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,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Space Cadett
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.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Jin Neoh
Day 140: Slowing Down for Kindness
“Slow down everyone. You’re moving too fast. – Jack Johnson
I don’t know about you, but some days I feel like I rush from one thing to the next. The day begins before the sun rises and then it feels like a marathon or a never-ending sprint. I wonder if all the things I pack into one day are really all that necessary. On those sprinting days, which are often, I feel my shoulders tighten, by breath become shallow and my patience running thin. By the end of the day I’m exhausted and not sure when and where the kindness was felt or given. On these days, I must remember to first be compassionate with myself by praising myself for my best effort. Next, I try to do something that feels good, whether that is a swim, a hug from one of my children or a long bath. Lastly, I remind myself that life is a journey, not a race, and if I just slow down, I might be able to feel the kindness.
Learning to slow down for ourselves and for the people in our lives may be the most important and loving gift we can give.
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.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Luiz Baltar
Day 132: Toolbox of Kindness
“Self -compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” – Christopher Germer
When life brings you a challenge that feels daunting, insurmountable, and down right scary, what do you do? In lieu of hiding and saying to your higher power how unfair it all is, what tools do you have that help you?
Over the years I have acquired, crafted, and nurtured a collection of tools that have helped and served me well through the toughest challenges. I have used therapy, meditation and yoga, family and friends, support groups, a plethora of self-help books, and most recently added positive affirmations to the toolbox. Each new tool requires discipline, dedication and maybe a bit of humility. Admitting that we need help and asking for it also requires self-acceptance and forgiveness. Our lives are not perfect and never will be. We will have moments that are the happiest and moments that are nothing short of tragic, that is life. Having a toolbox of kindness for ourselves is not only going to get us through the toughest of times, but it will also enhance our lives during the calm waters of life.
No matter what, there is always plenty of help and assistance available, look and ask, and you will find what you need.
With Love and Kindness,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Grant Yiu
Day 130: Emoting Kindness
“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.” – Pema Chodron
Some days and weeks are tougher and more difficult than most. It is these days that we must lean on others as well as tell ourselves that we are doing the best that we can. I have a tendency to think I must have all the answers and I must have them quickly and efficiently, but that does not and has not served me well. There are going to be plenty of challenging occasions that come along in life and we can either hold onto the belief that we must know all the answers and do it alone or we can know that there are people to love and support us and lean on.
Whether you currently find yourself as the one that needs support or you are the one that is able to provide support, having compassion and understanding will lead to love and kindness for both. Love with all your heart. Show yourself compassion everyday. Honor yourself everyday for where you are in your journey. Approve, love, and accept yourself as you are, right in this very moment. Life is too precious and too short to not love yourself through and through.
With Love and Kindness,
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Daniel West
Day 125: Look Up for Kindness
“Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot
A few days ago while taking this amazing yoga class, the teacher gave us an assignment for the week. It was quite simple: Look up. That is it. What she meant, and of course explained to the class, is that she wanted us to look up, look around and notice all the beauty and gifts that our world has to offer. She asked us to put our screens away, look up, and take in all of life. Take in the people, the weather, our surroundings, the sounds we hear, and the many things we see. She asked us to be open to receiving the world.
It is amazing what is out there if we just look up and engage. I have been practicing this sort of engagement since I started this blog, but it was a nice reminder to look up. I usually play the smile game to see how many people I can get to smile back at me, but today, I tried to simply look up without trying to change or affect anyone else. In others words I observed and took in my surroundings and I noticed some pretty cool buildings with interesting architecture, some beautiful flowers blooming, and how incredible the sky looked this afternoon. I also made myself look up on the commuter train this morning rather than read or listen to music with my head down. I found myself intrigued by the many different types of people and wondered whether they were happy, rushed, sad, tired, excited, or any of the other possibilities. I also noticed how 90 percent of the train riders were looking down. I wonder what it would be like if 90 percent looked up.
Look up, make eye contact, and be open to receive people and the world at large. You never know what good might come to you.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Babak Azad
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.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Ricardo Simoes
Day 121: Kindness Through a Storm
“Love is a shelter in a raging storm.” – Warren Barfield
I’m so angry and sad today. My heart is broken. My heart breaks for my dear friend who received the worst news imaginable today. I have experienced similar pain and tragedy and I want so badly to scoop her up in my arms and keep her from the pain I know she is experiencing and will continue to experience.
I find myself in a familiar place. Asking why. Why is pain and tragedy necessary? Why do we have to experience loss, disease, trauma? There really is no logical answer. I’ve been told that we need to experience the difficulties that life brings in order to experience joy. But there is no solace in that explanation. It just completely sucks! Horrible things happen all the time, everyday, to many people. All we can do is to love a little deeper, to find more joy and to live life to the fullest, because there are no guarantees. There is just this thing called life and sometimes it is cruel and painful and we have to weather the storm and hope to come out the other side.
Please hug the ones you love, tell them how much they mean to you and always be kind to every being, we all need it! We all need love, compassion, understanding and kindness.
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Chelsee Tysoe
Day 120: Kind Inspiration
“Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world no matter what you think you look like.” – Unknown
“It only takes one act of kindness to make a difference in the world.” – Lori Taylor
“Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting…don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.” – Unknown
“We uplift the world through kindness, through creativity, through light, through love.” – Laura Jaworski
Find inspiration wherever you can find it and remember to spread kindness always!
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Brianne549