I am so getting into the "listening". A dear friend was having coffee with me and started to tell me a long wonderful story. I listened intrigued, commenting when needed and truly heard her.as I have heard the same story over and over. She has memory loss.
The positive side is. I know the story so well that when she falters in the telling, I fill in the blanks. She says to me "you are amazing how you know exactly what I am going to say". How do you do that?" A beautiful learning for me is hearing her and not letting her know that her memory loss is so bad. I get more out of seeing the joy on her face as she tells this marvelous story. It is a gift to me.
The other day I was standing in line at the drugstore waiting to get a prescription. The man in front of me started to talk to me out of the blue, and I noticed that he was very intoxicated. He was just striking up a normal "how's the weather?" Type of chat, and I pretended to not know that he was "drunk" and just allowed him to speak. I felt my heart fill to bursting with compassion for him in that moment, rather than other more negative reactions I might've had in the past, and when it was his time to get his order, he nodded and smiled at me, with gratitude in his eyes. I could "feel" that he felt "my" lack of reaction to his inebriation and was grateful for it, and I wished him a good day as he left. I'm so happy to be able to be that ... Read Full Story >>
On Saturday, as usual my granddaughter and I went out. We decided to go to the YMCA Sports Club and swim. As I was getting out of the car I noticed that my granddaughter, who is much faster than I am, was bending over in a small green space by the car. I asked her what she was doing. I thought maybe she had found something. To my surprise , she wasn't picking anything up but putting a small plastic gem down for a child to find.
This small act of kindness really warmed my heart. A couple of years ago I had asked her to do small acts of kindness with me but she didn't seem to want to do them with me very often . I thought she had stopped but as she explained every once in a while she would leave a small gift for a child on her own without anybody knowing. I am so proud of her.
We took a road trip this weekend to visit some long-time friends that we don't see very often. This was our first time visiting them ever, yet they've driven half-way across the country several times just to visit us (they are only 6 hours away now). Anyway, I tried to take the opportunity to spread a bit of kindness - I gave away a dove and put post-it notes in all the restrooms. And all of us had a great time just hanging out together and chatting.
There's something great about being with long-time friends: they'll tell you stuff others wouldn't. And so this weekend I was told that I am pretty "bashing" toward a certain group of people. And that surprised me, because I thought I was getting better at that. Because I've been working toward being less judgmental, less negative, more positive, more accepting, just kinder all around. I guess I'm not as far along as I thought I was.
I'm glad he told me. Now I know what needs more work!
A gift of "experience" is being able to share tools and resources with others to keep them from having to start from scratch. This week I did that twice with "competition" in my field. But, as I have learned, their success is also my success and glad I could help them out and save them effort.
We found a nice practice bike at the church sale for the remainder of our time here in Switzerland (and for less than 500 CHF!) a month or so back. Another mama was looking at it first but she didn't have her kid to measure it with so she wasn't going to get it then. I told her we would call her when we are leaving. Since we are leaving in 2 weeks, I called her for her son to have his turn and because it was so inexpensive we can gift it forward!
Some (including myself) frequently feel that we don't have enough, that we struggle to make ends meet. Yet for most of us, like my family, that is just not true. And I'm glad to have learned this here-- I can change my circumstance simply by being thankful for what I have instead of focusing on what I imagine I might be lacking. Yet there are some that truly have nothing. Or not enough. So I've been wanting to make a donation to a US-based, humanist/secular charity in India called Responsible Charity, which, among other things, sponsors slum children into private schools because education is the number one thing you can do to get people out of poverty. Today, as one of the acts of kindness I had planned for June, I signed up for continuous monthly donations of $20, which is enough to sponsor one child's attendance at a private school for one whole ... Read Full Story >>
This past weekend was full of wonderful love and kindness and it all started with a lovely South African couple. I went shopping in the area but without the car. I enjoy my walks and often choose a destination from which I can take a bus back- If I have walked a long distance.
So I went on a beautiful walk and was happily doing my shopping. At the checkout after paying for my bill, I decided to ask for info about the bus. I’d not been able to see the timetable. The lovely lady to whom I’d offered to go first in the queue turned back and asked where I was going. “We are going that way, we can take you”. I enjoyed a beautiful conversation with them in the car and arrived safe, grateful and happy.
Today was a special day for me. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spread a little love and kindness today. I had doctor's appointments in a town that's about 45 minutes from where I live and I enjoy the drive there because I get to see the mountains reveal themselves the further north I travel. After both my appointments were done, I thanked everyone who had tended to me and started walking down from the building ( through a somewhat lengthy breezeway) and I noticed an elderly woman sort of pacing at the end. I excused myself and asked if she was waiting for someone or did she need assistance. As it turns out, she was having trouble walking the distance and had paged for a wheelchair and staff member to pick her up. No one had come for several minutes. Now, let me explain something, Virginia heat, ... Read Full Story >>
The last few weeks I have made a point of talking and listening to people who pass my way. I then also take time to engage them and show I am interested in what they are saying. It takes so little to make people feel comfortable enough to relax and you both end up chatting like old friends. It is marvelous. I am finally making connections and enjoying it. I used to be so scared of people and frightened that they wouldn't like me. Now I think "just give each person that is in my space time and attention. Hey it works. I am feeling so great.
