This week marked the final challenge in Niki Meadow’s The Kindness Challenge, and the prompt was “to be grateful for kindness.”
Given that kindness and gratitude are both subjects dear to my heart, I really felt in my element this week. I absolutely consider myself a very blessed person – I love almost everything about my life. But that’s not to say that I don’t have challenges and sadnesses, or places where I’m stuck or wobbly – just like everyone else on this planet. But I am certain about one thing. My life is better with a gratitude practice. It truly is.
I whole-heartedly believe that gratitude and appreciation are some of the most expansive energies you can dance with. Gratitude places you in the joy of the moment, AND it opens the door to welcoming more.
I think many of us, and particularly those dear beings who find their way here repeatedly to read my musings, understand we all hold core truths that help us navigate our life journey. There is great value in often turning to those truths in a conscious reflective way.
For me, one of the most valuable bits of wisdom I hold and treasure comes from Connie Kaplan (from her book The Invisible Garment):
“Gratitude is the deep understanding that life is a gift, not a burden or an assignment… When one experiences Gratitude, one remembers the wonder of creation.”
I think holding that perspective goes hand-in-hand with kindness. When we commit to living our gift – living our life as fully and deeply and expressively as we can, I think kindness is a welcome companion on that walk. We necessarily hold all in compassion, including ourselves, knowing sometimes the journey is harder and sometimes a bit of kindness offered or graciously received can shift things radically. And we remember that even the smallest kindness can open our eyes to glimpsing even more beauty around us.
My gratitude practice has shifted and morphed countless times and I hold that to be a good thing. I think we should always review our practices periodically and see if they’re still useful and keep them fresh and current. For a long time I spent time before going to sleep recounting the things I was grateful for, and that’s certainly a lovely energy to drift off to sleep in. But these days I’m keeping it as part of my morning practices. I think it’s beneficial to consciously tune our frequency to higher vibration, and I’m finding consciously acknowledging what I’m grateful for early in the day is a lovely way to start.
But I do think it’s a fair question, and one I’ve had some deep conversations around – how do we stay in gratitude, how do we hold on to kindness, in the midst of tragedy, in the aftermath of expressions of hatred and fear that shows just how broken we are as a collective?
And to this I say: This is not a world for the unbrave. We must choose love, and love, and love, again, and again, and again. When our hearts are broken; when we’re in the fire of resistance and small-mindedness and fear that gets expressed as hatred; when grief brings us to our knees and threatens to keep us there forever. There is so much for us to do – so many ways we can be moved into action that expresses the highest and best of who we are. It is times like this when we are called to stay open – to expand our ability to give love, to hold compassion, to remember we’re all so much more alike than any differences between us. And it is a time to remember to be open to receiving love as well. Let’s not forget to acknowledge the kindnesses that show up in our world, that fill our tender hearts and make it easier to continue our journey.
I encourage us to all live by the beautiful wisdom Rumi shared:
“Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”
Isn’t that a beautiful invitation?
I think part of being an awakened human is a commitment to try to always be mindful. To pay attention to what is unfolding, what is occurring, what is showing up. I believe this serves us in every aspect of our life, and yet a gratitude practice can be a brilliant way to hone this skill to master level. I love to think of myself on the joy trail, and I love imagining I have my eyes peeled for all the blessings lining the way. That’s awareness.
I’ve quite enjoyed this Kindness Challenge journey over these past weeks and its encouragement to fine-tune our awareness and practices. It’s been a lovely experience keeping kindness in the forefront of my attention, and I hope you’ve found all manner of new awarenesses as well. May we all be ambassadors of kindness and hold each other in love.
When I read your uplifting post, petals fluttered around me. I’m grateful that we connected through the Kindness Challenge. May you always “dance in the joy of the moment.”
I’m grateful we’ve connected as well. And what could be better than through the lens of kindness!
