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.

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The Hidden Power of Nice

The other night, a group of us gathered to discuss The Meaning of Nice by Joan Duncan Oliver. What perhaps was the most interesting part of the whole discussion turned out not to be something anyone said, but something we all experienced – the hidden power of nice. After discussing our initial reaction to the book, we started talking intermittently about things and experiences, which were not nice and those which were. What was interesting was that when we were talking about that which we thought was “not nice,” people’s voices, postures, and body language changed. It was as if they were experiencing that “not nice” moment all over again. Conversely, when we talked about those nice moments and experiences, there was again a shift in the energy in the room. You could hear the power of niceness as people shared stories about individuals and organizations, which had been nice. Last July, Zoe was diagnosed with breast cancer. The last year has been filled with so many nice moments it was hard to know where to begin as the wave of memories washed over me.
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Week 9, Day 2 – Present Time

Hmm, I am sitting here wondering if I have done anything kind today. I am sure I have, but that I am not even aware of it is interesting. When I asked my wife if I did anything kind for her today, as she is the only I have seen, she looked at me like I am crazy. She said, hmm, well obviously you have kept me on track with my school work and kept me out of panic city and that in and of itself is worth a lot of money. When I stopped and thought more about it, I began to see all the little things I do each day not just for my wife, but for our kitties, friends, clients, students, etc. I guess it is just such an inherent part of who I am that I am not always mindful of it anymore. So am I not mindful of it because it is not the present, this morning is the past, or am I just not being present. Zoë can get pretty stressed and off track with her studies, and so she asked me to put a daily schedule together for her as I am the just do it gurl.
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Week 8, Day 1 – Forgiveness

Hmm. The one that really is speaking to me the most is #3. So I guess I will be coming back to this entry for the next week. Isn’t that kind of like life – a work in progressJ? So this morning my first thought was how I just wanted to make it to the bathroom on time and then when I did I was angry because I realized I was having my first period in over a year. I thought I was through with this part of my life. Not really holding any grudges this morning and am at a space where the one thing in my life which is unresolved, well I know in time it is going to be resolved. So that is a good thing. I can live with knowing it is all going to be ok. I think it helped that I have clarification from CDR about what they will do for me as an individual and how I can work to get others involved systemically. So let me take just a moment to pray before I get started with my day.
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