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Posts from the ‘Kindness’ Category

Kindness Spreader

“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.” – Humphry Davy

May you carry kindness, spreading it frivolously everywhere.
Without account or delay.
May you know kindness.
Without measure or limit.
May you empty your kindness bucket daily, filled in the process.
Without prompting or hesitation.
Rooted, budding, blooming, fragrant and beautiful.
From roots to shoots.
Like a shadow or friend.
A super-spreader that heals, binds, connects.

KINDNESS

By Naomi Shihab Nye

“Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”

Show More, Tell Less

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Go change the world.
Through kindness, generosity, optimism, awe, hope, joy, love, laughter, delight, song, dance.
Feed the flame.
Let the noise and clanging of opinion, assumption, armchair quarterbacking, criticism float by, dissipating from lack of oxygen.
Actions over empty words.
Give. Receive. Give again.
Go change the world.

“Kindness is more than a virtue. It is a source of strength.” – Vivek Murthy

Plant Kindness, Harvest Love

“May my soul bloom in love for all existence.” – Rudolf Steiner

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

Learn a second language.
Use it daily.
Kindness.
Master it through practice.
Become proficient.
From me to we.
Plant it wherever you go without reserve or account.
Cast light daily and it shines back on you.
Circular, encompassing, full bloom.

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” – Matthew 25:35

The Other

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

May you see yourself in the other.
Change me to we.
And be kind to both.

“If our love of God does not directly influence, and even change, how we engage in the issues of our time on this earth, I wonder what good religion is.” – Richard Rohr

Plant Kindness

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

Everyday, each of us has the opportunity to add or subtract, to divide or multiply.
Extend a hand or race by aloof.
To plant kindness, sow love, be present.
It is especially needed in this time we are living in now.
Coming up on two years of a flipping pandemic, ongoing uncertainty and politicization of a crisis.
It’s difficult and heavy.
And right in the middle of this reality lies resilience, beauty, joy and light.
Tenants in the same building.
Optimism isn’t denial.
It’s fuel, hope and a lifeline.
Vulnerability isn’t weakness.
It’s honest, authentic and healing.
Assuring us that we are not alone.
Extend empathy and compassion, listen without judgment.
Be kind to yourself and show that same grace to others.
Fragile times.
Push to the other side, knowing there’s another side.
Brave souls keep swinging, getting up again and again.
Carry on brave ones. Together.

“Blessed, are you brave one. You, who perform big, courageous acts of service, the firefighters and police officers and military and activists and doctors and nurses and paramedics. You, who move toward fear and danger for the rest of us to feel a little more safe. Blessed, are you brave one. You, who do small acts of great love. The memory keepers who remember for those who can’t and the parents belong to keep our kids small and safe. Or you who teach for far less than your worth. Or pastor, even when the cranky member complains about the music again. You who hold people’s hand all the way to the edge and give handkerchiefs to people who need them. Your great love moves you closer toward people’s great need. Blessed, are you brave one. You who are grieving, even if you feel like you are doing it all wrong, you who have received the bad news, you who are sitting in the shards of a life that has come undone in your fear and your shaky hope. Brave looks like that, too sometimes. You who live still, brave and scared at the same time.” – Kate Bowler

“Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.” – Ron Hall

Saint You

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil

As my mom and I finished dinner last night, I asked the waiter for the check. He came back and said that a woman at the end of the restaurant picked up the tab. On our way out, we stopped to thank her for her kindness and generosity. We exchanged names and hugs of gratitude. Unexpected grace and light.

While we don’t need the money, the gesture of generosity to strangers was the lesson. Each of us has an opportunity daily to positively impact the world through our thoughts, words and deeds. My opportunity is to accept the kindness and to pay it forward to keep it going.

A saint is defined as a “very good, kind, generous and caring person.” While few are canonized a saint, we can act like one by showing the world through simple acts of kindness. Giving and receiving, sowing and reaping.

“Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” – Saint Ignatius

The Fruit of Kindness

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.” – Khalil Gibran

We hold back forgiveness and cling to offense. “You don’t know what they did to me.” We carry resentment and regret for years, justified. We repeat “let it go” and tighten our grip at the same time. Comfortable in the familiar, in our rightness, in our ways. Assumptions, opinions, offense, judgment, fear, anger consume joy, happiness, contentment, peace, awe and wonder.

