KINDNESS CHALLENGE WEEK 4

kindness

                       THANK YOU NIKI AT The Richness of a Simple Life FOR HOSTING THIS CHALLENGE.

There were various prompts this week to help the participants exercise their kindness muscles.  The prompt I chose was to listen closely to other people.

I wrote last week that truly listening to another person was a bit of a problem for me.  I found myself doing all the things that make you a less than compassionate listener:

  • I wanted to solve the problem.
  • I was mentally preparing my response.
  • I just plain zoned out on what the person was telling me.

Then to my horror, I caught myself looking over the shoulder of the person who was speaking to me in order to check out who else was in the room.  YIKES!

Well, the Challenge has helped me identify a problem and I practiced listening this week with as much attention as my poor distracted mind would allow.

I can’t say that I didn’t fall into old behavior but I count this week as a win.  I listened with more care and at least was aware when I started to drift off.  I also found that this listening was not just a blessing and kindness to the speaker but also became a blessing for me.  I found that I retained  more of what was said and in certain circumstances made less mistakes due to memory loss.

Happy listening everyone,

bernadette

Kindness Challenge Week 4

kindness

This is the end of Week 4 of Niki’s Kindness Challenge.  Niki’s challenge and other lovely, well written posts can be found at The Richness of a Simple Life.  

Although Niki listed many suggestions for challenging yourself in Week Four, I decided that I would concentrate on the kindness of completely listening.  I thought that this would help me to continue to be aware of when I was making unkind, snap judgements which I discussed in Week 3.

In today’s world filled with so many distractions I think it is not easy to be a good listener.  And then when you add in the extra responsibility of listening with kindness it does indeed become a CHALLENGE.

listening

So how did I define listening with kindness?  “To listen to something demands that your mind be quiet—not mystical quietness, but just quietness. It is only when you listen without ideas and without thoughts, that you are directly in contact, and in being in contact you will understand whether what the other person is saying is true or false.” — Krisnamurti

Why is it so hard to truly listen? Since it’s so difficult for all of us to keep our minds focused and present, it’s no wonder that I found it hard to pay sustained attention to what another person is saying—to be attentive not only to the words but also to the affect and meaning behind those words.

I found that it was difficult not to want to jump in and fix things.   I noticed that I fell into habitual patterns, such interrupting, trying to fix, giving advice, and rehearsing in my mind what I wanted to say.

This has been another very good week of self revelation.  I went into this challenge with one set of expectations and I think that I am going to end this challenge with a completely different set of realizations.

Wishing you a week filled with kindness,

bernadette

KINDNESS CHALLENGE WEEK 3

kindness

I am participating in the kindness challenge directed by Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life.  This is week #3 and the challenge that I concentrated on this week was to be more aware of my thoughts and judgements and to turn these thoughts away from criticism and toward kindness.

This was the most difficult week of the challenge.  I found that my kind thoughts were much rarer than my kind words and deeds.  The difficulty with kind thoughts is that I had to think about the other person instead of making a snap judgement and moving onto thinking about more entertaining things – like myself.

I have made some progress this week.  The progress had come in the form of awareness.  At least now when the thoughtless criticism or judgement comes to mind I am aware of what I am doing.  I have started to examine these moments of thoughtlessness and to slow down enough in my thinking to call myself out on what I am doing.  I started to really think about the person whose actions I so quickly passed judgement upon.  And I have tried to reframe my thinking toward a kinder outcome.

Again, I will tell you that this has been very challenging.  At times I feel like that old cartoon of the devil being on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

devil_angel

I listen to the angel and try to understand the other person’s actions and remove the judgement and find some kind thought to replace the judgement.  And then, the devil leans in and whispers in my ear, “Oh this is just a bunch of baloney; you know that you are right.”

Obviously I still have a lot of work to do as a result of Week #3’s Challenge.

Quotes.Kindness-in-words-creates-confidence.-Kindness-in-thinking-creates-profoundness.-Kindness-in-giving-creates-love

Wishing you a week filled in with kind thoughts,

bernadette

CELEBRATING KINDNESS FOUND

MY WEEKLY THANK YOU NOTE TO GOD.  THANK YOU RUTH AYERS FOR MAKING THIS SPACE AVAILABLE.
MY WEEKLY THANK YOU NOTE TO GOD. THANK YOU RUTH AYERS FOR MAKING THIS SPACE AVAILABLE.

This is the second week of my kindness challenge and the challenge was to observe act of kindness in my everyday life.

It is amazing what a change in my mental framework the effort of focusing on becoming aware of the little acts of kindness that abound in an ordinary day.  The end of this week has left me feeling elated.  My soul and heart have been fed by these acts of kindness.

thelittlegardener_emilyhughes8

“The Little Gardner” Emily Hughes

I am going to share this poem by Ronald Wallace that splendidly illustrates my feelings.

“Blessings”

Blessings
occur.
Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.

All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.

Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.

Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
I can
take it with me.

