Learning about Kindness

Being kind is such an important practice to me. I have experienced so many random acts of kindness in my life and am mindful of how it made me feel. I am also mindful of how I feel when I am able to perform acts of kindness with others. So many people in my life have inspired me with their ability to be kind. It is not that I was jealous of their ability to practice kindness. Rather, they inspired me to possess and develop those same qualities within myself. One of the things I have learned to do is write about those people who intrigue me. As Tristine Rainer suggests, in The New Diary, in doing so I begin to internalize and possess those very qualities.

There have been so many amazingly kind people in my life. The one who taught me the most about kindness is the one who opened her heart and soul to me, my mother. She took an infant that was deemed as “special” by others because of my biraciality and said, “She is mine.” She birthed me in her heart. She taught me that family is not about biological relations, but about love relations.

To her dying day, my mother radiated kindness. Even when she did not know who we were, she pretended as if she did. Something within her never wanted any of us to feel as if she had forgotten us, even though we knew she had. When I think about my relationship with her and all she taught me, one of the common threads was the importance of being kind, well except when you tried to hurt one of her children, then her claws came out and she became incredibly protective of us. She would always tell me to surround myself with people who were loving and kind.

That is what I have tried to do in my life. I have tried to surround myself with people who were loving and kind or who wanted to radiate love and kindness into the world. "Kill them with kindness,” she would so often say. While there were times she did not practice that, the lesson that kindness trumps everything is one that continues to be an important value and belief in my life.

She taught me to look for that glimmer of light and positive energy in everyone. It would help me to be able to be kind to those I did not easily want to be kind to. That ability to see the Divine in everyone I meet continues to help me transform how I see people. While it takes me more time with some people than others, it is something I continue to work on doing.

My mother was always smiling, or at least most of the time. She would remind me that simple acts of kindness like a smile, saying hello, thank you, or opening a door cost nothing but gave so much. Kindness she taught me was something the whole world understandings and that everyone could practice. Even when we were poor and struggling to make ends meet, my mother would say hello, greet people with a smile, and always make sure we had a little something special tucked away for when guests came to visit.

Everyone deserves to feel special she would teach me. Find something special about somebody and tell them how awesome they are. As I have reconnected with some of the people I grew up with, they have commented about how kind and welcoming my mother was. This is not to say she was perfect, but she was the best she could be and taught us some invaluable lessons about the importance of kindness. Mom, if you can hear the vibrations of love pouring out of my heart for you, please know I am so grateful for all you taught me about kindness. I hope this is a legacy I am passing on to others through my word and deed, just like you shared it with me.