Monthly Archives: January 2016

Kind Costco, Kind Everywhere

Day 80: Kind Costco, Kind Everywhere

“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” – Samuel Johnson

I usually dread trips to Costco, it is crowded, people are pushy, sometimes rude, and it is ugly and cold inside. Not a place I want to spend part of a beautiful day at. Why do I go then? To save money and get the items the family is used to. Usually I keep my head down and try to get in and out as fast as possible. Today, however, I chose to make it as pleasurable as I could. I made it a point to look at every person I encountered. I attempted to make eye contact, smile, and even say hello to each person that actually met my eyes. There was no huge miracle, but rather a shift inside of me. I actually felt happy while shopping and left feeling even better than when I arrived.

As I am trying to create kindness and live in the present moment, I am beginning to understand that I am the only one that truly can make myself feel happy, sad, miserable, stressed, or full of joy, no matter where I am or whom I with. I am reading and studying Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dali Lama. Their teachings are all very similar and essentially explain that in any given moment, we choose how to be in that moment. In the past I have understood their teachings on an intellectual level, but now with my kindness project as well as practicing presence, I am understanding on a much deeper level. I’m learning to practice being in and embracing whatever that present moment is, including Costco!

Kindness to Self, Kindness to Others, Kindness to Strangers: 

 

By choosing to be kind and have a kind heart before I entered a place that usually leaves me feeling anxious, stressed and unhappy, I completely flipped my experience. I chose kindness and I received joy and happiness.

Kindness does begin with me and then trickles down to those around me.

 

Kindness to Our Planet:

 

After my joyous trip to Costco, my husband and I rounded up the kiddos and enjoyed a cold, yet sunny and beautiful morning at the local Farmer’s Market, where we all enjoyed tasting the local produce and speaking with the farmers as well as friends and neighbors we ran into.

Yes, I prefer spending my time at the Farmer’s Market, however, learning to enjoy and be at peace with the present moment, wherever I am, is priceless.

Namaste,

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind William Stadler

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Kind Appreciation

Day 79: Kind Appreciation

“Wherever you go, whoever you meet, and whatever you do, give love and appreciation, because that is your true nature. How do you know it is your true nature? You feel so good when you are giving it!” – Rhonda Bryne

Showing our gratitude and thanks is vital to maintaining and growing healthy relationships. Without appreciation, that is shown and felt, resentment tends to set in. We must learn to appreciate all of the wonderful, difficult, and brave things we do on a daily basis. If we can start by appreciating ourselves, then gratitude and thanks will flow out to others in our lives.

Kindness to Self:

The amount of appreciation we give ourselves directly correlates with how much we are able to give to others.

Think of all of the things that you do on a daily basis, do you appreciate yourself? Do you tell yourself? Try giving yourself appreciation by acknowledging all of the things you do and you might just see a shift in your life.

Kindness to Others:

Communicating our appreciation, gratitude and thanks to the people in our lives is not only a gift to them, but a gift to ourselves. It really does feel good to appreciate and communicate that appreciation through words, hugs, a smile, a thank you card, a phone call or even a text.

Reach out and tell the people that matter to you, just how much you appreciate them, and not just for the things they do, but simply for who they are and how they bring joy and meaning to your life.

Kindness to Strangers:

There are endless opportunities to appreciate all the wonderful things that people do for us and for everyone. We can appreciate those people that serve us, that smile at us, that let us go ahead of them in line or in traffic. We can appreciate the men and women that stand out in the heat, cold or rain to fix our broken roads. We can even learn to appreciate the people that we don’t care for.

Slow down and try appreciating everyone you see today, even for the smallest things, and you will definitely feel good.

Kindness to Our Planet:

Go outside this very minute and look out. Whatever you see, feel or smell, try being grateful and appreciative for being alive and getting to witness the glory of life. Oh, and don’t forget to thank the trees for providing the oxygen that we breathe.

Have a beautiful day filled with appreciation, love, and kindness!

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind dims psichos

Feeling Kind of Special

Day 78: Feeling Kind of Special

“When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.” -William Shakespeare

I am spending the evening with my true love, my daughter. I did fall in love with her the moment I saw her face. In fact, the first two weeks of her life, I fought the urge to sleep, just so I could lie awake and watch her, afraid to miss anything. Eventually, reality set in and I realized that I actually needed sleep in order to function as a person and a mother.

Spend some extra special time with the person you love, whether that is yourself, a loved one, an animal, or maybe even a place, such as your garden or your favorite place in nature. Go out and share some loving kindness and create a special moment.

With Kindness,

Jennifer

 

Kind Service

Day 77: Kind Service

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Feeling a bit lost these days? Not sure where you fit in or are you going through changes? Try volunteering or simply being of service; service to yourself and others. You can start by thinking of the things that you might like done for you and do those things for others.

