A PAUSE FOR KINDNESS
“Let me be a little kinder, let me be a little blinder to the faults of those around me. Let me praise a little more. Let me be a little cheery with my brother who is weary. Think a little more of others, and a little less of me.”
These lyrics have taken root in my brain, planted many years ago at girl scout camp in central Illinois. I stayed in scouting for the sole reward of two weeks every summer at Camp Tapawingo. Some of my favorite moments at camp included hiking, canoeing, learning survival skills, being with old friends and making new ones, campfires…Wonderful memories I love. Without a doubt, my most beloved activity at camp was singing. At camp we sang by the campfire, when we hiked, when we ate, when we did chores—singing the songs we learned at camp inspired jovialness in me and an abundance of , “Thank you, God!”
When I became a mother and would rock my babies, I found myself singing those old camp songs, remembering all the words from yesteryear. What I called “The Kindness Song” was very dear to me.
Kindness. If there were one wish, hope, desire, I could wave my magic wand to manifest in our world, it would be kindness. What, actually, does it mean to be kind? The dictionary defines kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. To that definition, I would add respect, unselfishness, patience, and presence. So many times we define kindness as the act of being kind, and we never really look at how we choose to show kindness in our world.
To be kind is a choice that doesn’t require education, wealth or social position. Kindness can be a smile, putting someone before my own self-interests, stopping to take the time to be present and available for another soul needing witness and care to become centered. The school of life can teach kindness—the person who refrains from blowing the car’s horn when another car is lingering at a green light; the guy who lets another person with fewer items go ahead of him in line at the grocery store; the runner who stops to help an elderly lady needing help crossing the street—kindness compels us to stop, look, listen and be present to how we may serve creation in the manner we would like to be treated.
The Golden Rule is kindness in a nutshell: Treat others the way I wish to be treated. And to that universal commandment I add, Be present enough to notice the world outside of myself. Kindness is a choice to be present. Kindness is a choice to slow down, stop, and notice others around me. When I notice, I listen for the intuition, guidance and inspiration of how to act, and I choose to act with intention to serve the highest good. In stalled traffic, I let merging cars into my lane. I am late( but attend with a discreet, non-disruptive entrance) to my yoga class because I was fully present to my husband’s detailed accounting of his great golf game. I help my neighbor find her lost cat. These choices to be kind are living the Golden Rule in a way that blesses the giver and the receiver.
When I choose to “be a little kinder”, I’m living my dharma and at one with goodness and possibility. Kindness always creates room for grace and gratitude.
How can I be a little kinder this week?