Posts Tagged With: kindness
“Destiny is a personal adventure. Just as no two snowflakes or fingerprints are alike, every soul comes into this world for a unique purpose. Each of us manifests good according to our own strengths and intentions. Never compare your worth to that of others because you did not accomplish what they did; you were never supposed to be like them. Your highest purpose in life is to be true to yourself. If you honor your personal gifts, intuition, inclinations, and visions, you will fulfill your destiny and serve many others in the process.” ~ Alan Cohen, A Deep Breath of Life
Always remember this fact:
Sweet One, You Are Loved.
“To remember that you are a part of God, that you are loved and lovable, is not arrogant. It’s humble. To think you are anything else is arrogant, because it implies you’re something other than a creation of God. Love is changeless and therefore so are you. Nothing that you have ever done or will ever do can mar your perfection in the eyes of God. You’re deserving in His eyes because of what you are, not because of what you do. What you do or don’t do is not what determines your essential value – your growth perhaps – but not your value. That’s why God is totally approving and accepting of you, exactly as you are.”
~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Jeremiah 31:3 – I have loved you with an everlasting love.
[Images gratefully sourced from Google.com]
Let’s embrace these wise words that Anne Sullivan taught 11-year old Helen Keller as described in the book The Story of My Life: “…the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, but just felt in the heart.” [quote source]
Today I share this touching parable to help crystallize the concept of seeing with our heart:
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time on his back.
The men talked for hours on end. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
“This window overlooks a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans play on the water while children sail their model boats.” the man by the window said. “Young lovers walk arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline can be seen in the distance.”
While the man by the window described this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. His smile growing with every new piece of detail told to him.
One afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although, the other man couldn’t hear the band, any commotion or excitement – he could see it.
One morning, the day nurse entered the room to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. Slowly and painfully, the man propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside that he had heard so much about. He strained to slowly look out the window. It faced a blank wall.
The man was confused and somewhat disappointed. He looked forward to seeing all the wonderful things his roommate had described to him. The park, the lake, the ducks and swans. None of that could be seen from the bedside window.
Feeling a little frustrated the man asked the nurse, “What could have compelled my roommate to lie to me like he did? He described such wonderful things outside this window but nothing he spoke of can be seen. All that is visible is that ugly grey blank wall. Why did he lie to me?”
“Didn’t he tell you?” the nurse responded, “He was blind so he couldn’t see the wall. But maybe he described such wonderful things because they were visions in his mind and he wanted to encourage you?”
The man laid back on his bed and let out a sigh as he softly said, “Yes, that he did.” Then he whispered to himself, “Thank you for sharing your wonderful world, my friend.”
[both images gratefully sourced from Google]
“Oh, would that Christmas lasted the whole year through, as it ought. Would that the spirit of Christmas could live within our hearts every day of the year.” ~Charles Dickens
“If as Herod, we fill our lives with things and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life.” ~Author Unknown
“The image of Christ being born in a manger symbolizes that God comes forth in a place of humility. Spirit seeks not fanfare, human riches or, accolades, but the simplicity of an open heart.” ~Alan Cohen
Wishing each and every one of us, the entire human family that we comprise, a truly peaceful heart and a peaceful loving world. God bless. ~Gina
First image from sandyhaight.com; All others were randomly sourced.
Winter Solstice 2013
“Peace be with you. The darkest day of the year has come. The silence of winter covers the land, and even the waters are still and frozen. Their clarity reflects the purity of heart that we may all claim in this season. Their mirrored surface reflects our insight and understanding. Let us pray, ‘May there be peace on earth and goodwill towards all’.” From the writing of Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. in Pocketful of Miracles
May today be a tipping point towards ever-increasing light and kindness the world over.
Living at the 51st parallel North, the Winter Solstice is an anticipated point of the year. At long last, the globe begins its return to increasing daylight. I feel my spirits lift for I know this cold, northern hemisphere is on its return trip towards summer, more sunlight, and abundant growth.
For us residing this far north, today the sun is up for less than 8 hours – from 8:35 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon. This is less than half the time it’s above the horizon on the Summer Solstice, when it’s up for 16 hours and 33 minutes. I sympathize for those living even farther north. In the extreme north the sun doesn’t rise for a week around the Winter Solstice, only allowing a faint twilight between 9am and 2pm.
As I contemplate this earthly return towards the light, I also envision humanity’s spiritual return towards ever greater light within us all. This is a prayerful time for offering not only the light of our hearts during meditation and prayer, but also to share our light within through genuine smiles and acts of kindness. It needn’t cost a thing as we offer a compliment or a gentle word to a frazzled clerk or shopper. We can anonymously shovel a neighbour’s sidewalk or scrape the ice off their windshield. We can gently offer our arm to a senior traversing an icy parking lot or treacherous section of sidewalk, or our hand to someone who has dropped a bag. We can put up sweet posters on public community boards, offering quotes on hope or faith or joy. Our acts of kindness are only as limited as our imaginations!