Wishing you a week where everything goes right,

bernadette

SLICE OF LIFE – KINDNESS CHALLENGE WEEK #2

sols_green
Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity to share your writing.

Yesterday was the start of the second week of my Kindness Challenge.  The challenge this week is to notice the moments of kindness that arise in my day to day experience.

I am really looking forward to this week. I hope to become more mindful of my daily experience by seeking out the evidence of kindness in my daily experience.

Yesterday, I received an Email notifying me that I had received a new follower to my blog.  I went to the web address, http://www.fattymccupcakes.com, to check out their web.

The first post I read was from the teacher named Katie who writes the blog.  It was a post about her desire to teach in the U.K. but she had no idea at all how to go about fulfilling this dream.

I have to admit that I thought the comments were going to run the gamut of:  good luck, live your dream, never give up, etc.  And several of them contained exactly that sentiment but tucked in between those comments were people from the U.K. reaching out to her with offers of assistance – REAL ASSISTANCE!

When I caught up with her latest post, it appears she is well on her way to achieving this goal.

This was a completely unexpected opportunity to witness kindness,  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings.

Wishing you many moments of kindness,

bernadette

KINDNESS CHALLENGE WEEK ONE

kindness

I am participating in Niki’s, The Richness of a Simple Life, seven week Kindness Challenge.  What follow is Niki’s reflection to follow for week one:

Kindness Challenge: Week 1 Focus- Self kindness
MAY 9, 2016 ~ NIKI
Attention all 2016 Kindness Challenge Participants!

“Have you ever heard of the saying that “you have to love yourself before others can love you“? You have to love and accept yourself for who you are before you can expect for someone else to do so. Part of loving yourself is being kind to yourself.
Do you ever find yourself being nicer to others than you are to yourself? Do you think things that if said out loud would make you cringe? Are you too hard on yourself? Too critical? Are your expectations too high? This week the focus is on being kind and gentle with yourself so that you can extend that kindness towards others. How can you treat others the way you want to be treated if you don’t treat yourself that way?”

 

When I signed on for this challenge I didn’t expect it to start out this way.  I signed on because I had become so saddened by the meanness of the rhetoric I was hearing all around me from every forum imaginable.  But kindness to myself?  Surely I had reached an age of maturity when I didn’t beat myself up over shortcoming anymore?

Well, this week taught me I could throw that smug observation out the window.  I have had to face an uncomfortable fact about myself this week.  This fact totally shocked me.  It has rocked my whole idea of who I am and what I am capable of dealing with in my life.  My initial reaction to this news was denial.  But there didn’t seem to be any way to keep denying the situation so I moved on to a very, very reluctant acceptance.  My next instinct was to beat myself up.  I started down that road and then remembered the advise from this challenge.

If someone else told me this story, I would be kind to them.  I would support them.  I would tell them their expectations for taking care of everyone’s problems and not ending up with a problem of your own was unrealistic.

So, I decided to be a friend to myself.

So thank you NiKi for this challenge.  It is funny how the teacher comes when the student is ready.

bernadette

 

 

SLICE OF LIFE – KINDNESS REVISITED

Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity to share your writing.
Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity to share your writing.

A while back I  wrote a post prompted by Earl Dizon on the difference between niceness and kindness.  I gave this a lot of thought because it seemed that the general consensus of opinion was that niceness seemed to lack authentic feeling.

One of the conclusions I came to after doing all this reading and thinking is that kindness is niceness on steroids. It springs from the same well and is activated by need in a time of suffering. I don’t agree with the idea of being nice as being shallow. I am thinking of kindness as a muscle. By daily reputations of niceness, you will build that muscle. So, when you are called upon to act, your kindness muscles are very strong with the muscle memory of being worked daily by niceness reps and do not tire from acting with kindness.

I still agree with the above conclusion.  Over the weekend I happened upon a seven week kindness challenge.

kindness

This challenge started this week and is run by Nikki at The Richness of a Simple Life, http://therichnessofasimplelife.wordpress.com.

In this political year when there seems to be so much unkindness in the world wide web I thought this was just the thing to strengthen my kindness muscle to remind me not just to pay the NICE lip service to differences but to be truly KIND to people who do not share my political point of view.

Wishing you many opportunities to exercise your kindness muscle,

bernadette

KINDNESS CHALLENGE

kindness

In a year where there seems to be a dearth of kindness in the national consciousness and I have struggled not to fall into the fray, I came upon this challenge and have decided it was just the thing I needed.  Perhaps it might be something you might be interested in also.

Reblogged from:

The Richness of a Simple Life
Loving life one post at a time

KINDNESS CHALLENGE

Details & Sign Up

Sign up here for the 2016 Kindness Challenge. The challenge starts May 9, 2016.

 

Details are as follows-

Mark your calendar for the May 9th start date.

