Be Kind

My beautiful Baptiste yoga sister, Cara, recently taught a community class, and she focused on the impact of unexpected kindness. Somehow when we least expect it, a display of kindness can pull us out of the worst mental funk.

Her quote was, “Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”

Being kind to someone else doesn’t cost you a thing, but it might be the most rewarding for both you and the receiver.

In my journaling workshop this week, I shared that quote and had them write from some prompts:

What form of kindness have you recently received that was unexpected?

How did it make you feel?

What kindness have you given without expectation?

How did it affect that person? Do you know if it did? Did it matter?

How did you feel giving kindness?

Answers ranged from someone showing up at work and being thrilled to see that person, to going the extra mile to do something special for a mom’s birthday. On either end it felt wonderful knowing that someone cared and that you could make someone happy.

Lake with fog and Instagram effect

When I have hit rock bottom, it took love to bring me back. We don’t know what someone else is going through and even if we can’t understand what they are feeling, we can empathize. We can show love, support, and kindness. That is mainly why I write and teach journaling, so that others know there is always hope. There is always love.

Kindness comes in all forms. It doesn’t have to be directed only to you. In my yoga class today, the teacher exuded kindness and wrapped us in her cocoon of love. Not only did I get a great yoga workout, but I felt safe and cared for–exactly what I needed in that moment. After class I told her that, because I wanted her to know she made a difference in my day.

What are other ways you can show kindness?

Smiling at someone who looks sad

Holding the door open for another person, male, female, old or young

Paying for the person’s drink who is next in line

Sending a card or to someone you haven’t seen in a long time or giving them a call

Telling people that you love them. It’s a simple gesture that can turn someone’s day around.

Give a hug.

Don’t forget to do something for yourself that makes you feel good. Kindness to yourself keeps your heart open to share kindness with others.

Think about who you have shown kindness to today. If you haven’t, make a point every day to show love, kindness, and give the same to yourself. You’ll attract the love and kindness you want to see in the world.

Thank you Cara for sharing kindness and your bright spirit!


Taking Responsibility

This summer Dakota and I have gotten into the habit of taking an early morning walk while the rest of the family sleeps on. It’s become sort of a meditation, because he is a meanderer and forces me to slow down.

I thought about this post and what I wanted to write about. The idea of responsibility came to mind as I had been journaling about others taking responsibility. In order to understand what someone else is going through, I try to put myself in their place as much as I can. Even if I cannot completely understand what they are feeling or going through, I can at least empathize and appreciate their feelings.

This idea of taking responsibility for our own actions, past digressions, and happiness keeps coming up. So in order to walk in someone else’s shoes, I thought about my own life. Am I truly taking responsibility for what happens in my life? Do I believe outside forces are responsible for my happiness? Do I blame others wrongfully when something doesn’t go my way?

That’s a lot to think about. On Shark Tank last night (Luke loves this show), one of the investors refused a woman’s product, because he felt she was all over the place. She worked out a lot, had three kids, was trying to market this paleo bar, and also carried another job. He said she put so much effort into everything, that she wasn’t good at the one part they were interested in. She was spread too thin. Now it’s a bit hard to focus on only one aspect of your life when you are a parent and still want to be successful in a career. But she seemed to have a few careers going.

Photo by Alysia Thomas

My husband and I looked at each other. We both pointed our fingers at me. Very often I blame my lack of time for my inability to get work done. But if I really look at it, I have so many projects on the table, it is hard to be successful and not feel harried. Instead of blaming the 24-hour day, I need to look at my priorities, my purpose and goals, and cut out what isn’t serving me anymore. That’s hard to do when I feel responsible for others.

There’s that word again. In a sense, I’m not taking responsibility for what happens in my life. I’m letting others or situations dictate it. And I’m also taking responsibility for others when it’s not my job. But I’m a fixer and a nurturer, so it’s very difficult for me to let others fall. In the end, however, I’m making it worse for them. Everyone needs to grow by failing and getting up on their own.

On a positive note, I know I am responsible for making myself happy and so surround myself with those I love and who love me. Those who empower me and make me laugh. The hard part is making those changes when we aren’t very happy. Knowing what it is and making small changes may be enough, but sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and follow our own path, not others.

As you can see I have a bit of journaling to do about this responsibility topic, but it can wreak havoc on our lives if we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, own it, and move forward.

Are you taking responsibility for what is happening in your life right now? Do you feel you are responsible for your own happiness? If yes, what do you do to create that happiness? If no, who do you feel is and why?

Do you blame others when things go wrong or do you accept your role, take action, apologize if necessary, and move forward? How do you feel either way?

What Does it Mean to Live a Life of Value?

family photo 2008
Most important was teaching my boys to value themselves.

What does it mean to live a life of value, to be valued, to have a valued life? The last two feel¬†external–like others decide if I am of value.

To live a life of value feels personal. But what does it mean to me? What do I deem importance enough to act upon?

–Creating a family and raising strong, compassionate, and kind children.

–Standing up for others.

–Putting myself in someone else’s shoes to empathize with what they are going through or at least appreciate their path, whether or not I agree with it.

–Providing hope through my stories. Sharing lessons of healing.

–Giving back despite or because of my pain.

–Letting those I love know.

–Helping someone/showing kindness–holding a door, picking up an item they dropped when their hands are full, helping a friend in need, smiling at someone I don’t know.

–Giving myself space to create and just be, so I know what my values are.

–Practicing yoga. Taking care of myself.

By writing my values down, I can honestly look at each and see if I am true to them. If not, then I can take appropriate action.

What does living a life of value mean to you? What’s important enough to push you to action?