Healthy Beginnings

Embrace gratitude to help heal our planet

Don’t succumb to road rage if you’re having a bad day — instead, turn to gratitude. Photo: Shutterstock

While we go about our way in 2019 following our New Year’s Resolutions — hitting the gym more, watching our carb intake, spending more time with our families or whatever you are making a priority — let’s make a priority to make a difference in our lives and those around us.

Let’s become more compassionate, more understanding, less judgmental and more thoughtful those around us, as well as ourselves.

It is a very powerful and trying (stressful) time we are living, and maybe we can change the course of another’s day by just giving a smile to someone as we pass or a little wave to a stranger as we drive by him or her on the road.

Be helpful to one another instead of always trying to get ahead of them. Make room for other cars on the freeway — that one second it takes won’t make you late for anything, but it just might make their day. While we have all been cut off driving, how many of us just wave and smile and let the other person be.

Maybe they really didn’t see you, or maybe they were just having a bad day. Why make it worse? I try to think of the other drivers on the road as maybe my aunt, or sister or favorite cousin who I love, and send a little love their way.

And remember when you are stuck in traffic, that all the other drivers are doing the best to get there as soon as and as safely as we all can. So, take a deep breath and bless all the drivers and know that you all will get where you are going at the right and perfect time.

Standing in line at the store need not be a chore. Smile to the others in line, strike up a conversation and before you know it, you are heading to your car and home. It is amazing how nice people are when brought together in lines.

And if you know you will be caught at the DMV or other governmental agency and must wait a long time, just think how much easier it is to bring a book or send messages or finally get caught up on your phone and be relaxed and pleasant to the person who eventually helps you at the end of that wait.

Become a force to heal our planet. There was this delightful man who used to live in Reno, and everyone called him “Ed the Waver.” He was Reno’s most well-known ambassador for years, bringing smiles to the faces of thousands of people by simply waving his hand.

Ed Carlson was a smiling free spirit who became known as “The Waver” for waving at motorists while on foot, from the 1970s up to 2007. The Burlington, Iowa, native used to wave to folks in Reno and then hitch a ride 25 miles to the south to Carson City, where he waved before hitching back to Reno.

I had the good fortune to meet this remarkable man and spent an afternoon talking with him. He was so positive and happy. He said that seeing the smiles on the faces of people he waved to made him ever-so happy.

Wow, who would think that waving at someone could bring joy to you. But I have been experimenting with that lately on the road, and some folks are surprised and others are pleased and smile and wave back. It just gives you a nice warm feeling.

When we first moved out to the country, we used to have to travel a dirt road that has since been paved. Everyone traveled slowly, and everyone waved to everyone. It was nice, and even if you didn’t know them, you felt a connection.

Now with cellphones and fast roads and such, we have very little connection with our fellow travelers on this planet. But what if we all started waving and caring just a little more about one another, could we make a difference? Could we throw that pebble in the pond and make a ripple that goes out around the country and the world?

I say, “let’s do it.” Make a difference, and each and every one of us can become a force to heal our planet.

Elaine Brooks is owner of The Herb Lady, located in Sparks. Visit or call 775-356-1499 to learn more.