Blogs

Service to Others, Service to God

IMG_0325-1200x900

Service to God, in spiritual or religious terms, can become a grandiose, almost inaccessible concept. Something only great mystics and masters can fully live out. Possibly forsaking all worldly possessions and moving to another country. We think of Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Or Martin Luther King Jr. and Peace Pilgrim. Lives of dedication and deep compassion. Yes, this is definitely service to God. But we don’t really have to be a saint or monk to be of service to others and God. Perhaps we need to simplify the definition itself.

Continue reading
0
  428 Hits
428 Hits

The Elements of Kindness

kindnesscover The Elements of Kindness
​I have been blessed with many moments of kindness by complete strangers. Most of them simple, but they stay with me. I often reflect on them, and hope that I have also shared kindness with those unknown to me. 
 
Roughly thirty years ago I was working in a bicycle shop in Sacramento, California. I loved it! I had eclectic coworkers and I received discounts on bikes and gear. After two years, I was ready to move on to a new adventure. I wanted to ride a mountain bike from Sacramento to Moab, Utah. My route was drawn on a map and I purchased the camping gear needed.   
 
I was young and my entire life plan only took me to Moab;  I was open to what the Universe offered me.
 
The trek was going to begin in June. I chose the roads least traveled, combined with some of our National Parks. I was planning a solo adventure, when a frequent customer, at the bike store suggested he join me. I don’t remember thinking it was either good or bad; just a different plan. 
Continue reading
0
  415 Hits
415 Hits

Open the Window to Kindness

good-morning-world-picture-id926197286 Open the Window to Kindness

One of my friends posted on social media a fantastic advent calendar. Do you know what they are?

I’m not sure if it was just a German tradition but my mom would buy us a big beautiful one at the “German store” (that’s what she called it although I’m sure it had a name) where they sold products and specialty items imported from Germany. It’s also where she got her special DR. Oetker powdered sugar and pudding powders to make her special cakes you could not buy in a Canadian store.

I used to love my advent calendar growing up. Every year my mom would take me to the “German store” and show me the ones I could pick from. I always got the one with the most glitter on it and when I got home we had a little ceremony to tape this special magical calendar into my window on Dec 1st. Every day I would find the little number of the day and I would get to open up a “window” that revealed a tiny gift. I can even still smell the store we got them from.

Then, of course, we celebrated St. Nicholas day too on Dec7th. That was when (I know I wrote about this before but its timely!) on Dec 6th we would put our shoes outside our bedroom door and find them stuffed with chocolate and marzipan and chocolate marzipan and little marzipan pigs, and some marzipan fruit um did I say marzipan?? Oh and an orange. meh.

So Dec 7th (which was this year’s new moon) became an interesting day as my blood sugar would rise and fall with each piggy and chocolate Santa and it would be a day of dramatic highs and lows and a need for water.

Continue reading
1
  305 Hits
305 Hits

In the Neighborhood?

Kindness to others is enlightened self-interest Kindness to others is enlightened self-interest


In the neighborhood?

The Practice:


Love your neighbor.

Why?

This practice might sound extreme or pushy, and I want to tell you what I mean by it.

Everyone has lots of neighbors, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Obviously the people living across the street are neighbors, but in some sense so are the people you live with. Friends, relatives, co-workers, all the people you know are neighbors. So are the people at the market or walking past on the street. Other living things are neighbors as well, such as cats and dogs, birds and bees, ants on the kitchen counter, and plants and trees.

Continue reading
3
  501 Hits
501 Hits

Kindness to Others is Enlightened Self-interest

Kindness to Others is Enlightened Self-interest Kindness to Others is Enlightened Self-interest
In the Neighborhood?


The Practice:


Love your neighbor.

Why?

This practice might sound extreme or pushy, and I want to tell you what I mean by it.

Everyone has lots of neighbors, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Obviously the people living across the street are neighbors, but in some sense so are the people you live with. Friends, relatives, co-workers, all the people you know are neighbors. So are the people at the market or walking past on the street. Other living things are neighbors as well, such as cats and dogs, birds and bees, ants on the kitchen counter, and plants and trees.

Continue reading
3
  1199 Hits
1199 Hits

Living Kindness

IMG_3309-1200x900
We learn kindness and patience step by step, sometimes in the receiving, sometimes in the giving. And sometimes, even more powerfully, in the shadow experience: through thoughtlessness or impatience, our own or someone else’s. Hurt by hurt, mistake by mistake, we walk forward into the swirl of human emotion and interrelationship. We learn about pain by being hurt as well as by hurting another. Someone else’s anger or offhand remark can cut to the quick. But to see pain in a loved one’s eyes from our own unthinking or harsh words is to know the other side of pain. It can break your heart, but in the breaking is the opening­—to compassion, to kindness.

When I look back honestly on my own life, I see moments that have taught me, painfully, to be more compassionate and aware. In the years before my mother’s death, she began to have challenges with both her eyesight (cataracts) and memory. I felt tremendous responsibility and fear around making sure she was okay. Once, after a doctor’s appointment, I was asking her questions about what had transpired (What did he say? Did you ask him about ____?). She couldn’t think fast enough to answer me and finally burst into tears. Abruptly I realized I had to slow down and just listen patiently instead of question her. I could see the pain in her eyes at not being able to answer me quickly. It stopped me in my tracks, and I hugged her. What did the answers matter when my mother’s ease of mind was at stake?

Continue reading
4
  1281 Hits
1281 Hits

Kindness

Kindness

Last week our granddaughter graduated from Oregon State University. Linda and I were thrilled. The guest speaker surprised everyone. Instead of the usual encouragement to climb mountains and follow dreams, he suggested that the graduates be kind. “As you grow older,” said this wise and accomplished Turkish businessman who also has founded a four-year university in Turkey, “you will find that your most fulfilling moments will be times of giving or receiving kindness.” I agree. Dreams, aspirations, and successful ventures are not difficult to accomplish compared with developing kindness toward others and toward yourself. When you are encapsulated in a frightened part of your personality – such as anger, jealousy, despair, superiority and entitlement, inferiority and need to please – how can you experience kindness for others or for yourself? How can you experience kindness when a frightened part of your personality wants to kill someone or kill itself?

Continue reading
0
  723 Hits
723 Hits