Kindness to Self:

We can serve ourselves by giving the things that we desire to ourselves. It can be an internal desire or an external desire. For example, if you desire attention, give yourself some undivided attention. If you find yourself wanting someone else to give you flowers, buy those flowers for yourself.

Kindness to Others:

Ask yourself how you can be of service to those around you. Can you dig deep and instead of wanting, be of service? Give all of the things you desire and want from each person in your life and gift it to them instead. Try writing a list of all the people in your life and see if there are things you want from them and turn that wanting around and give.

Kindness to Strangers:

Just by bestowing an open and warm smile to a stranger is being of service to others and to the greater good of the world. Being open to exchange in anyway is being of kind service to humanity. Start with a smile and eventually that smile will grow into an innate desire to be of service.

Kindness to Our Planet:

We can always be of service to everyone and everything if we so choose. Ask yourself everyday, ‘how can I be of service to this person, this situation, this world, this planet,’ and before you know it, you will have found yourself in the service of others.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Alfonso Romero

Kind Kids

Day 76: Kind Kids

“When you compliment your children, praise them for inner qualities such as kindness, honesty and perseverance so they will strive to contribute to the world in meaningful ways.” – Tony Schutta

On Wednesday afternoons I teach yoga to school age children. I begin each class with a community circle. The community circle is a time to share and connect through a subject or theme that I present to the class. Today, I asked them to share about what makes them strong on the inside and what makes them strong on the outside. They immediately started flexing their biceps, but once they refocused, I received some very interesting and thoughtful answers from the children. Many of them said their bravery made them strong on the inside. One particular boy shared that he receives his inner strength from a sense of freedom that his ancestors fought for. Another boy shared that his inner strength comes from his sister reassuring him when he is frightened. Most of the children said their outer strength comes from the love they receive from their family.

It is so beautiful and moving to see how innocent and wise these children are. It reminded me of how children have an innate ability to see things, experience life, and understand things in a simple yet profound way without the heaviness that most adults carry with them.  What I continue to learn from working with young children, is that in many ways they are wiser and much more in alignment with the true meanings of life. I think what derails most of us from that innocence and wisdom, is the tendency to look outside of ourselves for answers as well as our tendency to praise achievements that we can see rather than the ones that we feel and experience. Meaning, we praise our children and others for being the “best,” winning at a sport, achieving good grades, having a beautiful house or awesome job. However, we do not spend enough time praising the inner qualities and achievements that contribute to kindness towards ourselves, others, strangers, and the world at large. Somewhere along the journey, most sweet, loving and kind children become busy, stressed, unhappy, and unkind adults. How can we as individuals and as a culture and society keep the innate kindness and wisdom we are born with and grow it?

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Filip George

Finding a Kind Pace

Day 75: Finding a Kind Pace

“The faster we live, the less emotion is left in the world. The slower we live, the deeper we feel the world around us.” – Stanko Abadzic

Multitasking is something we often hear about as an attribute, and in a busy office it is, but the rest of the time it means we are not fully present. We choose to set the pace of our lives whether we realize it or not. Being present and setting the pace, the speed at which we live our lives, is related to how much we want to be present and how much we are willing to face our feelings. I can’t think of any other reason  why  we would choose to rush or avoid unless we did not want to be fully present and fully accepting of the moment and whatever it presents.

I’m discovering that if I sit in the feelings, honor them, feel them, hold space for them, they pass. Just as the saying goes: “this too shall pass.” Admittedly, sometimes, the feelings and emotions are so powerful, scary, and can even feel heartbreaking. However, I am realizing that by making space for the feelings and emotions without judgment, and letting them pass, I am left feeling lighter, wiser, and free from the burden of carrying so many unprocessed and avoided feelings. Once felt, it’s not so bad. Being present is very challenging and takes dedication and practice, but it can lead to amazing gifts. 

Kindness to Self:

We can start setting a kinder pace for ourselves by choosing to be present and doing one thing at a time. We can fully enjoy the meal we are eating, down to the taste and feeling in our mouths. We can think of it as moving meditation, whatever we are doing will soon move from doing to being; being in the moment, fully engaged in ourselves.

Kindness to Others:

Setting a kind pace for ourselves will positively affect those around us and will enable us to be present for all others. We always have the choice to slow down and give the others our full and undivided attention.

Kindness to Strangers:

Once we can set a kind pace by slowing down and embracing the present moment, we will have so much more time to dedicate to other people and causes. By feeling each feeling when it happens, we free ourselves, simply because it requires so much effort, energy, and time to push off and avoid the present moment.

Kindness to Our Planet:

See if you can begin to experience being present with the world that surrounds you. See if you can notice and feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, the rain coming down and the sensation of it. See if you can notice the sounds that nature provides, the chirping of birds, the musical sound wind and trees make together or the sound of silence when snow is falling. Wherever you are, begin to notice the present moment and the treasures that are abound.

Become the master of your life by setting a pace that allows you to be fully present Now. 

