To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. Mahatma Gandhi
We can always make a difference by showing kindness to ourselves and others. Kindness seems to be missing in our toxic national environment today. Yet, I see kindness exhibited every day by others. A smile can go a long ways in brightening another’s day. We never know what burdens the other may be carrying, and small acts of kindness make a difference.
John Naisbitt coined the term high tech/high touch in his 1982 best seller Megatrends. This was in answer to the PC and its impact on our human interactions–long before the explosion of social media and how it has changed our way of communicating. We have entered the world of high tech at the cost of high touch. Research shows we are craving human connection and often don’t know how to reach out and experience it, thus we numb ourselves through a variety of addictions. Isolation creates fear which in turn creates hate for “the other.” We are seeing this play out in our country today.
I believe kindness is an antidote to our lack of human connection. Kindness can show up in so many different ways. Words of encouragement, a thank you, a listening heart, offering help to someone struggling with groceries, etc. It is easy for me to get caught up in the ugliness of today’s divisive rhetoric. I have to remind myself of the daily acts of kindness I see, and also be sure to be kind to those I encounter throughout my day.
We don’t often talk about self-kindness. This is as important as showing kindness to others. Is my self-talk negative? Do I put myself down throughout the day when I think I’ve made mistakes? Am I critical of my looks? All of these add up to interior violence. When I am unkind to myself it often carries over to being unkind to others. I get caught up in my own negative mindset and place it on others. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”
After our past week of violence in so many different parts of our country, may we all find ways to show deep kindness to ourselves and others.
I think I’ll have a brain garage sale.
I’ll declutter the thoughts
that roll around my mind
and stick to the corners of my heart.
I dust them off,
look at them,
really look at them,
and determine what’s no longer needed.
Act like a lady. (whatever that means)
Do it right the first time.
Idle hands are the work of the devil.
Girls can’t do that.
Don’t be so bossy.
Oh, so many old childhood messages,
hidden deep in my psyche.
They serve no purpose
but to create doubt and
Strengthening my old companion
Time to move them out,
let them go.
I may not be able to sell them,
yet the task of dusting them off
creates space for new stories.
What would you put in your Brain Garage Sale?
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I return to this poem to remind myself to rest in the grace of the world. This past week has been very tumultuous for me. As I watched Dr. Ford be dismissed, demeaned, mocked, and patronized. I was consumed with anger. I finally realized the anger was secondary to the deep grief I was feeling. We have not come very far. The Senate has now voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Take the possible sexual assault away, I am appalled that a man of his temperament and partisanship will sit on the highest court in the land.
I woke this morning and knew I had a choice. I could stay angry and grief-stricken or I could choose to reside in gratitude. As I returned to gratitude, I felt my whole body unwind. I looked around my home and realized how much I had to be grateful for. My friends, my clients who entrust me with their stories, my garden, the birds that grace my feeders, the seven miles of nature trails out my back gate, and so much more. These bring me joy and take me out of the anger and grief. Nature brings me back to my center.
I will not bury my head in the sand. I’ll continue to take action when I feel others are being unjustly treated, but I choose not to linger there. I choose to return to gratitude, joy, and hope.
May you choose to reside in gratitude for your health and well-being.
“Shame needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgement.” Dr. Brene Brown
I try to stay away from politics on my blog, but as someone once said ‘politics is personal.’ I am finding myself angry, frustrated, and deeply saddened at the lack of concern, understanding, and empathy for Dr. Ford, who has alleged being sexually assaulted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
I do not know if she is telling the truth or not, none of us do. My experience as a woman believes she would not subject herself to the continued threats, blaming, accusing, and dismissing she is receiving regarding her allegation. I also know, only too well, that shame keeps us from telling our stories. As women we know we will not be believed the majority of the time and choose not to subject ourselves to being blamed and harassed all over again.
The judiciary committee is so bent on confirming Judge Kavanaugh that they are willing to trample the rights of Dr. Ford. If they really want to find the truth they would ask for an FBI investigation. Why is it they haven’t? The hearing they are proposing is to sit the accused and the accuser next to each other and then begin a barrage of questions. This is not an investigation for the truth, it is a circus where they can preen in front of the cameras. Without a full investigation this scenario of “He says, she says” is untenable and will not get to the truth.
I hoped we had learned something from the Anita Hill hearing in 1991, and from the #MeToo movement. It appears that this all male panel is still locked in their beliefs that “boys will be boys.” What are we telling our young teenage girls and boys today as they listen to the attacks on Dr. Ford.
I hope all are paying close attention to this circus and plan to vote in the Nov. 6th primaries.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know all the scientific information about ant colonies. I just happen to have the privilege of observing one colony over the past two or three years. This colony sits right on the side of a trail I walk almost daily. I’ve watch it grow in the summer, be demolished by winter weather, and grow again the next summer.
I have been mesmerized by the bevy of motion on this ant colony. Movement is everywhere–tiny ants working individually yet in harmony to create such an amazing structure. One day while I was observing the activities I noticed a small stick about one in a half inches long moving across the path. I did a double take, it is not everyday you see a stick moving. There were 8-10 ants working together to bring this stick to the colony. I have so enjoyed the building, maintaining, and working together of this colony of ants.
My thoughts move to how we as humans work together to create towns, cities, countries, social networks we can all live within. At this time in history I feel the divisiveness and hateful rhetoric we hear is diminishing our ability to trust in each other to create the livable communities we so want to build. How do we bring back trust? How do we honor diversity and know it is our differences that create the new? How do we reach out and support our neighbors when so often it feels safer to hole up in our homes? Fear is the driving force of hate–may we find ways to combat the fear of the “other” and build sustainable lives for all of us.
I know the ants are instinctual, and fear is not a part of their living. They just work with each other building a colony for all. May we find ways to reach out to each other and build bridges of understanding.