Years ago a friend asked me, “If there were one word on your headstone that completed this sentence, “She was a_______________woman”, what would you want it to be?”
Kind, I replied. Definitely kind.
When I look back on 2018 I look for where kindness has cast ripples outward, creating gentle sailing for those around me. Amidst their smooth waters I see currents where discord arose because of something I did or said. I choose forgiveness and keep moving into my heart. As I move into the moment, casting my thoughts to the year ahead, I whisper a prayer of gratitude for so many opportunities to learn and grow and make a plea for courage and strength to carry me forward.
Let kindness infuse each step. Let kindness be my ripple effect.
From kindness, acts of courage, of compassion, or greatness evolve. Joy rises, within me and around me. Love radiates from me and through me and all around me.
From kindness, I soften my heart, gentle my words and smooth my spirit’s journey. When I look more kindly upon myself, I see the world as a kinder place.
From kindness, I step softly into the world, conscious of where my footprints tread, conscious of the footprints I leave behind. May my footprints disturb no one with ripples of discord.
Ah but, you say. In this world, how can you tread anywhere without disturbing someone? Don’t you have to be a ‘yes girl’ to not disturb anyone? Doesn’t that make you weak?
Not when I stand true to my beliefs. To my values. Not when I express my truth, in Love, without fearing the outcome.
But… Isn’t that like not leaving your mark on life? On the world? Don’t you want to make a difference?
Yes. I do. Want to make a difference.
And I want my difference to be remembered in how people feel about themselves, their lives, their possibilities. Not about me.
Working at a homeless shelter I am greeted with countless opportunities everyday to be kind. To be caring. To be compassionate and tolerant and fair.
With those we serve.
Where I am not so kind and caring and compassionate and tolerant is with the people on ‘the other-side of the street’. On mainstreet. The world ‘out there’. With those I consider, in my judgement and not so kind viewpoint, should know better.
When we know better we do better.
And sometimes, I view some of those I meet on ‘mainstreet’ as lacking in the knowing they need to do better.
And sometimes, in my determination of what ‘they lack’, I am less than kind, less than compassionate, less than tolerant.
Hello? Who am I kidding? Who am I to criticize?
I cannot be kind with some, and not with others and think of myself as a woman of integrity. I cannot create compassion in some corners of my world and carry discord in others without jeopardizing my peace of mind. And when I am intolerant with some, including myself, I am creating a world of discord around me.
It is the 100% accountability factor.
To be a woman of integrity. To radiate joy and peace and harmony throughout my world, I must move through myself and every moment, every encounter in Love, creating a ripple effect of kindness, compassion and tolerance all around me.
It is the way to happiness. To peace of mind. To calmness of spirit and soul. It is the way.
Because, no matter how much I might think I’m fooling myself that what I am saying is ‘the truth’ when I speak disrespectfully of someone else or treat them with little care or thought of the impact of my words or actions, I am acting without integrity. I am not being kind.
And so, I turn the mirror back to me and look lovingly upon the cloudy imperfection of my reflection.
In loving kindness, I accept the one I see and let go of the fear she will never be enough.
She already is. In all her human imperfections.
We all are.