“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Did you know that November 13-20 is dubbed World Kindness Week? The cool thing is that every week….every day….every moment, can be infused with kindness. It costs nothing, since generosity is as free as the wind. I sense that it is hardwired into us, this instinct to be kind and yet, somehow, we allow it to slip away in the hustle and bustle of daily living. It gets reinforced at home, at school and in faith communities. The way we treat each 0ther from moment to moment, feeds the collective kindness kettle. I was talking with a friend recently about childhood visits to Atlantic City, NJ and the huge copper kettle being stirred by animated people in the front window of a fudge shop. When loving acts occur, it is like the ingredients for delight being poured and mixed round and round and when it is finished, it is enjoyed by those blessed to partake. Can you taste the sweetness?
What were you taught about kindness? My parents modeled it in the ways in which they spoke to each other and us. They avoided gossip when at all possible, as do I. I won’t say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to them. I have walked away from gossiping people, with the comment “Who knows what you are saying about me when I’m not around?” My folks offered service in the community (my dad volunteered at the firehouse, my mom at the hospital) and at our synagogue. They brought food to homes where someone was ill or someone had died. They gave of their hearts, which seems to me to be a good defintion of kindness.
Sometimes it is easier to be kind to others than it is to ourselves and yet, just like the saying ‘charity begins at home,’ so too does kindness begin within. How can we give what we ain’t got? Think about all of the ways you speak to yourself. Are they words of encouragement or deprecation? Would you ever in a million years speak to someone else in the way you address yourself? Likely not. And yet, how many people who perpetrate abuse, whether verbal or physical, truly feel good about themselves or speak lovingly to the man or woman in the mirror. Not many.
In celebration of World Kindness Week, here are some suggestions:
Give yourself kindness kudos…what do you value about yourself?
Smile at everyone you pass each day.
Leave an extra large tip for service at a restaurant.
Put a love note in your child or partner’s lunch box, briefcase or purse.
Pay for a stranger’s meal.
Juice the toll taker, by giving him or her a thank you card just for being there.
Let someone else go in front of you in the supermarket check out line.
Run errands for a busy neighbor or drop by with home made goodies.
Offer to babysit for a harried parent. (well, for the children of a harried parent, although the mom or dad might need some babysitting too)
If you have skills that could be of benefit to someone, offer them. (sewing, construction, organization, massage are examples)
Read to a child.
Visit a nursing home Resident.
What are some of your kindness ideas?
http://youtu.be/__rCTOvDZto My Religion is Kindness by Karen Drucker