“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”― Mark Twain
“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
Two days of snow is making for good sledding and fort building conditions. On a walk with the girls last night with the snow softly falling, a boy was climbing his new snow hill in his front yard to slide. Up and down and back again. As we passed by, he stopped at the top, looked at me and asked “are you having a good day?” I said I yes and it looked like he was having a good one too. He made a good day even better.
A simple question from a boy to check on another. Pretty profound. A sense of other, of interest, of kindness. Are you having a good day? Get out of your own head and take interest in others. Connect, ask and wait for the answer. And certainly do not forget to do something fun with the piles of snow or sand, depending where you live. Divide the joy, get the full value.
Are you going to make it a good day so you can answer “Yes!” to the question? Extend a kindness to another to double the joy.
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“When angels speak of love they tell us it is only by loving that we enter an earthly paradise. They tell us paradise is our home and love our true destiny.”― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
“Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.”― Nick Offerman, Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers
We are on this journey together.
Love is the instruction manual, the map, the destination.
Give and receive.
Self and other.
Be light and love.
“Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be… a prudent insurance policy.”― Elizabeth Gilbert
“Divine reality is not way up in the sky somewhere; it is readily available in the encounters of everyday life, which make hash of my illusions that I can control the ways God comes to me.” – Barbara Brown Taylor
“Every human interaction offers you the chance to make things better or to make things worse.”— Barbara Brown Taylor
In each interaction today with friend, foe or stranger, make things better.
Put aside judgment, quick conclusions, being “right” about everything.
Open to the possibility, abundance and light that is borne of love.
Spring yourself and others from the prison of your limited thoughts and unforgiving ways.
Freedom to be human and allow others to be as well.
Our best selves to heal, bind, unite.
Kindness, generosity, love.
Unwarranted, unearned, undeserved.
No strings attached.
Hard necessary work.
“The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self – to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.”— Barbara Brown Taylor
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
On this day of “2”s – second month, second day, twenty second year – may we be prompted to move out of self into other. To the collective, to us. Expand, seek, reach out, connect with others. Partake on this shared journey, knowing that we are not alone, present for others, listening, walking along side in companionship.
When we cast light, the light shines back on us twofold. Compounding, multiplying, exponential. Go out of self and see other people. Tell them you see them with a smile, a hello, an invitation to go ahead in line, an embrace, a prayer for their well-being.
Kindness, concern, empathy, laughter, joy, understanding open our hearts, expose our souls, extend our hands to a wide world that needs our attention and love, one person at a time.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa
“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.
“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.”
“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
“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.
Master it through practice.
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
“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.
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
“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