Yesterday morning, I presented Marionne, a close friend of mine, with a chocolate cake on her birthday. I had also sent her a birthday message through an e-card. Later in the morning, I went to her office and gave her a big hug. To my joy and surprise, I got three beautiful thank you e-cards from her, making me feel as if it were my birthday! I was so happy! When you give without expecting anything in return, other than the pure joy of giving and sharing a special moment, you get back more than you can imagine! Keep giving and feel the joy of living!
I had a lovely day yesterday. As I was crossing the street I made a little joke with an older lady and continued on to go shopping. Later I was going to my car and spotted someone in front of me looking lost, the same previous lady. She told me that she had a stroke and a little memory loss.
So we stared a the big parking lot and I asked: "any idea where you might have left the car?" "At the front" was her reply. So we walked on that row and there was her car parked next to mine! We then had a laugh on how things happen. She told me she did 'channeling'. So we talked for an hour and I just let her speak.
She was lonely and I felt I could give her my undivided time. Sometimes that is all a person needs, to just be heard. I took her phone number and will ring her to invite her out for coffee. Life is strange how we are meant to meet some people. I am not into channeling but try to keep an open mind.
My daughter asked me to send my well wishes to a professor of mine. At first I hesitated and then realized why not! Well it turned out beautifully. My professor, JyotiB, responded with the lovely gesture of giving my daughter a flower, hand made from Burma. My heart was so blessed to see my daughter reap the rewards of thinking outside of herself and expressing care to a stranger.
Today at work I learnt an important lesson. To be kind. But not only that, I learnt (and bore the brunt of) it's effects when your not. It was a great reminder how our 'moods' can affect others and rub off on people. I worked reception today and had to do some calling around of members. Members who had recently entered a competition. I was calling to inform them that they were successful and had just been entered into the major draw. One man. The husband who answered his wife's phone, was not kind at all. He was the most negative person I think I have dealt with!!! His wife had just won a chance at winning $28,000 and I was calling to tell him. Yet everything I said he turned, twisted, and made it sound like a 'bad thing'." Are you kidding me?!" I thought. He was obviously having a bad day. I wasn't. ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday my honey inspired me once again. While walking to the car, a woman sitting at a bus stop asked if he had a water. He didn't, but he turned right around and walked a few blocks to the YMCA sports club and bought her one. He went out of his way to be kind in the midst of a busy day.
When he gave her the water, he saw a hawk pass by overhead. Hawks are our personal totem/symbol. How affirming to see one downtown after his act for another. I love my honey. He's the best person I know.
Our fifth grade girls have been having some ongoing issues with each other. Last week, I brought them together as a group and did some dyad (deep listening) practice with them, talked about "I"statements, forgiveness and friendships. They asked if we could meet once a week, "just to talk!" While telling this story to a friend, she mentioned keeping a 'bliss' journal, so that naturally led to a late night trip to the dollar store. While we were in line, my friend took half of the journals and said they were her contribution to the girls. What a pleasant surprise, and a great way to start the topic for the day: kindness! They loved the journals, and kept the kindness quotes I had provided, sticking them on or inside the covers. I am constantly reminded or the responsiveness of children to this work and of the great need for it. They are ... Read Full Story >>
Yosakoi Dance is a gift of one giving their everything. Day and night dancers create time to rehearse to bring smiles to people. Every year, in Japan in June for a few days, the streets are filled with music and dance. Hundreds of Yosakoi dance groups (from 30 to 300 people) share their amazing energy. Over 25 thousand people- students, workers, even mothers (with their less than a year old babies in tow) to over 80 year old grandparents, everyone from all over the country come to participate in the dance. They use every minute of their free time painfully rehearsing their dances, for many hours, every week, for the entire year. What every team member has in common other than hard work and dance, is a great big Smile on their faces! The Dance brought about a very touching moment that was witnessed. Amidst the colorful stage, loud flutes and drums one could see a person ... Read Full Story >>
I used to complain about the shortcomings of other people, particularly when it comes to work. This morning I thought and decided to have a kind way to deal with this. Whatever shortcoming I perceive from someone, in my mind I send him or her a gift to fill it.
For example, when I perceived that someone lacks initiative, I imagined myself wrapping and sending a gift of initiative to that person. When I noticed that someone was sad, I imagined sending her a gift of happiness. This way I was able to avoid being judgmental. And most importantly, I noticed myself becoming more compassionate.
Today, I decided to see the good and speak only of good things about a person whom I found difficulty dealing with. And the miracle was, I indeed saw his good qualities. Lesson learned: challenge a wrong belief for it will be proven to be wrong. The sense of right and wrong is all in the mind. But the sense of goodness is deep down the bottom of our hearts.
Today I helped my brother in law find some jobs on Craig's List that he is qualified for and then helped him with the application process for a couple of them. I know that right now he needs support and someone to believe in him more than he believes in himself. At first I was resisting this being mine to do, but today I just surrendered to loving him and accepting him as he is. I know my acceptance of him is good for both of us.