By Susan Esther Barnes
In my daily life I try to practice what Carl Rogers calls holding people in "unconditional positive regard." In most situations this requires little effort on my part; it really just means giving myself a mental nudge in the right direction if I begin to think critically about someone. In some situations, or around certain people, it takes a good deal more conscious effort and energy on my part to maintain my positive regard.
When I kiss the mezuzah on the way out of my home in the morning (or when I encounter one elsewhere during the day), I try not to touch it automatically or without thought. Rather, I always try to do it with intention. For that moment, while my hand travels to the mezuzah, I think about how I want to be in the world, and my intention to treat everyone I meet that day with unconditional positive regard. As I bring my hand to my lips, I remind myself that it is my intention to strive toward being the very best that I can be.
Sometimes, at some point during the day I walk into what is a difficult situation for me. It may be that I'm working with someone whose personality hits my hot buttons, or I'm feeling stressed, or it's a situation in which people have differing but passionate views. In those situations, I try to focus on the intention I had when I touched the mezuzah that morning. Sometimes, I find in that place in time there is nothing but me, and the others in the room, and my positive regard for them. And what flows from that is always good. It is as if when I touched the mezuzah that morning I drew out a little extra bit of the will to do good from it, and when I touched my lips I placed that will and ability inside me. In those moments I know, for that day at least, that I have truly have kissed the mezuzah.