11/17/2011 03:37 pm ET | Updated Jan 17, 2012

The Tao of Houseguesting

Last night I made my third giant vat of The Sauce in two weeks. The Sauce is a meaty, tomatoey, garlicesque situation that's been handed down from a long line of mustachioed Sincero women to my dear old Dad, who brought it from the old country to the suburbs of New York to me.

My friends want me to bottle it, ex-boyfriends have confessed losing regular access to it as being the most negative aspect of breaking up with me, and today I find my own appreciation of The Sauce reaching new heights due to the fact that it's saving my ass on a regular basis.

Even though the thought of eating it again makes me rather ill.

Thanks to the fact that 7 months ago I gave my address the heave-ho and have settled into a life of travel, I've been staying in hotels, at retreat centers, vacation rentals, with family members and, more often than not, in the guest rooms of friends all over the world.

As a professional houseguest, I cook, clean, do the laundry, run errands, wash dogs, kill spiders -- whatever I can to help out. Somewhere around day 10, when my welcome is showing the first signs of wearing thin, I shift into overdrive and break out The Sauce, ensuring at least another week of accommodations.

As I was chopping onions last night, after emptying the dish washer and picking the kids up from school, it occurred to me:

I do all this because I love my friends, I'm so grateful for their hospitality, I want to help make their lives better and, of course, I want them to help make my life better too.

Which, when you think about it, would be a lovely way to go about life.

I mean, you don't have to be everyone's scullery maid, but what if we all went out of our ways to make life better/easier/saucier for our fellow humans all the time? On a really grand scale?

If we treated everyone around us with real respect?

If we stopped, looked around, and noticed where we could help? All the time?

If we understood that by lifting up our fellow man and woman, we lift ourselves up too?

When you're staying with someone and their cat pisses on your suitcase, you get upset, but you get over it quickly. Because you have to.

When you're staying with someone, you're more considerate about making noise, cleaning up after yourself, listening to what they say, paying attention to their needs and rising to the occasion even if you're feeling crabby, because you have to.

All of which benefits you too.

Treat everyone on Earth like you're staying in their home.

Because you are.