Let us turn our faces towards the light and our hearts will inevitably follow. Let us take even one step of action towards kindness and we become an active member of the tipping point of goodness in the world.
I will continue to give thanks for my beeswax candles, Christmas tree lights, and outdoor strings of lights adding cheer and warmly illuminating these long nights. I feel gratitude for the blessings that each day brings, but especially today on the Winter Solstice, I feel a burgeoning hope!
I will joyfully watch for evidence of the lengthening days to start appearing soon, as well as evidence of humankind’s active kindness towards each other. We can all do something that brings ever more light. I will do my part, and let this little light of mine shine. Namaste.
Additional Reading Suggestions:
Please note parts of this post were originally posted here on last year’s Winter Solstice. Also all these posters have been randomly sourced off the internet.
Yesterday as I entered a grocery store I received a nice smile from a silver haired woman who was leaving the store. I broadened my smile in return and it was then that I realized I was already smiling. Just a small, closed mouth smile that softened my eyes and my whole demeanor, and she noticed. She offered a smile in return for my pleasant countenance.
As I walked into that grocery store, list in hand, my smile was blossoming from anticipating all the holiday baking, meals, and appetizers this store would help me make. I was imagining my loved ones’ smiles as they enjoyed the treats I’d be preparing.
I smile because I remember my blessings, such as how I enjoy easy mobility, I have a vehicle and can drive to a nearby grocery store, and I have enough money to purchase what I want. I have a cozy home with a good fridge and stove with pans and utensils to assist me in lovingly preparing foods for my family and friends. Thank You God for every detail of my life. I choose to remember how blessed I am and to show it through my smiling face.
My heart beams with gratitude in remembering how blessed I am. It’s not surprising that I decided to buy yet another Food Bank hamper for the donation box, because in acknowledging my own blessings I am reminded of those who are less fortunate.
Okay, I may not smile quite as broadly as Buddy the Elf here, but I encourage us all to smile out our inner joy! It not only makes you feel better, it brightens up the world around you.
[With gratitude for the makers of these randomly sourced images]
“It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” ~ Claude M. Bristol
While it is genuinely affectionate to slip love-notes into the pockets or lunches of our nearest and dearest, it is truly inspired when we remember to do this for ourselves. ‘Love-notes’ as I like to call them, or Positive Post-it’s, Mirror Affirmations, whatever we name them, are a way to send a message to a deeper part of ourselves.
Just like when we happen across a hidden note sent from a loved one, so too are the notes we leave for ourselves delightful reminders of how truly loveable we really are.
Sure any old hand-written scrap of paper can suffice for a note, but it means so much more when we put some special effort into it, such as selecting a nice paper and carefully using our best handwriting (or a really nice font if we print the note). And this can be an instance when shorter is better. Short and sweet.
Way to GO!
You Light Up My Life.
I’m So Glad You Were Born!
You Make A Big Difference In MY World.
Thank you for all you do. Thank you for being you!
Positive and life-affirming statements help spread love and light. Certainly for others and definitely when we send these messages to ourselves! Here are some ideas for messages can we affirm and send to ourselves.
I am enough.
I speak and think positively.
I am thankful for my blessings.
I am calm, relaxed and peaceful.
I am willing to change and grow.
I am deserving of love and kindness.
I enjoy being, feeling and thinking positive.
Perhaps the most wonderful thing about thinking positive thoughts and feeling positive energy is that it’s essentially self-perpetuating. Just thinking about the ‘bright side’ of every situation (and there is ALWAYS a blessing hidden as a silver lining of that dark cloud) helps to illuminate our hearts so we can ever more easily SEE the positive. It’s like a mental ‘muscle’ that requires practice to build up strength and habit. It gets easier the more dedicatedly we practice.
So let’s practice thinking positive thoughts, about our life, our situations, the people in our lives, and most especially about how we feel about ourselves. Let’s practice and build that muscle of kindness as we think positive thoughts.
Remember this basic affirmation: “I Am Enough.”
And practice this most basic prayer: “Thank You.”
Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘Thank You’ it will be enough.”
“Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever is the attitude of the body; the soul is on its knees.” ~ Victor Hugo
Thoughts are things that move. We must constantly water them with prayerful attention.
Let us affirm: Today I become more aware of my belief system by changing my thinking about any apparent negative occurrence in my life so that the healing can begin. I visualize every part of my body functioning in perfect health. Streams of positive thoughts replace confused thinking. I enjoy an inner awareness and confidence that there is a solution to any situation. Loving thoughts go out and loving people and experiences enter my life. I am truly blessed.
“I water my belief system with joyful and positive thoughts upon awakening and before going to sleep.”
1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
“God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love.” ~ Henry Drummond
“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love.” ~ Jerry Bridges
Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative.
IDENTIFYING NEGATIVE THINKING
Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some forms of negative self-talk:
Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.
Personalizing: When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
Catastrophizing: You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
Polarizing: You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you’re a total failure.
