We’ve all heard this before. One of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s most beloved axioms, this quote serves as a beautiful reminder to infuse all that we do– even the smallest, most mundane tasks– with love. When we act from self-centered or ambitious motives, our professional and societal achievements– no matter how great– are worthless. It is love alone that transforms and uplifts our actions, and there is no value in whatever is done without it.
This sounds simple enough in principle, but what does it actually look like applied to the regular happenings of our lives? How do we sweep the kitchen with love, shop for groceries with love, or sit in traffic with love? Our chores and routines can seem rather mundane, and it’s often natural to complete them on autopilot without thinking of what we’re doing at all.
Just imagine, though, if we were to do each task with mindfulness and a heart of service. Rather than scrolling through Instagram while waiting in line at the checkout, for instance, what if we engaged with the people around us? What if we turned off the background noise in our lives (TV, radio, phone notifications, etc.) and just immersed ourselves in whatever task we find at hand– whether that be listening to a friend talk about her recent breakup, giving directions to a stranger, or even just answering an email. If we would seek to be more intentional throughout our days, our lives (and those of the people around us) would be transformed.
You see, the habits we form through how we think, speak and act from moment to moment become the ultimate building blocks that shape and mold our characters. Small changes add up to big ones, and it’s these that we’ll be known for. I’m willing to bet that most of us don’t remember St. Teresa for winning a Nobel Peace Prize or for speaking in front of several world leaders. We remember her instead for the selfless and generous love she gave in all that she did. Even in the harsh conditions in which she lived, she was not boastful, irritable or resentful.
We remember people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela for similar reasons. Their lives are a testament to the fact that whatever legacy we wish to leave, starts with love. Love matters even in the smallest actions. It matters when we take the time to learn the name of the cashier at Whole Foods, or seek to understand someone we disagree with, or be patient when things don’t go as planned.
Though these seem insignificant, such actions can have an impact far greater than ourselves when done with love and intention, and whenever we open our hearts to act out of love, we change both ourselves and the world for the better.
So, no matter what trials or adventures our day holds for us, let us rejoice in the opportunities we’re presented with to practice love in each moment.
How can you infuse love into your day today?