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Posts from the ‘Kindness’ Category

Peace Within

“I know, to banish anger altogether from one’s breast is a difficult task. It cannot be achieved through pure personal effort. It can be done only by God’s grace.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: ‘grace.’” – Max Lucado

This morning’s walk along the river in St. Paul was noticeably quieter than last week amidst the mourning, anger and destruction of parts of the Twin Cities in response to George Floyd’s death.

There were two people sculling in narrow boats on the river with ease and grace. It was beautiful, quiet and peaceful to witness. As I watched the fluid movement, I thought if only each of one of us had that peace, grace and ease within, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.

We didn’t get to what happened to George Floyd overnight. It’s been ingrained in organizations, systems, in bias, hatred and misunderstanding on all sides. It was the tipping point that screamed – ENOUGH! Any human who watched that 8+ minute video was and is sickened and saddened. How do we get to this point in humanity to be so numb, so callous, so hollow?

Before we cast judgment and damnation on organizations, all police officers and others “different” from us, may we each look within ourselves first. To rend our hearts and souls, so we foster love and peace that demands permanent and lasting change that transforms the world beyond anger, hopelessness and hatred.

When we anchor our future on love, justice, courage, peace and empathy, never again will we witness the horror of the past few weeks and decades. May history stop repeating itself and may we create a present and future where we listen, lift each other up and rise above the noise, creating a beautiful world that we have the capacity to create right now. No excuses.

This is my prayer, my hope and my resolve. We must do this together. The journey starts within.

“When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labeling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.” – Wayne Dyer

Setting and Rising

“You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.” – Maya Angelou

“Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.” – Maya Angelou

May we all be blessed enough to catch the virus of love. To never succumb to the darkness. To seize the light and ensure that we cast the light broad and deep to cultivate hope, joy and peace. That is the only worthy thing to cling to, to aspire to, to work for. Be kind. Change hearts, change the world.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou

 

Write Your History

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill

We are in the middle of writing our history right in this very moment. What’s your story, the plot, your narrative, your third act? What will you be remembered for?

Joy
Optimism
Faith
Generosity
Creativity
Imperfection
Empathy
Curiosity
Gratitude
Resilience
Hope
Imagination
Laughter
Silly
Innovative
Purposeful
Fun
Playful
Kind

Seems like a good list to aspire to no matter the circumstances. If choosing only one, choose kindness. Be Kind. Cast Light!

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

The Sun Within

“When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa

Plenty of ink has been spilled on the paper of the internet filled with predictions, fear and consternation on COVID-19. It is serious. I will keep up with the news on a limited basis, social distance and wash my hands to a thousand “happy birthday” songs.

However, I am consciously and rigorously choosing to not succumb to hopelessness and doomsday predictions. Each day has become more urgent, vibrant and precious. I will cling to faith, joy and gratitude of all the blessings that remain.

After a week of diligent preparation, dozens of meetings and technology testing, a 15 minute ride around the lake at sunset brings it all into clear view. A vivid reminder that we are still here and the brilliant magical sun remains. We are strong, resilient and will overcome.

So if you are looking for “harsh reality” predictions, worst-case scenarios, blame games or complex theories of how this will all play out, this will not be the place to visit. This will be a garden of encouragement, frivolity, awe, positivity and deep confidence in our resolve and capacity to be bigger, stronger and kinder than our current circumstances. Light resides in each of us ready to be cast out.

In the silence of these days, let the sun within light the way through to the other side which always arrives. We are all in this together and are in the middle of a world-wide lesson in empathy. Be gentle, offer a genuine smile and feel the warmth of the sun within you. Look up, see the light and find the way.

YOU Matter

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Ferdinand Foch

If you can be certain of one sure thing, let it be knowing that you matter. Despite what others say or do, you are here for a purpose and have your own special gifts to contribute.

In a world that has the attention span of a gnat, flittering from one empty promise to the next without regard, it is important for you to fully grasp that you matter.

Tune out the noise and enthusiastically dive into your life each day with abandon and joy. Do not be discarded. Be kind to yourself and others, with a side of gratitude. Get to work enjoying your life.

Gifts AND Fruit

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

We are all given gifts, but we often fall short on producing fruit. When we don’t fully engage and release our gifts, we don’t fully produce fruit and bloom. Recognize, be grateful and accept your gifts and start producing some fruit to nourish and light the world.

There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength, Knowledge, Fear of the Lord, Piety

There are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

Imagine if we align with the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit within us. A very worthwhile life. No small ball. Play it big, all out.

Gifts AND Fruit, a power combo.

In Our Depths

“The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.” – Sue Monk Kidd

Gratitude and grace remind of the gifts that are present and remain ever present especially in difficult times.

It’s a heavy season right now. Serious cancer diagnoses for friends, beautiful courageous young women. No words can adequately express the deep concern and care of many who just want to do something, anything to make it better.

We so often don’t have answers to what life deals us. It requires us to let go of our plans, to trust in the darkness, to exist in the unknowing. It’s not easy. But while we are here in this place, breathing, we must continue to get up and come out swinging. Hope and trust in the waiting.

And a simple reminder to all. We never fully know what someone is going through, so always error on the side of kindness, compassion, empathy and love, without condition. Be present and fully aware so you can be a gift that someone may desperately need. Go deeper, stay longer and never give up.

Seek the Good

“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” –  Anne Frank

While running tonight at our usual Wednesday spot at Como Lake, a boy stood fishing. I’ve never seen anyone catch a fish out of this city lake. Suddenly his pole bent and line pulled tight. You could see his excitement as he softly called for his Dad.

He had a big fish on the line and wasn’t sure what to do. Before his Dad came over, a stranger walked by and started to guide him. He told him that his fishing line would break if he tried to pull it up based on the size of the fish. He gently advised him to loosen the line and walk the fish on the line to the dock so he could land it.

“God's dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu

“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu

It was a joy to witness. The goodness of a stranger helping a young boy land a big fish, one he could talk about for a long time coming. He was guessing that it was probably an 8 pound Northern.

It was sweet. It was innocent. It was lovely.

If we believe what we see on the news and political ads (pick your side – both angry and mean-spirited) as the only thing that’s real, we miss what’s truly real and good. There is more good than evil. There are more wonderful people than jerks.

Seek the good and you will find it. Seek sweetness, innocence, and loveliness.  This is what we are meant to find despite the noise, chaos and distractions. Don’t fall for cynicism, anger and scarcity.

Abundance, generosity and joy. Choose these good things. Go fishing and land some light.

Guard Your Joy

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia

People, circumstances, worry, assumptions, judgments and our very own mindset steals our joy. Be on guard and acutely aware that joy is a choice and often not the easy one. Misery not only loves company, it longs for a crowd. And the complaining spirals into quicksand that sucks us in.

There’s plenty of justification for carrying a heavy load. But at the end of our life, our regrets will lie in not seizing our blessings, knowing those closest to us better and becoming our best self. So fill your mind with good thoughts and your heart with unreasonable love. Be kind and gentle, laugh more, let go, foster gratitude, grasp enthusiasm and silliness, forgive and by all means, guard your joy. It is truly the only thing worth holding tightly to.

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle

Loaf

“I lean and loaf at my ease… observing a spear of summer grass.”― Walt Whitman

May you find loafing and ease each day to –

Be grateful
Be joyful
Be silly
Be relaxed
Be settled
Be kind
Be empathetic
Be light
Be present

To just be. Let go of doing. Quiet both the outside and inside voices and listen to stillness for clarity. Observe where and what you are paying attention to. It is when we are in the vast wilderness that we return to discover who we are and always have been. Observe a spear of grass.

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