Monthly Archives: August 2015

Kindhearted

We have all heard the expression “kindhearted” to describe a person who is genuinely kind in their words, actions and interactions. To be honest, I’m not sure I have ever been described as kind or kindhearted. I think the words that people use to describe me are nice, sweet, sad, melancholy, busy, shy, but I don’t believe I have ever been described as kindhearted. Not to say that I’m never kind and that I never perform kind acts, but I want more.  Besides, performing kind acts is not what I want either, I want to Be kind. I want so much kindness in me, that it tumbles out and it exudes from me.

Yesterday, I came across a quote in Invisible Warfare, a book, by Mona Miller. It reads; “Blocked hurt and fear keep our hearts from being open!” I think that says so much. I did change it slightly and replaced open with kind, so for me, I read it as “Blocked hurt and fear keep our hearts from being kind.”  I think I have had so much unprocessed fear and anger over the last several years, that there was no room for kindness. Kindness cannot live in pain, hurt, anger and fear. Kindness must grow from a place of love, patience, understanding and truth.  So where did all this pain, fear and resentment stem from?

5 years ago, my husband crashed his motorcycle and ended up in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma, followed by extended hospital stays, rehab, transitional living center and out-patient care for several months. We were considered one of the lucky families! My kids were 4 and 6 at the time. You can imagine how difficult my life was, in a single moment, I became a caregiver, medical advocate and financial planner all the while still balancing motherhood and day-to-day life. I had an amazing support group, friends and community that rose to help. It was, however, devastating, difficult and painful. The first few weeks were like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs and just hoping he would actually survive. The next several weeks, months and years were full of fear and anxiety of who my husband now would become. Once we reached the 6 month mark, it was like he went into a personality closet and tried on a new personality every 6 weeks. This was crazy making, at least for me it was. I no longer had my original partner, my kids did not have the dad they knew. Instead we had some strange version of him that was constantly changing. No wonder I was scared, anxious, angry and resentful.

He was quick to become overwhelmed and then lash out. Soon we began a dance of me tip-toeing around his moods and needs. I very quickly became codependent and embraced it fully! This was the perfect storm. He would have what is called a “brain injury moment” and I would make excuses and try to calm him down. Apparently I was supposed to stay centered, calm and remind him with kindness that he was having a brain injury moment.  I must have blocked that out during the family training I received! As if I could take anything in and process it, I was surviving! To be honest his brain injury moments scared me and triggered me. So I fell right into being a codependent. Kindness was not to be had by me, not while I lived in fear, anxiety, anger and resentment. Although I craved kindness, I did not have the ability to create in my life.

If blocked hurt and fear keep our hearts from being open and thus kind, the opposite is needed to exude kindness. My recipe for being kindhearted is to own, process and understand the fear and hurt, so that I may move to a place of understanding and be open to love and kindness. My hope is that one day soon, I will embody kindness and finally be described as KINDHEARTED!!!!

Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts.

Jenni

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Finding Kindness from Within

Life can be a little funny at times. You never know what or whom will change your path or how you see and understand the world. As you know, I have been seeking kindness for some time now and I have found it. Or at least the beginning of kindness.

I used to think that if I could make everyone around me be kind, I would have a kind household and then I could be kind, because everyone was being kind together. That sounds a bit crazy, if you ask me! The truth is, I have been lacking kindness in my life because I have been looking out instead of in. What exactly does that mean? Well for me, it means I was seeking kindness out in the world. I was telling myself that I was being kind, and sometimes I was, but most of the recent past had me feeling sad and sorry for myself. In fact, I recently had two very lovely friends tell me that I am indeed melancholy. I thanked them both for their candor and began to really think about what I put out to the world. Do I really want to be the sad girl? How has being the sad girl served me? How is being the sad girl currently serving me and others in my life?  No wonder my life lacks kindness. How could I find, feel, create and exude kindness when I was sad?

The reason for my melancholy, you may wonder, is a very long story which, began when I was little.  I will try to provide the short list.  I was sexually abused at a very young age, I was raised in a very tumultuous, chaotic and alcoholic household, I attracted and married a man who used to live a very chaotic and fast life who ended up almost killing himself in an accident that led to a traumatic brain injury and resulting in me becoming his caregiver while raising our young children. As you can see, I have had plenty of reasons to be sad. On the other hand, I also have so many reasons to celebrate. I am healthy, have two beautiful children, I received an amazing education from my family and learned many things through my struggles and all of those tragedies have made me the beautiful person that I am. However, I want to let the sad story go and say goodbye to it. I no longer want to be the sad, melancholy girl. I want to be the vibrant, beautiful and kind woman I am and can be.