You are a prisoner with the key. Unlock the door.

Be selfish. Do yourself the biggest favor that you can. Life-changing. Forgive and be kind.

Lay it down. Move on and do not look back. Be transformed by shifting your thoughts, words and actions. All within reach. Enter the transformation. Reap the fruit of kindness to yourself and others.

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino

In Kindness Rather than In Kind

“Every day brings new choices.” – Martha Beck

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil

I have had many conversations in my head with others, things I want to say to “set the record straight,” to “put them in their place,” to “lay it on the line.” Fortunately, I’ve kept most of those where they belong – unsaid. When they’ve escaped and actually came out, regret usually followed. At times, it is appropriate to not be a doormat as well and to speak our own voice.

Our choice is between reacting “in kind” – returning what’s given to us, especially the negativity and criticism or responding “in kindness” – by not returning the same so we don’t turn into that which we want to avoid. Complaint, negativity and criticism are rampant and only create a downward spiral. Gratitude, optimism and hope offer an alternative and multiplies rather than substracts, a whirlwind upward, a deep well to draw from.

So little of what people serve us in negativity, complaint and consternation has anything to do with us. When we take it personally, we allow them to steal our joy. That person who cut you off, the coworker who has a bad attitude and shares it every time you interact with her/him so you do everything to avoid her/him, the family member or friend who triggers that 10 year old in you are all carrying their own burdens and struggles. When we understand this, we have arrived at empathy and understanding and can move out from that place rather than the “what about me?” hole.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements are simple rules and principles to follow that can help us respond “in kindness” rather than “in kind,” freeing us from the power and winds of external forces that we allow to permeate our internal state of joy and peace:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

As Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We can choose to respond with empathy, understanding, positivity and optimism to combat negativity and model a different path that creates contentment and joy, which is in short supply right now.

Choose mindfully and with forethought the energy that you put out into the world. You can be that thread of hope, that beam of light, that source of joy that someone desperately needs from you now.

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Stephen Grellet

Mirrors and Souls

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw

Look into the mirror first before pointing it at others. Deep into your own eyes, beyond the surface of being judge, prosecutor and jury, to your very soul, with kindness and understanding. Quiet the critic and advice-giver to gently examine and fully observe your whole life, blessings and burdens, progress and detours, full inventory. Gratitude over griping.

Criticism has never grown a flower. Light, dark, nature, nurture, water, patience and time are the ingredients for full bloom.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle

When you have gone beyond the surface of the mirror through the door of your eyes to your soul, you are prepared to hold up a mirror for, not at, others to show them their own soul and light within. That is the purpose and the gift of the mirror.

Self-awareness, self-acceptance and love are the roots of empathy, healing and purpose. This individual lifetime journey will transform the world as we each discover our interconnectedness, the “we” beyond the “me,” the “us” and not the “other,” our similarities and the beauty in our differences.

Mirror and soul work – light the candle, be the mirror.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

10

“To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” – Confucius

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

News Flash – the entire world is in the midst of a pandemic right now, civil unrest and an election filled joy and delight. Uncertainty continues. Work from home. School from home. Fear. Anxiety. Unknown.

I can hear the tone and angst in emails, in conversations, on zoom calls. I’ve done my share of contributing in a similar fashion at times. I try to stop myself in my tracks to not become what I attest. In the past three days, I’ve gotten sharp angry emails, assuming the worst intentions rather than simple human error.

So here’s your Mr. Rogers lesson for adults since many are acting like children who have skipped lunch and can’t play with your toys. Count to 10 before you send an email or assume you’re the only person going through a difficult time right now. Mr. Rogers would also advise children to look for the helpers. Why not try to be a helper?

Be kind. Be patient. Empathy works, try it. Learn to breath, assume the best and count to 10. Reflect and think before you speak or send an email.

Tip of the week: Download the Insight Timer meditation app. I’ve been listening in the morning and evening the past two weeks and am finding a deep peace with a few hiccups during 10 hours of daily work filled with delightful emails. Meditate in the morning and evening to reflect on you, not others. We all, all of us, can do and act better.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Breathe.

Cast some light. Please. Let’s help each other carry the load and find joy right now when we need it the most.

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” – William Wordsworth

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