It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Kindness to You is Kindness to Me; Kindness to Me is Kindness to You

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What do you need?

The Practice:
Kindness to you is kindness to me; kindness to me is kindness to you.

Why?

I usually describe a practice as something to do: get on your own side, see the being behind the eyes, take in the good, etc. This practice is different: it’s something to recognize. From this recognition, appropriate action will follow. Let me explain.

Some years ago, I was invited to give a keynote at a conference with the largest audience I’d ever faced. It was a big step up for me. Legendary psychologists were giving the other talks, and I feared I wouldn’t measure up. I was nervous. Real nervous.

I sat in the back waiting my turn, worrying about how people would see me. I thought about how to look impressive and get approval. My mind fixed on me, me, me. I was miserable.

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The Magic of Kindness

female-volunteer-bringing-groceries-to-a-senior-woman-at-home-picture-id1214128782 The Magic of Kindness

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.”  Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983, Author

Have you ever noticed that when you act kind, you feel kind? People often believe that they need to feel kind and compassionate before they can act kind and compassionate, but this is not true. Often it is choosing to act kind that fills the heart and soul with the wonderful feeling of kindness toward yourself and others.

Think about a natural disaster situation – a fire, a flood, an earthquake, a tsunami, a hurricane or tornado, and what’s currently occurring with COVID-19. Many people rush in to help, not waiting to feel kind before being kind. And in their acts of kindness, they feel full, expansive and fulfilled.

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570 Hits

Just Because

silhouette-of-woman-hand-her-dog-at-sunset-picture-id1136820853 Just Because
"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." -Lao Tzu

I've Been Thinking...

I was sitting in my office the other day when my daughter Christina walked in and asked me what I was up to.


I told her I was thinking about everything that had happened this week and how I felt about it all. I sat there thinking about how I felt attending Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service with my son Christopher on Monday. I thought about how I felt on Tuesday as I watched another round of the Democratic debates. (I ended up watching alone because everyone else got up and left, saying “I’ve had it!”) I thought about how I felt about Ash Wednesday, the concept of Lent, and Pope Francis’ challenge for us all to give up “trolling,” or insulting others on social media. I thought about the Coronavirus and the fear, panic, and suffering it's wreaking around the world.

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710 Hits

Service to Others, Service to God

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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.

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1167 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. 
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1252 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.

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848 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.

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1376 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.

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2162 Hits

Living Kindness

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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?

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1829 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?

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1667 Hits