Kindness Challenge:

Focus on kindness for 7 weeks following the guide below. At the end of each week, incorporate a post on your blog with your thoughts on the week’s kindness focus. Use photos, a poem, a journal entry, a video, write a song, whatever you feel comfortable using to express your reflection of the week. Not a blogger? No worries! Use your social media accounts to spread the kindness!

Each week I’ll provide the prompts below to help you remember what to focus on for the week and post about at the end. Pingback to the prompt post of the week so that others can find your reflections of each week. We’ll use the tag “RevofKindness” or #RevofKindness to get more exposure and integrate this kindness revolution outside of the blogosphere. Feel free to save the badge at the end of this post to display on your page or use for each post.

KindnessChallenge

RevofKindness
Save this badge to display on your blog, wall or post to show you are participating! Want to take it a step further? Link back to this page!
It’s never too late to sign up or start the challenge. I do encourage you to start from week 1 even if you start after the challenge has begun because of the way the challenge progresses.

I can’t wait to go on this journey with you! Sign up by commenting in the comments section below!

-Niki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SLICE OF LIFE: NICE VS. KIND

Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity  to share your writing.
Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity to share your writing.

On Sunday I was reading Earl Dizon’s, The Chronicles of a Children’s Book Writer,  post.  Earl was discussing the difference between being a nice person and a kind person.  He felt as though he was a very nice person and does very many nice things for other people and organizations but that he wasn’t truly kind.

Earl took his individual thoughts and extrapolated them to the world in light of all the horrible bombings and killings and felt that the citizens of our planet lacked kindness for each other.

This post, more than any other that I have read lately, gave me pause to think.  My mind has been all over the map about this idea of being a nice person versus a kind person.

After I read Earl’s post I read an article in Meditation Magazine by Kevin Ellerton that totally shot holes in my definition of what a nice person is:

The definition of nice is someone who is pleasant or agreeable or something that is in good condition and that is pleasing. An example of nice is a description for a person who is friendly and who everyone likes. 

BOY HOLDS SCHOOL DOOR OPEN FOR GIRL, 1965
BOY HOLDS SCHOOL DOOR OPEN FOR GIRL, 1965

According to this article the nice person is focused on himself – he does nice things in order to be perceived by others and himself as a “nice” person.

THE DEFINITION OF A KIND PERSON IS HAVING OR SHOWING A TENDER AND CONSIDERATE AND HELPFUL NATURE; USED ESPECIALLY OF PERSONS AND THEIR BEHAVIOR, CHARACTERIZED BY MERCY AND COMPASSION.

kindness

Again according to this article a kind person is focused on others – all he wants is to relieve the suffering of the living creature in front of him.

One of the conclusions I came to after doing all this reading and thinking is that kindness is niceness on steroids.  It springs from the same well and is activated by need in a time of suffering.  I don’t agree with the idea of being nice as being shallow.  I am thinking of kindness as a muscle.  By daily reputations of niceness, you will build that muscle.  So, when you are called upon to act, your kindness muscles are very strong with the muscle memory of being worked daily by niceness reps and do not tire from acting kindly.

Earl is starting a kindness project.  If you are interested in learning more about it you can reach him at  earldizon [at] gmail [dot] com or The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer – Earl Dizon.

Wishing your days are filled with niceness and kindness,

Bernadette

 

DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE HARD ALL THE TIME? MAYBE NOT.

churchill

I had to travel overnight to Florida last week.  I had an appointment to attend a court hearing.  I was dreading this hearing because I knew that the experience was going to be emotionally sad and I was going to have to keep my feelings in check without the help of Dom or my friends.

I arrived at the airport to find out that the flight was going to be delayed.  Great, I thought.  Now I have more time to sit around and stew over the upcoming hearing.  Next thing I know, the plane is going to not only be late but the airline changed the gate from C35 to A26.  If you know anything about Philadelphia Airport, then you know this entailed walking almost a mile to get from to C to A.  So off I trudged to A.

As I was stewing and fuming and trudging, I came upon an elderly woman standing alone with a very perplexed look on her face.  She saw my glance and asked me if I new where gate A26 was located.  I told her that was where I was going and she replied that she was so relieved because she could follow me.  I said sure, follow me, and kept walking.  Not walking with her mind you, just trudging off at the same speed.  Finally some sense of kindness surfaced in my soul.  I glanced back and saw that she was struggling to keep up with me.

 Now this kindness and decency stuff can be a real pain when you feel like you don’t have room for even one more pea on your plate.  I said to God, “Do you have to make everything so hard?  I don’t need to take care of anyone else today.”  But, the reply from my soul came back loud and clear.  “That might be you someday.  Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?”  So I reluctantly stopped and let her catch up with me and then changed my cadence from a trudge to a stroll.

Of course, you all know how this ends.  She was a lovely woman.  She had lived all over the world.  Her conversation lifted the black cloud that was surrounding me and I was reminded that kindness isn’t hard.

Wishing you a week filled with kind encounters,

Bernadette

 SLICE OF LIFE