One of the aspects of taking classes with amazing teachers is the little nuggets they share during class that just manage to hit home.

Sometimes it’s the intention-setting talk at the beginning of class or a poem read to seal the practice. But, other times, and seemingly even more often, it’s something the teacher says off the cuff in the middle of class, not really knowing that one little comment is going to have a profound impact and stick with someone, be shared with others, or serve as a light bulb that sparks additional thoughts and epiphanies for days or even weeks and years to come.

That line for me this week was by Marc Holzman on YogaGlo. It was a class about action. This was the third in a series of classes he did a few years ago about focusing on the three A’s of Anusara. Attitude, Alignment, Action.

I’ll paraphrase (mostly because I can’t remember exactly what he said and I’d hate to totally butcher his powerful message).

Basically, he said…

Thoughts and intentions without action might as well have never existed. 

It’s a theory I’ve thought about many times but have never really expressed quite as eloquently as Marc did, and, admittedly, I have never been very good at putting into practice — which is the bigger problem.

Call it a lack of self importance or some other feeling of intimidation, but for as long as I can  remember, I always had really good intentions and would think about friends or loved ones often, but then I turned into the kid who just wouldn’t go to a birthday party, or play after school, or send a birthday card… always just thinking I wasn’t that important and that it wouldn’t mean much if the gesture in my head never happened.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I realized how those little things DO matter. And they matter just as much whether you’re talking about someone you’ve known for years, or someone you saw in Starbucks or in yoga class.

And, here’s the really important part … those thoughts in your head… I know this may come as a surprise, but people can’t read your mind. Unless you actually open your mouth and utter the words – in other words, TAKE ACTION, they have no idea what you’re thinking! I know! Shock! Right?? You might as well have never had those complimentary thoughts, because they’re living just in your head and not having the positive impact they could be having on someone else.

Think about it in the reverse. Think about the last time someone gave you a compliment that really made you feel good. It could be someone at work,  a friend, a significant other, or someone you just saw while you were out one day who complimented your shoes. Think about how that made you feel. Probably pretty good. It may have even turned your whole day around. Now imagine if that person just kept those thoughts in his or her head. There’s a chance your day might have gone in a totally different direction.

There’s a reason people say pay it forward, and there’s a reason Marc Holzman talked about action. Action matters – and action matters most when it has a positive impact on another human being.

So, I encourage you, next time you think about someone in a positive way, let them know. Give them a compliment. Send them a card. Drop them an email. Let them know they’re on your mind, and, I promise, you will do something positive for their mind.

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