Over the last three weeks I have been slowly uncovering what kindness is for me. It all began on vacation.  I met this wonderful woman who seemed to exude a love for life and a true kindness that shone from within. This woman was kind in her words, in her actions and interactions, in the way she looked at people and even in her touch.  I had many interactions with her and as the week proceeded, I was left with a feeling of aw.  What was it about this person that made them so kind? How does that person exude such kindness, what is her secret? Whatever it was, I wanted it!

After meeting this person, it awoke something in me that I had long ago left to die in darkness. This feeling that awoke in me is best described as a fire. There was finally some light that was shining in my dark places. This person saw through my darkness and somehow saw my inner beauty, my authentic self.  It was a fleeting moment, but I felt it and I wanted more. More love, more kindness, more tenderness, more understanding and more truth.

I realized after much journal writing, crying and processing of my many feelings, that the way to have kindness truly come from me was to be kind to myself. I used to think being kind to myself, was getting a massage or going to a yoga class or creating “me” time. But what I found out over the last few weeks, is that kindness must literally come from within. I must be kind to myself. What does that mean to me now? It means that I listen to me, my authentic self, my little girl, my soul, my intuition, whatever you want to call it. Kindness means that I listen to me first with love, understanding and truth. Essentially if I listen to my truth I can then lead a life of kindness because I will be honoring myself and then be able to honor others with true kindness.

Sometimes it takes another person seeing us and touching our heart in order for us to see our true selves and for me, to feel kindness.

Thank you for reading and sharing in my journey to find kindness.

Jennifer

What is Kindness

Many years ago, I was lucky to meet an amazing and gifted life coach. One of the many things she taught me over the 10 years I knew her, was to look up the definition of words in order to fully understand the given word. Often times, I was quite surprised and other times it was just as I expected. Either way, I always seem to have a better understanding of a word and its true meaning. Try it sometime and see if the words you use really mean what you think they do.

So what exactly does kindness mean? Here is the definition from Dictionary.com

Kindness
noun
1. the state or quality of being kindkindness to animals.
2. a kind act; favor: his many kindnesses to me.
3. kind behavior: I will never forget your kindness.
4. friendly feeling; liking.
Well that does not seem to allow for much further exploration of the word kindness.  Sometimes looking at the synonyms will shed light on the meaning of the word. Let’s look at the synonyms listed at Thesaurus.com

Synonyms for kindness noun compassion, generosity:

affection, altruism, benevolence, cordiality, courtesy, decency, forbearance, gentleness, good will, goodness, grace, graciousness, hospitality, humanity, patience, solicitude, sweetness, sympathy, tenderness, tolerance, understanding, unselfishness.

The words that speak to me and my definition of kindness are the following: gentleness, grace, patience, sweetness, tenderness and understanding. All beautiful and different words that all contribute to the word and meaning of kindness. I am seeking gentleness and grace and patience and sweetness and tenderness and understanding. Those are the words that describe the kind of kindness I want to live and embrace in my life. What about you? Do you seek the same kindness in you, in the world. Let us continue to practice and seek kindness.

Namaste,

Jennifer

Back, After a Long Hiatus, but Still Seeking Kindness

I did not forget about my journey of finding and living kindness. I still seek kindness, still want kindness in my life and hope that I have been practicing as much kindness as I can. The reason for my long hiatus from blogging is that I started to work out of the home, but here I am again, hopefully with a new perspective on kindness.  Before I delve into my new perspective, I would like to review where I started:

I started 4 Acts of Kindness because I need more kindness in my life and in the lives of the people around me. I introduced the concept of the 4 Acts of Kindness:

  1. Being Kind to Yourself
  2. Being Kind to Others
  3. Being Kind to Someone you have a challenging relationship with, that you do not know very well, that you may not like or that you may find different or strange.
  4. Being Kind to our Earth

My hope is that by challenging myself and others to 4 Acts of Kindness daily, that I will change, the people around me will change, and maybe, just maybe, I can spread more kindness in the world. Follow me on this journey and let’s see what we can do!

Where am I now? Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m still seeking kindness. I ask myself, if I am in fact living the 4 Acts of Kindness? Am I actually kind to myself and what does that mean? I like to believe that I am kind to others, but I know that I am not always kind and I think it has to do with my level of happiness. Am I kind to strangers and the people I have challenging relationships with? I’d like to believe that I am, but maybe I’m not. I am kind to the earth, that for me is the easiest.

My household still has an edge to it that I do not prefer. I try to be kind and show kindness to my husband and children and yet, there is still fighting, arguing and a level of competition that drives me crazy. Maybe it’s not them at all, maybe in some weird way, seeking kindness is different that inviting kindness. Maybe instead of projecting my wants and desires onto my husband and children I need to change my perspective and exude kindness the way I would like to receive it. Or maybe I simply need to ask the universe for kindness. I don’t really have the answers. I just know that I want kindness in my life and in the lives of the people who I love.

Please follow me in my journey to find kindness.