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Andras Kovacs

Kind Wisdom

Day 74: Kind Wisdom

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, an the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart

The day seemed to have gotten away from me, so I am passing on the wisdom of others. Enjoy and always be kind first to yourself, then to others and strangers, and finally to our planet.

Kindness to Self:

“One must be compassionate to one’s self before external compassion.” – Dalai Lama

Kindness to Others:

“Everyone needs a little kindness. Be the one who gives it to others.” – Toni Copper

Kindness to Strangers:

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with  no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana

Kindness to Our Planet:

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – Native American Proverb

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Daniel West

Kind Meetings

Day 73: Kind Meetings

“With every person who crosses your path, make it your intention to leave them better than you found them.” – Chris Michaels & Edward Viljoen

I love the above quote and I aspire to and intend to learn how to leave every person I meet better than I found them. It may seem effortless to be kind and give to others when we like them or they are pleasant, but what about the unpleasant moments and people that cross our paths? Can we intentionally, with great purpose and adequate practice, leave those people better than we found them? If we are present and willing to accept the moment, the person, or situation as it is, being kind to those people and situations that are unpleasant, will become effortless and perhaps even rewarding. It is the challenging situations and people that will be our most profound and deeply felt lessons and teachers.

 Kindness to Self:

Can we leave ourselves better than we currently find ourselves? Absolutely! By giving others what we desire and want, we will certainly receive the bounty of kind giving.

Kindness to Others and Strangers:

Have the intention this week, or even just this day, to leave every person you meet better than you found them. Notice what happens, notice any changes in your self, in your day or even the people around you. If you come across a challenging or unpleasant person or situation, check in and become very aware of the present moment. This way it is unlikely that you will react, instead you will be able smile and offer assistance.  In doing this, we will leave the person better than we found them.

Kindness to Our Planet:

Always leave a place better than you found it. Let us all go out of our way to educate the children around us to clean up and be responsible for their garbage, so that the next generation will leave this planet better than it currently is. Local schools, parks and communities often organize beautification and clean up days. Check in with your local community to see how you can help.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Piotr Pastusiak

Flowing Kindness

Day 72: Flowing Kindness

“Whatever you think people are withholding form you-praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on-give it to them. You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. Outflow determines inflow.” – Eckhart Tolle

When I read the above mentioned passage in Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth, it reminded me of why I started this blog. I knew that I had loving kindness within me, but was not letting it flow out as much as I desired it to flow in. There was an imbalance for many reasons. I was wanting loving kindness so much, but was not quite understanding of how to create it and keep it flowing. It seems that I was going about it the wrong way. Although I was giving kindness, I was also asking for it. Therefore I was not giving it freely, or rather I was not letting it flow from me. The other mistake that I have been making, is that I am not always completely present while being kind. Meaning I can do kind acts and treat people kindly, but without full presence, it is just an act, not a flow of kindness, which is ultimately what I strive for. I think that is the profound difference between giving kindness and letting kindness flow: Presence.

Kindness to Self, to Others, to Strangers, and to Our Planet:

In the book A New Earth, the author suggests trying, for a couple of weeks, to give all of the things we believe are being withheld from us to others. By giving away the things that we desire for ourselves, whether that be love, attention, presence, kindness, abundance, or time…we just may get what we want in return. It is certainly worth a try. Let’s see what happens when we give freely and in full presence.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Kurt Krejny

The Kind Mind

Day 71: The Kind Mind

“Kind hearts are the gardens. Kind thoughts are the roots. Kind words are the flowers. Kind deeds are the fruits.” – Unknown

Have you given much thought to your thoughts lately? If you were to observe your thoughts for an entire day, would most of the thoughts be kind? Maybe an entire day is not necessary, try for just one hour to observe the thoughts that run through your mind. Examine your thoughts by first becoming aware and then notice how those thoughts make you feel. Do you feel the thoughts in your body? Where? And if so, do those thoughts eventually influence your words and actions towards yourself and others.

We become what we think, whether we intend to or not.

Kindness to Self:

The first step is awareness of our thought patterns and then from there, we can begin to encourage ourselves to have more positive thoughts through acknowledging the negative thought patterns, but not attaching to them, and eventually letting go and replacing with positive and kind thoughts.

Kindness to Others:

If we can create and operate from a kind heart, we will deepen our roots and trust with our loved ones. Through our kind thoughts, kind words will become routine and we will live and share a life that is thoughtful, kind and loving. We will encourage those around us to blossom with kindness though our kind words and actions.

Kindness to Strangers:

Having kind thoughts, words and actions will benefit everyone we come in contact with. The people around us, whether known or unknown will benefit from the fruits of our kindness through everyday kind acts.

Kindness to Our Planet:

Go out and plant a tree. Winter is the perfect time (at least in California) to plant a bare root fruit tree. However, if it is not the proper time or you do not have the yard to plant a tree, you can donate to Plant A Billion Trees Campaign.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Patrick Hajzler