Kindness in a Time of Upheaval

Kindness in a Time of Upheaval

“We rise by lifting others”–Robert Ingersoll

It is sometimes hard–surprisingly hard–to be kind when the world around us seems to be in turmoil. At this time in our country, we are experiencing a lot of change and also a lot of threat of change. It is may seen to be more difficult to find a path to keep ourselves on a kindness path. In fact it may seem to be a real struggle.

“No act of kindness is ever wasted”–Aesop

I have received many acts of kindness over the past several weeks and these have helped me to keep my head above the turbulent waters that surround us. In each of these acts of kindness there has been one overriding theme. “I care about you.” And, that my dears, has made the difference in helping me to keep from spinning into the darkness of despair in spite of the deep grief and turmoil of these past few months.

“One kind word can change someone’s day.”–unknown author

My call to you today, kind people of the world, is to utter at least one kind word of encouragement to at least one person. You may change their day in profound ways that you may never know. We never know how deep another person’s sorrow or sadness is but we do know what we can do to help. Kind words will create kindness in every person we meet. Those little words of kindness will change the world.

Your Last Chance!

Your Last Chance!

“In case you never get a second chance: don’t be afraid!”
“And what if you do get a second chance?”
“You take it!”
― C. JoyBell C.

Today in my email this subject appeared: “This is your last chance!” Now, I know and you do too, that it is NOT my last chance to spend money with any company. The particular company sends me a similar email DAILY for a week or two about every three or four months. So, I know and you know this is NOT my last chance with that company.

I don’t particularly believe there is a way to know for sure what our last chance is. Sometimes we are in a situation that it is very clear: this is our last chance but usually we don’t know for sure. In the example above, it doesn’t matter because I am not going to spend money with that company regardless of how many chances and offers and last efforts they use to entice me. Sometimes, however, it does matter and we did not know that this was truly our last chance.

When I was a little girl, heading off to school one day, I didn’t know it was my last chance to hug my dog Queenie. I came home from school to learn she had gotten out of the yard and been run over by a car. When I was 12 years old my grandmother died. I didn’t know that when I hugged her a few months earlier I would never see her again.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”
― William ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet

In these two examples of unknown last chances, although I grieved I did not carry a burden with me because our last moments together were ones of love and kindness. When I hear about someone who had argued or been estranged from someone they love at their last meeting before death took their loved one away, I feel great sadness.

The lesson for me has always been, even when you don’t agree, even when you are angry as hell, even when you are up to the teeth with rage, part with love and kindness. Following the words of the Bard, I prefer to live my life parting with sweet sorrow, with kindness if you will so that when we meet again–if we are lucky enough to do so–we can embrace with love even if we embrace without unity.

Pay attention to partings. Pay attention to love. Pay attention to kindness. It might be your last chance.

Three Questions To Create The Magic Of Kindness

Three Questions To Create The Magic Of Kindness

 

“Tenderness and kindness
are not signs of weakness and despair,
but manifestations of strength and resolution.”
― Kahlil Gibran

We have often heard questions like: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? There is a lot of power in that question, yet I found myself second guessing and qualifying my response based not on my inner intuitive self but on the concrete realities of life around me. It’s hard to answer a question like this because deep inside ourselves our limiting beliefs and past history of things not succeeding affects our response.

However, as I joined Rickie Harmon in the KIND Women and Go KIND Seattle movements I began to ask myself different questions. This turned out to be a life changing situation for me that is still going on every single day.

I am a person who is very creative, very intuitive and very empathetic. This means I often wear my heart on my sleeve just begging the whole world to rip it off and leave me vulnerable. It also means that I struggle with anxiety and depression on a daily basis.

Getting involved with KINDNESS as a daily, purpose filled, intentional practice is changing the level of anxiety and depression and at the same time allowing me to safely wear my heart on my sleeve. This is because I started asking questions that didn’t trigger my limiting beliefs. Yes–I know– there is help for that and I’m getting it–but how about questions that do NOT trigger limiting beliefs? That is what is making the biggest difference in my life.

Here are the questions I now ask myself on a daily basis because they are the catalyst for the magic of kindness for me:

  1. How can I be kind to myself today?
  2. How can I be kind to someone I hold dear to my heart today?
  3. How can I be kind to someone who triggers all my negative impulses today?

That’s it. And the real miracle of kindness is not that I’m less anxious, depressed, or empathetic BUT that I am more kind and therefore more alert to what is really going on in my life and the lives of others. Kindness as a purposeful question asked by myself daily has made it possible to face really hard tasks without fracturing myself or others–most of the time. It’s still hard sometimes but every day I find myself waking and thinking and being more and more kind.

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

Kindness And Anger

Kindness And Anger

“When angry, count four.
When very angry, swear.”
― Mark Twain

I swear a lot! It is sometimes hard to be kind and loving in our world right now. It is easy to be angry. With the political upheavals, rampant injustice, violence, murder, mayhem it is sometimes hard to see the incredible kind and beautiful world we live in.

“Speak when you are angry and
you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
― Ambrose Bierce

I’ve learned the hard way–and keep learning the hard way–that speaking when I am angry never gets me the results I desire. Since joining KIND WOMEN and the Go KIND Seattle groups I have learned a really great lesson.  When I get angry and stay angry and feel grumpy and gloomy and what’s-the-use attitude envelops me, I’m more aware of how bad anger is making me feel.  This un-expected outcome of purposefully living a life of kindness is outstanding!

The strong person is not the good wrestler.
Rather,the strong person is the one
who controls himself when he is angry.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 73, #135)”
― Anonymous

My husband has noticed that I speak differently when I’m angry now. Oh, the first outburst of swearing happens and the railing fruitlessly against injustice happens but very quickly I’m able to change what I’m saying and revert to the knowledge that everyone is living a life that is sometimes a struggle and my anger settles. Kindness then peeps around the corner, checking first to be sure it is safe, and then becomes the operating behavior again.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm
to the vessel in which it is stored
than to anything on which it is poured.”
― Mark Twain

So my vessel is becoming stronger daily and my anger, although still present, isn’t the caustic acid it once was. How is charing to kindness as a way of life affecting you?

When You Can Be Kind

When You Can Be Kind

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

 Lately with all the political furor and world calamities and social injustices it may seem to you, as it does to me, that kindness is hard to come by. Yet on a daily basis when I take a deep breath and turn away from the ugliness that is pounding at the door of my heart I feel deeply the kindness and love all around me.   When I feel that, I can be kind without hesitation!

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

So imagine, that after working a 12-hour overnight shift and I’m just beginning to be awake in mid-afternoon, in comes my granddaughter with a beautiful pink tulip. This is how kindness is in our lives. When we least expect it someone does something spontaneous and kind and our whole day becomes brighter and filled with love. Imagine the wonderful feeling you can have if you are the one carrying the flower and you brighten someone’s day with your spontaneous and kind presence.

“It is an absolute human certainty
that no one can know his own beauty
or perceive a sense of his own worth
until it has been reflected back to him
in the mirror of another loving,
caring human being.”
― John Joseph PowellThe Secret of Staying in Love

This. The ability we all have to know our own beauty, perceive our own worth and see reflected back to us by other loving and caring human beings when we practice intentional kindness is the ultimate in living as being human. Being kind becomes its own reward. The joy and growth and well-being we generate for ourselves through being kind to others is immeasurable.

“The simplest acts of kindness
are by far more powerful than
a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

So here is a challenge for you. Practice intentionally being kind to another human being, then share with us all how you felt afterward.  I’m looking forward to your comments!