Tag Archives: children

A Table of Kindness

Day 143: A Table of Kindness

I received a wonderful compliment from the mother of one of my yoga students. She shared with me how her daughter loved that it wasn’t just a yoga class, but more, that it was a place where she could share and “talk about stuff.” The mother also shared that whatever we spoke about in class, later turned into a family discussion at the dinner table.

(At the beginning of every class, I gather my students in a circle and we share. Each student receives a turn while everyone else gives their full attention. Sometimes I have a preset theme or subject and other times I simply check in and asked how they are each feeling.)

The compliment got me thinking about two things. One, that I could do the same thing every night at my dinner table with my family, and two, how amazing it is that a circle of sharing at a yoga class could then influence and affect an entire family. It is rare, especially as we get older, that there is a place to go and check in to share our feelings. Perhaps all families, all classes, and all work environments should start the day with circle time or end the day at a table where kind listening and sharing take place in a loving and supportive way.

Start your own table or circle of kindness. Try doing it every morning to start the day or at the end of the day around the dinner table. You might just be surprised at what comes out of your children. And if you do not have children, try it with your partner or roommates.

With Love and Kindness,

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Space Cadett

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Kindness is Everything

Day 141: Kindness is Everything

“Kindness, I discovered, is everything in life.” -Isaac Bashevis Singer

There is nothing more to add. I too have discovered that kindness is everything in life.

Jennifer

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Jin Neoh

Kindly Try Something New

Day 135: Kindly Try Something New:

“If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you never done.”

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning.” – Joyce Meyers

When you try something for the first time such as a new sport, cooking a new recipe, starting a new job or taking up a new hobby, do you encourage yourself to try and keep at it, or do you expect to already be an expert and belittle yourself if you fall short of your imagined high standards and expectations? If you fall in to the latter group it might be time to learn how to kindly treat yourself when you try something new. Learn to laugh at yourself and find humor in your mistakes. Remember life can be fun and doesn’t have to be so serious. It is also important to encourage yourself just as you would a young child. When we experiment and dare to try something new, it is not only brave, but the exact thing that makes life fun and interesting.

Remember to encourage yourself, and nurture your new beginnings through kind self talk and lots of humor.

With Kindness,

Jennifer

 Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Luiz Baltar

Kindness in a Cuddle

Day 134: Kindness in a Cuddle

“Cuddling literally kills depression, relieves anxiety and strengthens the immune system.” – Unknown

I have no idea if that quote is based on scientific studies and data or just made up, but I do not really care, it completely makes sense to me. Who doesn’t feel better, more loved, recharged and content after a good cuddling session? We all need the same things in life and we certainly need to feel good and loved in order to be kind and spread that kind feeling to others.

Lucky for me that my children still like to watch a movie and cuddle or read a book and cuddle, because after a very long week of work and life, that is exactly what I needed. Whether we cuddle with our children, spouse, friend, parent or beloved animal, harness that love and turn it inward so that you can feel love and turn that into kindness for yourself and all others.

With Kindness,

Jennifer

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Joe Batluck

Laugh Your Way to Kindness

Day 127: Laugh Your Way to Kindness

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

“Laughing is and always will be the best form of therapy.” – Unknown

“Laughter: (n) When a smile has an orgasm.” – Unknown

I have to say it’s really difficult to write inspiration prose when my heart is broken and my stomach feels like it is inside out. My best friend is experiencing her worst nightmare and there is nothing I can do. I can’t change it, I can’t take it away, all I can do is check in, love her, be there, be available and listen. I have to say, I amazed that some how she is still able to laugh. That in itself an inspiration. She is an inspiration. Laughing despite the horror. My friend’s eldest child went very quickly from being a normal 10 year old boy, to one that now has been diagnosed with cancer, has had spinal surgery, MRIs, port surgery and chemotherapy all in a one week period. And yet, she finds something to laugh about everyday.

Find something everyday to laugh about, laugh until the tears come and your stomach hurts, because life is precious and I just have to say cancer sucks! 

With Kindness,

Jennifer

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Kristin Laing

Kind Caregiving

Day 122: Kind Caregiving

“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there, not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel we are supported and cared about.” – Unknown

When tragedy strikes we are never really prepared. As a friend or caregiver it is hard to know what to do and what to say to our loved one that is struggling. Our instincts might urge us to want to fix and make better, but most of the time that is impossible. Sometimes the only thing we can offer is our loving support. The loving support might be a shoulder to lean on, it might be listening, it might be bringing food or leaving your phone on all night in case the friend needs someone to speak to when they cannot sleep. Just being willing and available to the people that are facing their worst nightmare is enough. As I told my son today as he visited his friend in the hospital, just be yourself and know that we are here to love and listen. Beyond that, we cannot change what is happening, nor can we fix it.

We always have the opportunity to give love and kindness, whether through a challenging day or just a regular day. Take a little extra time to be kind to yourself, to your loved ones, to the strangers you encounter today, and to the lovely planet we call home. We are all Kind. We all embody kindness and love and we all want kindness and love…so give what you desire and you will be sure to get it back.

