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Written by: Carolina Carrera Ascencio

Translated by: Lorena Martínez Lombard

Living as a human being in this beautiful planet is a privilege. It is an opportunity to experience consciously the gift of creating, giving life, loving and communicating, to name a few of our capacities. We can experience our individuality with freedom, and at the same time relate to one another. We can live in big cities in which each person is special and unique and has their own way of interpreting the universe. This opens a world of possibilities: we learn not only from our personal experience, but from others’ as well. This is why spending time with others help us learn and brings us satisfaction.

By natural instinct, we like to get together with friends and family. However, there are values that are indispensable in strengthening our relationships, in making them significant and long-lasting. To really get to know others, it is important to spend time with them, to observe, listen, and recognize their pure interior. We say this in yoga when we salute each other: “Namaste” (I bow before you, or I revere you). It is a way of showing respect towards the presence of whom is in front of you, an appreciation that helps construct a relationship. As the philosopher Seneca said: “Man is a sacred thing for man”. We teach children how to spend time with others by being courteous, affective, compassionate, grateful, and above all, to love by example. Children learn by watching and hearing us, by observing our gestures, and even through our silence we teach them to coexist in peace.

The way we relate to others during the day teaches our children an organized and urban way of coexisting. By doing so, they learn necessary limits for achieving higher satisfaction and creating habits that facilitate their living in society. Dialoguing and cooperating at home are indispensable for spending time with others – being patient and loving sets an example of reflection and hope.

“We were not born just for us”

Ciceron, roman philosopher

In this time of the year in which we reflect upon our actions and achievements, as well as begin to plan our goals for the new year, I consider it important to reflect upon this famous phrase: “We were not born just for us”. To think about the common good. It is important to make sure our thoughts, words and actions are convenient for the collective progress. It is also important to give ourselves instead of to give, this meaning we should first give ourselves the values we would like to give others, and from this emotional wellbeing, give others the virtue of sharing our time.

Guidelines for coexisting peacefully with others:

  • Establish which values are most important for you and your family; revise these together, read books that include these values, draw them out and practice them in a conscious way, integrating the results of your actions.
  • When someone commits an error in the relationship, talk about it openly, practicing the values of kindness and compassion. Remember we all commit errors and we all deserve another chance.
  • Practice being well-behaved during dinner, using cutlery and eating gracefully, waiting for our turn to speak and listening to others.
  • Maintain an organized, clean, and inviting space to spend time with others.
  • Talk about yourselves with respect and humility, share your feelings and what it is you don’t like.
  • Take into consideration other people’s vision, and try to understand their perspective. Be comprehensive towards their feelings and values, and avoid having prejudices.
  • Open the way for happiness, enjoy each moment by resigning supposed perfections or big expectations.
  • Be thankful for each instant and each person that has crossed your path, and be confident that everything is perfect because we become wiser each day.

Like the cook I am, I suggest we make sacred the time we spend sharing meals by avoiding distractions and centering our attention towards those around us. There is no better way of reuniting people and coexisting in peace and harmony, than with a beautiful table with food created by love.

Carolina Carrera Ascencio is from Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. She dedicates her time to her family and getting to know herself. She practices yoga, meditation, conscious cooking, teaches courses and writes. She loves desserts, mountains, and cats.