—but none of this replaces human kindness. Without it, as all my teachers endlessly repeated, even years of intense concentration and insight will come to nothing. Now I  see why.

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