Kindness BY DONNA DAY © 2022
This Peace Nurturing Practice is kindness.
We choose to be kind to ourselves and others, including those toward whom we feel some resistance or even outright dislike. This isn’t about changing someone else; this is about building our skills of inner peace.
Let’s begin our practice with an act of self-kindness. One of my favorite acts of self-kindness is to go for a walk because it enlivens my body and spirit with the joys of birdsong, friendliness of others through waving or speaking, and the nourishment of communion with trees, clouds, and the sky.
A friend and member of this community, Albert, has a beautiful practice. When he walks, he mentally speaks a mantra such as: “Peace, Love, Kindness.” Each step is accompanied by a word or syllable. Use the guide below and try it. I’ve found by the time I have walked only one block, I feel thoroughly blessed. The longer I walk to the mantra, the better I feel.
- Step one: Peace
- Step two: Love
- Step three: Kind-
- Step four: -ness
You may wish to vary it some such as “Peace, Love, Happiness,” or “Kindness is Love” or “Kindness is Peace.” You may create your own. I look forward to hearing what works best for you.
Starting our day with kindness to ourselves sets the tone for kindness to others. It becomes a joyful game. What kind thing can I do next? What will make my friend or neighbor or a stranger’s day brighter? Listen intently? Put a flower or stone or plant at their door? Sing them a song? Ask how they are and mean it? What kind words can I speak now? To whom?
Perhaps the most kind thing I can do for someone with whom I feel some friction is to refrain from saying anything and simply listen with my heart rather than my mind when they speak. Placing my hand on my heart helps me to make the shift to peaceful listening.
Reflection: Today kindness flowed from and to me and I felt a peaceful inner glow. As usual on my morning walk, I waved to everyone and received several waves and kind sentiments from others. An inner feeling led me to speak to a stranger who, it turned out, was having a tough day. Sharing her worries seemed to help as she was smiling when we parted. Another stranger, now new friend, Maryanne, has recently had surgery and was working hard on each step. I commented on how well she was doing and the next thing I knew, she was sharing about the excellent food from a local restaurant she thought I might enjoy. I left a surprise at a neighbor's door. She had admired a new solar light in my backyard and now she has one too.
Later kindness flowed through another neighbor who went out of her way to share helpful information on plants with me. Another friend called to say, "Hi, how are you?"
Later still, Vincent, a delivery person knocked on my door to let me know of the delivery. “I know you are a kind person,” he said beaming at me, his smile enveloping me in loving kindness. I asked how he might know that about me, and he replied: “from the instructions you sent.” (I had simply thanked him and wished him a peaceful day in my note regarding the delivery.)
As I focused on being kind to myself and others today, I have received great kindness in return. It wasn’t my goal. It is simply the way energy works, begetting more of itself.
As I choose kindness, peace grows within my heart.
Your turn to reflect. How is this practice of kindness working for you?
"Only through kindness and love
can peace of mind be achieved."