The week 2 prompt of the Kindness Challenge issued by Niki of The Richness of a Simple Life was:
Observe the kindness around you.
There’s so much kindness in our world. There really is. I think we’re often discouraged from seeing it because somewhere along the line we made a collective decision that focusing on fear and lack and meanness was a lens that somehow served us. Certainly our news skews in that direction, and as we become ever-increasingly plugged into that matrix 24/7, we’re basically steeping in energy that says we live in an unkind world and everyone is out to harm or take advantage of us.
I don’t believe that though.
It’s true I feel very blessed. I live a mostly quiet and gentle life, and kindness is a frequent visitor. I am grateful for this. But I also believe we have considerable power in shaping what we’re touched by. I hold what I consider to be pretty healthy boundaries. If you’re mean, you’re not welcome in my personal world and I don’t feel obligated to have a relationship with you. I limit my exposure to news from sources I consider toxic. I do my best to monitor my energy and vibration and course correct as I’m able.
The world is not always a beautiful place – don’t misunderstand me and write me off as a Pollyanna. There is pain and sadness and inequity and there is much, much, much that needs and should be done to rectify things. But I do know life is better when we keep our hearts and eyes open to the genuine kindnesses that are there. They are a balm that soothes and helps keep us able to return back into service and our commitment to be a positive force in the world instead of contributing to hardship and separation and hurt.
I saw all sorts of demonstrations of kindness all around me this week. And the best part? I think noticing them and being appreciative ramps up the positive energy and helps it linger longer. It delights me to think that there are dozens of us participating in this simple challenge of paying conscious attention to the kindnesses we see all around us.
While most of the kindnesses we see and experience are small and simple things, I suspect we’ve all be recipients of kindness that is profound and we can hold in our hearts forever. Although all these things happened in the past, I will never forget the nurse who came to sit with me when I first understood someone I loved was dying. Or the gallery owner who gently mentored me when I was barely able to call myself an artist. Or the stranger on the train who first modeled for me behavior that helped me learn to speak up for my rights when I was too young to know how to do it. There have been countless others who have blessed me, and I think we all have the potential to do that as well. So let’s never underestimate the power of kindness, nor dismiss how much it adds to the joy quotient in the world that vastly needs more joy.
I encourage you to take a moment and read this poem, In Praise of Small Kindnesses by Siri Liv Myhrom.
Doesn’t that inspire you to be in the world a bit differently? With a bit more kindness, a bit more compassion, a bit more love?
Good morning Deborah,
What a wonderful post to start my day.
Your philosophy is very similar to mine in what you have said here. I have a very gentle life, and my boundaries are healthy. I don’t listen to a lot of sensational news anymore. It triggers anger, sadness, disgust and desperation about our world today. I don’t think it is Pollyanna-ish to focus on the good, the compassion, the kindness and love. I think in raising our vibration in this way, it spreads to others. We are responsible for the energy we put out there, so why not make it high? There are so many things that hurt me about this world, of which I have no control. I do what I can to change my own local little world in ways I can. My head is not in the sand, but like you said about the love and kindnesses, “They are a balm that soothes and helps keep us able to return back into service and our commitment to be a positive force in the world instead of contributing to hardship and separation and hurt.”
So, I didn’t mean to write a whole post in your comment section, but I just wanted to share that I feel even more kinship with you having read this, this morning.
Thank you for starting me day off with compassion in my heart. Loved the poem too.
Peace and Kindness,
I so appreciate when you stop by and leave your beautiful words Mary. I love how you express the fact that we’re responsible for the energy we put out so why not make it the highest vibration we can. Yes! Wishing you a week of joy and kindness.
How true this is. It’s funny because when I did the course on Akashic Records, my instructor touched on her world being beautiful. It amazed me the way that she spoke of the world and of life. She went on to say that she didn’t live in a bubble, that she wasn’t ignoring what went on in the world around her but she didn’t allow that to penetrate and distort the view that she has of the world. She makes a conscious choice everyday to see the world in a beautiful way and contribute to it by being the best person she can. Your post reminded me exactly what she was referring to. Thank you so much for this week’s contribution 🙂
What a lovely attitude your teacher has, and I think she expressed something important and worth remembering.
I’m delighted to be participating in this challenge Niki – thanks for hosting it and for stopping by. Wishing you a wonderful week.
Your words remind me so much of a teacher I had in high school many many thousands of years ago. Mrs. David said to “view the world with kindness and kindness shall be what the world brings back to you”……..I have tried to live my life with those words guiding me and she was right. The world does treat people more gently when we focus on the good instead of all the bad.
What a wise teacher, and good for you for paying attention! Thanks so much for stopping by Suze and have a wonderful kindness-filled week.
Wonderful post Deborah and really nice to hear from other bloggers doing this challenge that they too find kindness all around. I have to admit for me I’d taken the media world on and let it dispirit me with all the negative stories. That was why I used media hunting for feel good stories in my post. They do exist, as it does in everyday life…but if we forget to look then it can have a very adverse effect on how we view the world. It’s refreshing to step back and feed the kindness hunger to restore balance.
Thank you for sharing this ?
Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by Gary. How wonderful it would be to have an alternate to the “normal” news programming that is instead feel-good. Every person I know who has been able to shift their news viewing habits, reports noticing what a difference it makes. None of us are turning into un-informed fools, but as you said feeling less dispirited.
Wishing a great week filled with kindness.
I have been sort of doing an experiment in the last few years given that my Internet persona has become “A Smile for U from Janet” and since my three children have all worked in retail and I have made a conscious effort to look at the name tags of people who are helping me, in whatever way. At the end of our transaction, wherever it is, I make sure to smile and thank the person by name. In almost all instances, our eyes connect and there is a genuine smile in return from the other person, sometimes a look of surprise that I would take the time to do such a thing. I like to think that something that takes such little effort and no money, can spread some kindness across the world. Call me crazy but maybe the smile I brought to that person’s face will get shared with the next person they deal with and on and on. Have a wonderful Sunday!
Oh I love this Janet. From now on whenever I visit your blog I’ll think about that Smile4U in this new way. I’m smiling back at you.
What a sensitively written post. It is so very true that the kindnesses we offer to others can make an impact on their lives that we will ever know about. That thought alone should make us all the more prone to act always in kindness.
I so agree Bernadette.
Such a soft and gentle flow of thought, even when you address the harshness of the world. It is a kindness received just to read your words. Thank you, Deborah. And thank you for sharing In Praise of Small Kindnesses — it’s a lovely story.
What kind words – thank you. And thanks for stopping by and sharing them. I hope you have a most wonderful week as we continue to explore kindness in our world.
You are so right Deborah. Even though the news feeds us with horrors, crime, terror and violence when we look around we can see so much love and kindness. We even do not have to look hard…
Absolutely Evalina. And may you always find kindness and things that delight your heart.