Last Sunday in yoga class, Lisa, the teacher, read a quote from a book. To paraphrase it, “Kindness is gratitude in action” I have been pondering this since then. This blog, after all, is titled “Journeys of Thankfulness”.
Not too long ago I was told about an interaction between a reporter and the Dalai Lama. She asked him for a brief reply to what was the most important thing he could tell others. His response was “Be Kind”. That was it. Nothing more, nothing less-just Be Kind.
I have been in “The Valley”, Northridge, for Thanksgiving, spending it with Jim’s family. It was a good holiday. Now I am on my way home on the train. While I was waiting for the train I all of a sudden needed a bathroom, badly. I went in and out of several places and was told no bathroom. Then I went into a laundromat and the bathroom required a quarter which I did not have. The woman who was working gave me a quarter and left. That small act of kindness meant the world to me. She didn’t hesitate, not for second. It has made me ponder Kindness again. One thing I know is that I am so grateful for that small act of kindness when I needed it most.
Does gratefulness generate kindness or does kindness generate gratitude? Hmm…I don’t know the answer to this and as I think about it, it really doesn’t matter. What seems important is the act of Kindness. It doesn’t have to be big or small it just needs to be.
That doesn’t sound so hard to do, right? Ha! I know that for me, when I get caught up in the every dayness of things, sometimes I forget to take the time to “Be Kind”. It takes a little bit of time to be kind, maybe a minute. When I am not in a rush or too wrapped up in whatever I am involved with, I do find that it feels good and right to treat others well and help where I can. Look at the jobs I have had in my life, nurse and tour manager. If I didn’t want to help people I would definitely not be in these kinds of professions. But is helping being kind? I think when it is part of your job, some days it can be hard to do more than just get by. The times I have felt most fulfilled are those day where the interaction with others was heart warming and generous. I know there have been more days where this applied than doing my job by rote.
I do thinking helping is part of the act of kindness. Being mindfully grateful is a part of kindness and that is something I do every day, even when I don’t think about it. I make the choice to spend as many moments as possible noticing what’s good about my day, my surroundings, my life, my family, my friends and myself. In the past 4 years I have been the recipient of much kindness. I am so incredibly grateful for the love and support of friends.
As this season gets started I will hold kindness close and take the time to practice mindfully being kind and mindfully being grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
I feel that kindness is path of choice. It can be step beyond helping others who are in need which are obvious choices to be kind. A big step for me years ago came after I made the decision that I’d rather be kind that be right. That can be applied in so many interactions. I found that being kind rather than fighting and pushing against what I disagree with was liberating for me and others. I have a plaque that says “I choose the path of kindness” on my desk. Good choice.
I agree with you Susan. I think all out paths are choices we make. I agree that choosing the path of kindness is a good choice, as long as I remember to be kind to myself as well.
Nice essay on an important topic.