FOCUSING ON POSITIVE THINKING
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you’re creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
Identify areas to change: If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
Check yourself: Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
Be open to humor: Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
Follow a healthy lifestyle: Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
Surround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
Practice positive self-talk: Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.
Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.
Excerpt from MayoClinic.com. With gratitude to the makers of these randomly sourced images.
Life is a Mirror, so let’s smile at ourselves when we look in the mirror. It makes a difference!
With deep gratitude to the makers of these randomly sourced images off the Web.
Today I am sharing an old poem by the ‘People’s Poet’ and it describes the importance of liking ourselves. This is an essential component of raising our self-worth, and strengthening our self-love.
From this foundation we all can see that challenges make life interesting, and the overcoming of them is what makes life worthwhile. We are strong enough for everything we find in our path.
Remember Victor Hugo’s wisdom: “God doesn’t make fruit grow on branches too weak to bear its weight.” This old adage reminds us that if we are given a challenge it means we are up to it, and the stronger we are sometimes the tougher the obstacle. If we find ourself in a rough patch, let’s hold our head high and know that we must be up to the challenge or it wouldn’t have landed in our lap.
Having faith in ourselves and our abilities is sometimes as simple as the ability to lift our heads up off the pillow. It is another day. A new day. And we are here, with ourself. We must like ourselves. After all, we know ourselves the best, and we know how much we have been through.
Sometimes when I take a moment to remember where I came from and all that I have been through, I cannot help but want to pat myself on the back. ‘Way to Go’, I cheer to myself. ‘I’m so glad you’re still here’. Try saying that to yourself and see how much better it makes you feel.
Written by Edgar A. Guest
I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking no one else will ever know
The kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve [people’s] respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
Whatever happens I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
Edgar Guest (1881 – 1959) worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at the age of seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Guest is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, short, upbeat verse. Critics may have occassionally derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the “People’s Poet,” served as Michigan’s poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.
Paul Mark Sutherland found a wonderful verse from Edgar A. Guest. Thanks Paul!
Here’s a couple of my earlier posts with additional poems from Edgar A. Guest:
As my recent theme indicates, the events of last month still linger with me as I ponder how restorative self-love can be, and how dangerous the lack of it is.
This topic is a current passion: to share why being gentle with ourselves as we stumble along this tumultuous path of Life is so important. When we were toddlers learning to walk, we didn’t fall a few times and then give up, thinking “that’s it! I’ll never learn” and sit on our bottoms, hoping to be carried around. No, our instinct to survive and grow is one of the strongest forces there is, and we can still tap into this inner resource.
My heart goes out for anyone who is hurting and feels they are unworthy of being here. I want to reach out to them, hovering on that precipice, and gently offer my hand. I want to bring them back to the world.
A study was done of survivors who had attempted suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Practically every respondent shared that seconds after jumping they could clearly see resolutions for all of the problems they had thought were insurmountable… except for the fact that they had just jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Decades ago, when my young, short-lived, abusive marriage ended, my self-worth was the lowest ever, before or since. That angry hurtful man had so effectively beaten down my spirit (without laying a hand on me) that I felt I could hardly breathe.
I will never forget that sickening belief that I was taking up air… taking up space… and that I was utterly worthless. It was the closest I’d ever come to suicidal thinking and it was a cold, dark, terrifying place. Thankfully my inner spirit has always been strong and I had the presence of mind to seek counselling and it helped me remember how to find my way back to my Truth.
That wasn’t the only trauma I’ve overcome but it was one of the hardest. During this journey of life I have experienced awful woundedness and I personally know the glory of rising above it. And if I can do it, any one can do it! Crawling if we must, we can get back to the Light.
Having felt that icy touch of the darkest of thoughts makes me long to reach out to others who may be lingering in that horrific loneliness. I am deeply saddened that I hadn’t been aware of Nick’s encompassing darkness. His well-hidden sadness must have been so pervasive that he completely lost sense of his value… of his pricelessness. Let us all endeavour to understand our true worth.
As Helen Keller wisely observed, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Learning to genuinely love and accept ourselves goes a long way towards overcoming our woundedness. Let us all remember to look in the mirror with love and kindness, and to treat others gently as well. We are all on our individual paths, which are sometimes rocky, and even the smallest of kindnesses makes a huge difference. We all matter.
As I continue to investigate the healing effects of building our self-worth, I am rediscovering the works of art and wisdom shared from Karen Salmansohn. Here are a couple more treasures from her, with abundant gratitude for the healing light she sends out into the world. May we take these words to heart.
Just as water rises no higher than itself, so too can the love of others enter our hearts only to the level of love we have for ourselves. Let’s remember this and be aware of our self-talk, and cease speaking unkindly about ourselves or others. By finding things to praise, we are building the way up to stronger self worth, for ourselves and for others. We’re all worth it!
With gratitude to the makers of the first randomly sourced images. Last image: Warmest gratitude to the lovely and wise blogger Pat Cegan at Source Of Inspiration.