Pick an object. Any object that is familiar. Hold it in your hand and look at it. Then tell someone what it means to you. Tell a group of people what it means to you. Keep it on your desk at work. Carry it in your pocket when not at work.
Give to this one object all the tenderness that your heart can feel toward the precious things in life. Try to understand your relationship to this object in the most personal terms - how you would have felt about it in times past, how you feel about it now, what the future might bring.
This adult 'Show and Tell' helps us to relate to the small, seemingly insignificant things in life that we take for granted - that we are not in relationship with. It helps bring more life to our life.
We are uniquely individual in our perception of life, astonishingly creative in the inner ways in which we relate to that which we love. And while the need for love, and the desire for love, both for other people and for the daily environment in which we live is important to us all, the inner language of love and tenderness carries all the shades of individual coloring that we can see and know, and even more.
To feel a full measure of tenderness toward one thing is to allow it to begin to flow toward all things. To feel tenderness toward one small, seemingly insignificant object is to begin to take nothing for granted - to claim our space in life, to define our reason for being here, to give our presence a voice and a feeling.
'Show and Tell' for adults is about relationship, and it is about experiencing tenderness in life. It observes life at the level of detail within the microcosm of each thing, and asks us to embrace even the ordinary things that we encounter during the day with a fullness of heart.
Here is a table that I sit at daily to eat my morning meal. Here is a shoe or slipper that I put on when I come home from work. Here is the remote control for the TV that I hold in my palm as I look for a satisfying way to soothe a tired mind. Here is a flower that my son or daughter gave to me for no reason at all...
We need to speak to others of the small and tender things in life to reveal our hearts. We need to make visible this heart that beats inside, not only for our own sake since it allows us to breathe more freely, but also for the sake of others so that we meet them in the deepest possible way. Tenderness about the small, insignificant details of life unfolds our hearts. It focuses our attention on the present. It activates a sense of gratitude that can become part of our daily life in the same way that walking, or eating, or thinking becomes part of our daily life. Tenderness can become the backdrop for doing all things.
When we share the meaningfulness of the small things with others, we invite them to reach for the tenderness within themselves - to see what objects, details, or experiences they may have bypassed because they seemed too small to notice.
'Show and Tell' - a spiritual practice for revealing the heart, enables us to become like little children, appreciating the beauty and wonder in small things, able to embrace each day with a heart of innocence.