With Kindness,

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Ricardo Simoes

Perfectly Kind

Day 89: Perfectly Kind

“Today I affirm that there is nothing in me but love. This love comes from total acceptance of myself and the understanding that I am a perfectly imperfect human being.” – Jackson Kiddard

What if I told you that in this very moment you are perfect, would you believe me?

You are perfect even with your perceived imperfections.

I’m not quite sure why it is so difficult for most people, myself included, to believe that they are perfectly made, perfect in this moment, even with their flaws, mistakes, regrets and perceived imperfections. How can we change? What can we do so that we believe we are perfectly made, perfectly kind, perfectly loved, just as we are?

I teach a tween yoga class, and the other day I introduced ahimsa to the class. Ahimsa can be translated as nonviolence in thoughts, words and actions. I like to think of ahimsa as kindness; kindness in thoughts, words and actions. I shared with the children how even our own thoughts can be “violent” towards others and ourselves. I received many curious and confused expressions. So I asked them to close their eyes and listen to the little voice inside their head. I asked them to think about that voice and to pay attention to whether it was kind or mean. After a few minutes, I asked them to open their eyes and to tell me one thing they could say to themselves that was kind and loving and one thing they could say to another. Most of the group had no problem sharing what they could say to another, but when it came to self talk, almost every single child drew a blank. One girl finally understood and was willing to be honest and vulnerable to the group. She shared that she could tell herself that she was good enough just as she is. It was brilliant!

With so many messages and images reinforcing the fact that we are not enough, that we are not perfect just as we are, we must tell ourselves and those around us that they are in fact perfect in this moment. Perfectly human, perfect beautiful beings with love, kindness and vibrancy. By embracing ourselves, we will be able to live ahimsa, to live in kindness.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/JohanVanDenBerg

Kindly Asked to Listen

Day 87: Kindly Asked to Listen

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill

A few years ago my Mother-in-Law gave me a packet of Spiritual Seeds that I poured into a mug that says happy on it. The spiritual seeds have daily intentions and inspirational messages on them. My daughter often comes upstairs to my office and picks one from the mug. Today, she picked the one that says: “Today I choose to listen more intently.” The other side of the card says, “To be present and fully conscious in the now moment requires good listening skills. Give the gift of your full attention when others speak.” She immediately said, “Mom, this one was meant for you!”

She is completely correct. I am not the best at giving her my full and undivided attention. I have that awful disease called multitasking, or at least the illusion of it. I may be able to get many things done at the same time, but at the expense of my daughter and myself. I am missing out on the gift of loving exchange with my daughter. I am also missing out on being present. And if I really think about it, I am missing out on a whole plethora of things: connection, mutual respect, love, joy and the peace that comes with being present.

Kindness to Self:

I think listening to ourselves is the most precious gift we can receive from ourselves. Listening to our inner messages and living our lives from the truth within will bring a bounty of gifts.

Kindness to Others:

Listen. Listen. Listen. Just think of all the wonderful moments, connection, and loving kindness that comes from the simple act of listening. Listening really is one of the kindest things we can do for others.

Kindness to Strangers:

Being open to hear the messages from a different group of people with understanding is quite simply a gift of peace and kindness. Let us all be willing to listen to people with an open heart, ready to embrace all others, especially those that are strange or different.

Kindness to Our Planet:

Go outside, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? Your breath, the birds, the breeze? Doing this will surely bring you into the present moment, which is where we are.

Jennifer Palazzo

If you are interested, you can check out the seed packets at SpiritualSeeds.Org.

The Kindness Within

Day 86: The Kindness Within

“Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security or love – you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” – Eckhart Tolle

If only we were all as enlightened as Mr. Eckhart Tolle. I mean that in the kindest way. I really wish I had the ability to look within, see my treasures and really know that is all I need. I want to embrace that I am enough, I want to teach my kids that they are enough. That nothing outside of me or them will enhance who they are, because they are perfect just as they are. I say to my kids often how they are perfect the way they are, perfectly made, but then I wonder if they believe it. I see everyone I know struggle with some form of insecurity.

How can I look at my children and tell them they are perfect exactly as they are, unless I truly believe that about myself? I have had glimpses of feeling that I am perfectly made and that I am enough just as I am, but most of the time, I would have to admit that I need things, people and situations to make me feel better. The glimpses usually follow a day when I have made it my focus and purpose to be in the moment, accept things as they are, and celebrate in gratitude. I wish I could do this daily and not falter, however, this path to enlightenment is not a simple one, it takes hard work, dedication and constant practice.

I like to believe that we all have a treasure within us that is waiting to be found, embraced, and then shared with the world. As Pablo Picasso was quoted for saying: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I could not agree more, however, it is the finding of the gift that is that hard part for most of us. The longer I am on this path of kindness, the more I have realized that most of us have buried treasures within that need some digging. I can see the treasures within my children and am learning to see the treasure within myself. My hope is that by finding and embracing my treasure, I will be able to help those around me find their treasures and they will then help those around them and so on.

Find your treasure, and loving kindness will flow from within, and that kindness will pass to all others.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Tosaporn Boonyayarngkul

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