Lately, I have been overwhelmed (like many of you) by the violence, hatred, and destruction that have become the "norm" on the news. My answer? To find beauty everywhere. Last week, I was in Porto, Portugal. While traveling, I had an interaction that moved me greatly...in the most unlikely of places. I share it with you today, hoping you find similar inspiration in the ways we are all connected.
Porto is hilly and steep. I see a set of stairs--about 150--and decide to climb. I have been struggling with a big problem. This expenditure of energy will calm me.
As I climb, I breath deeply in and out. I am rising to a higher plane in the city. At the top of the stairs, I see a public bathroom. If you're like me, you're loathe to use them. But, when nature calls, it calls.
I walk inside. Four private stalls surround an open vestibule with a small sink. I enter one of the stalls and close the door. It's sparkling clean down to the grout. A candle flickers on a bathroom sink. On a window sill, a delicate plant flowers. Lionel Richie plays from a radio.
I stop in disbelief. This public bathroom has the ambiance of a 5-star restaurant!
I exit my stall. I see the cleaning woman, mopping the open area. Flowering plants sit atop every ledge.
I look for a tip jar. It's littered with 1 and 5 cent coins. I drop in a few dollars. The cleaning woman stops in disbelief.
"No, no, no," she says, "Too much."
"Your bathroom is beautiful. Please, you deserve it," I reply. It's only a few dollars, after all.
We begin to talk. She used to work at a nursery school. Her colleagues gossiped about her. This job--cleaning toilets--was her demotion. By shinining the porcelain clean, she brightened her own light. A determined spirit will rise no matter the circumstances.
"They no keep Annabella down," she proudly exclaimed. "They mad now because I love it. I love my bathroom."
I smile and am moved by her inner radiance. We hug one another. Two strangers--now friends--embrace in a public bathroom.
"My mother die," she said. "I miss her. She always make me feel good. Now, I have no one. No one says nice words. I die a little without nice words."
I understand her perfectly. We all die a little without compliments, gratitude and kindness.
I reply, "Sometimes, we need to be our own mother. We need to tell ourselves nice words." I point at my own heart.
"I take your money. I buy a notebook," she says. "People write nice words about my bathroom. Then, I read nice words every day."
Her solution is perfect.
Every day, we have the power to change someone's life for the better. Annabella certainly changed mine. She made me see--in stark clarity--that situations do not define us. Our will to improve and find meaning--even in the crappiest of circumstances-- is what allows the human heart to soar.
I started my business, School of Love NYC, as an antidote to the ugliness in the world. I knew I had a gift--to bring love and light to the world. Every day, I work with women and men who just need a push--and a bit of inspiration--to turn on their own inner light. When they do so, big change happens quickly. In the process of helping others, my own life gets better too.
Starting June 27, 2016, I will be teaching "4 Weeks to Your Best Love Life." Via recorded teleconference call, this class is accessible no matter where you are located in the world. Each participant will receive a 1-on-1 coaching call (a $349 value) where I shine light on the mental blocks that have kept them from reaching full potential. Past participants have said, "This is the best money I have ever spent. Monica changed my life in ways I could not have imagined."
I will not offer this class again in 2016. There are only a few spots left, so the time to act is NOW. If you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, give your gifts to the world with pure heart and intention. Humanity is yearning for a little kindness.