Hi Deborah – love Rumi’s quote … and it’s good to read Kindness Challenge entries … reminding us that there are so many things to be thankful for – in these times of challenge we seem to have got ourselves into … think and focus on our own lives, help others, be compassionate and not add difficulties into the mix. Thank you – cheers Hilary
I think you’ve summed up perfectly how I’d like to be able to show up in the world Hilary. I always appreciate your clarity!
Thank you Deborah so much, this is very uplifting and a wonderful reminder of being grateful for everything – life is indeed a gift, even those dark moments which sometimes we come across. Love more, be kinder more, be grateful, more –
I like the idea of waking in the morning and practising gratitude then – it would be a lovely way to align one’s self for the day ahead and to be more aware of the blessings that come our way.
I think gratitude, kindness, and compassion are three core things that serve us exponentially. When those darker more wobbly times show up, as they always do, it’s good to be able to hold them in perspective.
Hi, Your writing sounds like petals dropping. That is a great string of words from Rumi. I enjoyed reading this post. It makes me feel light and good…
Oh that makes me smile Julia! It’s been fun traveling the Kindness Challenge with you, and I hope you had as much fun as I did.
It has been a while since I have been on WordPress very much. 7 months really.
I have missed your kindness challenge until this one. Wow. I love this entry, Deborah.
Gratitude is my favorite way of being. Like you, it brings me to the moment and all the beauty and gifts in each one. This post is so beautifully written, and went straight into my heart like blossoms. Thank you. I have missed you. So nice to visit here today.
With love and gratitude,
I’m so delighted you’re back Mary! I appreciate you stopping by and am grateful for your kind words.
Gratitude is such a powerful energy and when we can find our way to it, so much magic unfolds. It like thinking of it as one of the universe’s biggest secrets. 🙂
I’m also grateful to see you’ve posted on your blog. You’ve been missed, and your post is a welcome treat. Wishing you all the best always!
“Gratitude is the deep understanding that life is a gift, not a burden or an assignment…” I love this! Life is a gift to be thankful for not something to simply plod through looking for something else.
Indeed. And that shift in understanding makes all the difference in the world doesn’t it?
I really appreciate your outlook on the challenge! It is hard to choose kindness in the difficult moments of life, but it’s important to try. I like that you shift your gratitude practice from time to time. That is realistic and means you’re evolving too!
I agree Jenn, it’s important we keep trying. We all have wobbles and find things challenging but when we hold ourselves and others with compassion it becomes easier to re-point ourselves in the preferred direction. And yes, yes, yes to always continuing to evolve, to expand, to moving into clarity and alignment.
Thank you so much for participating once again, Deborah. Your posts are always uplifting and enlightening. I’m so grateful to connect with a kindred spirit. What a beautiful post. I particularly like how you touched on love being a choice. Kindness, gratitude, love, are all choices we have to make daily, and often times several times throughout the day. Thank you for all of your reminders and truths you’ve shared. May love and kindness continue to be abundant in your life. <3 <3 <3
Thank you for your kind words and wishes Niki. I certainly enjoyed participating and steeping myself in the conscious journey of kindness as well as following along with the other players. Thanks for your dedication and efforts in hosting the challenge, creating the prompts and then remarkably visiting all the posts – you are a shining example of kindness. And may you always be met with the same.
Somehow my reader didn’t ‘save’ site, so I missed quit a lot of your latest post. I’ve just read the posts of week 6 and 7 about the Kindness Challenge. Thank you for sharing your musings full of wisdom. To me you are a true Beautiful Soul and I loved being temporarily walking (writing) on the same path as you.
I’ve learned about myself – especially by reading your post, I still have a lot to learn, but that’s to me THE goal of life 😉 So again, thank you!
Big hug, XxX
Thank you for your kind words Patty. I, too, enjoyed being on the “kindness trail” with you. And yes, yes, yes, to continually learning, growing, expanding, and evolving! Wishing you a journey filled with great kindness and much joy always.