Niki of The Richness of a Simple Life has issued a Kindness Challenge inviting people to focus on kindness for seven weeks. Each week she’ll be offering a prompt and inviting people to work with that focus and then post about it at the end of the week. Do consider joining us – now is always the right time for adding more kindness to the world.
This first week’s focus was: Be kind and gentle with yourself.
Self-care is something I pay a lot of attention to, both for myself, and with my clients. I really believe that self-care is both an act of self-responsibility and an act of love; and for me there is such an air of kindness when we view it this way.I
I have a number of routines set up for myself that feel kind and gentle and supportive. I like to wake up without an alarm, entering wakefulness gently without jarring suddenness. Luckily my natural rhythm is to rise early so I don’t have to worry about sleeping through any early morning appointments. But I use that early morning time to infuse myself with feel-good supportive energy. I meditate, connect with my guides, and set intentions for the day. I have a gentle movement practice. I anoint myself with oils, adorn myself with jewelry, and use flower essences. All those things feel like kindnesses to myself and a gentle path into my day.
But because part of the “assignment” of this kindness challenge is to pay attention, I made a special point to observe the ways I was being kind to myself this week, and see if I could find ways I wasn’t so I might do something about that as well.
As is so often the case, when you focus on something you see it all around you, and that’s what I experienced this week. So much kindness around me; so many opportunities to show it to myself; so many times when just the topic of kindness came up unexpectedly in things I saw or conversations I overheard. How I love those synchroncities!
For example this week I read a kid’s book Horns & Wrinkles. One of the magical premises is that a bully can be turned into a rhinoceros, but the spell can be undone if the bully performs any simple act of kindness.
I practiced self-kindness this week by spending time in my studio; by spending time in my garden and really stopping to smell the flowers; by indulging each day in one delicious piece of flower-essence-infused chocolate. I began anew my practice to be more nurturing to myself by drinking more water; and when I came across a quote from Langston Hughes I’d never seen before: “Let the rain kiss you” – and it just so happened to be raining out, I took myself outside for a walk.
I often listen to Jennifer Berezan’s album In These Arms, A Song for All Beings. The CD has a couple of bonus tracks including a loving-kindness meditation by Buddhist practitioner Jack Kornfield. But the entire album is really a metta prayer of loving-kindness. It always feels like a kindness to myself when I listen. You can preview it here. For me this is always such a beautiful reminder to hold myself as gently as I wish to hold all other beings.
There are a couple areas where I consistently struggle with self-kindness and so I paid particular attention to those this week – body love and the rather loud internal critic who likes to insist I’m nowhere near productive enough. I’ll be using the next six weeks of this challenge to continue to work to reset those unhelpful and unkind patterns.
What about you? How are you being kind to yourself? Can you make space for more? Do tell – you know I love to hear.