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The gift is in the present. Pumpkin offered as a gift in Autumn.

The Gift Is In The Present

I don’t know about you, but these days I often find myself fearful, negative, distracted and not present.

My fears range from COVID-19, my 86-year-old mother, our team members’ well-being, the health of our customers and guests, and their children. I have fears about the impact all of this is having on our local community here in Kingston and how it affects our families and each of our lives. When I’m fearful and negative, the real joy and magic of life is completely missing. I’m not present. In sharp contrast, I find myself thinking I’m truly living in the best time of my life. I’m beginning to discover that I have a choice. And that the gift is in the present.

Why we opened Shakti Salon

I remember when we created and opened Shakti Salon 30 years ago. It was truly one of the most exciting and creative times of my life, as well as the lives of our founding team members, Kellie, Margie, Amy and Stephen.

“I also remember it was a fearful time… everyone around us thought we were crazy for taking such an enormous business risk – investing everything we had in a new idea.”

– Lonny McLaughlin, Owner and Co-founder, Shakti Salon

But I also remember it was a fearful time. Our economy was in a major recession in the early 1990s and everyone around us thought we were crazy for taking such an enormous business risk – investing everything we had in a new idea:

A new kind of salon where everyone feels welcome, guests have a sense of being part of something special, being nurtured and cared for. And our staff and guests find Shakti a great place to work and do business with. We started with the idea that the “Magic of Shakti” was something that happened because we were all part of it. Each of us had the feeling of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. The gift was in the present.

Shakti Today

So here we are in our 30th year, in the midst of another recession. We’re also in the midst of the most difficult and challenging times in the history of the salon and beauty business. As of October 1st, 25% of salons have permanently closed across the country. These are scary times for any small business. But as I said before, I go back and forth between being fearful and discouraged to truly thinking I am living in the best time of my life. And then finding I have a choice. The choice I have is to look for and act on “What will make the biggest difference?”

The following list is what I find brings me joy, love and magic during these fearful “turbulent times.” I’m practicing these to discover how “The Gift is in the Present.”

Be kind and generous. If you eat out, leave a bigger tip than usual. Consider leaving a tip when you pick up a take out order. Don’t purchase more than you need when it comes to groceries and supplies. Or, if you do buy extra, drop them off at shelters, police stations, fire stations, or emergency rooms (be sure to call first to find out their COVID donation procedures).

Help people. From hungry kids that are missing school lunches to folks in demand-shifted jobs like restaurant workers and event custodians. There are people all over our community who are struggling. Ask yourself, “What will make the biggest difference?” and reach out. If no one specific comes to mind, give to your local United Way or food bank; the needs local organizations are addressing are fierce.

Remember the providers. Find a small (or large) way to say thank you to people who provide the services we need, like health professionals and first responders. Post words of encouragement on their social media channels or websites. When you go to the store, restaurant or doctor’s office, practice grace and understanding if they’re short on time, resources, or answers. Be present and be thankful for what they’re sacrificing for you and your family.

Support local businesses. Order takeout or buy gift cards. Send a Facebook message or email to remind them that you appreciate their business and look forward to visiting soon. Donate to non-profits whose work you care about.

Be a good neighbor. Check-in with others to make sure they have what they need. Let them know they have people around them who care. Personally, I’m especially aware of people that live alone or who have children who are far away. Use all the technology available to connect and create things together, even if it’s simply a “Zoom (or FaceTime) happy hour, a birthday party or just to hang out.

As the holidays are upon us, remembering that small things make a difference will truly make the difference for you and the people you care about.

Practicing The Gift Is In The Present.

What do you think about these practices? Can you take one of them on this week? I’d love to hear what you think about this list. And if you take one of these practices on, what difference did it make for you or others?

I look forward to seeing you in the salon soon.

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