I have already heard the buzzing of the new year commitments by others to make changes in their behaviors! I too have been known, since my teens, to make New Years resolutions and LISTS of things I wanted to do in the new year. Not all were about changing something about myself-yet with each passing year it seemed like what changed was my growing dissatisfaction with myself and the January list was filled with trying to change the outside me.
A few years ago, probably during a new years clean up I found my old journals and most were filled with the same old January entries of lofty goals and attempts to somehow make myself better, more attractive, more lovable by other peoples standards.
This year I did not make any such commitments and only after a recent gathering of Sangha members, in our weekly mindfulness practice group did I discover what it is I am going to focus attention on this year.
It is kindness. Not just kindness to people who are kind and loving, but to all people, animals, all living things-with an extra heaping of kindness for those who are unkind. They need more!
Kindness comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and combinations. It can be as simple as a smile, an extra moment to pause and look into someones eyes when you say hello and smile with your eyes, your mouth, and your heart.
Kindness can be giving someone the benefit of the doubt or some grace in delivering what they promised and may be struggling to deliver on time or in the manner you expected,
I am not letting kindness stop there-oh no! I am including myself in the circle of kindness and offering some grace for not delivering this blog last month during a very challenging and hectic month. You were all on my mind and I have many half written blog articles, but not one was completed and I am letting go of the unreasonable demands I place on myself, at least for now.
Self kindness can be a challenging practice without “mindfulness” because our negative self critical thoughts can be so automatic AND unconscious, unless we slow down and shine the light of attention on them. This is a “practice” that often requires support and I really mean it is a PRACTICE and can take dedication and support to begin to see the magic that happens when we soften our heart toward ourself.
Mother Theresa is said to have this poem written on her door, likely as a reminder even to her to practice kindness under all conditions. Here is a brief excerpt:
Mother Theresa Poem- Do it anyway
People are often unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
To read more of this poem click here: Do it anyway
With the consistent practices from Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) over the past four years, I have grown in self compassion and kindness and discovered that the kinder I am to myself, the kinder I am to others. Want to join me in the adventure of becoming kinder (to yourself)?
I am offering an online short course of Mindful Self compassion (MSC) starting Tuesday February 1st at 7:15 pm EST to 8:30 pm. It will run 6 weeks and deliver a portion of teh teachings and practices from the intensive MSC 8 week course. Even if you took MSC you may find this a great refresher and way to reinforce your prior learning.
To register for MSC Short Course- Click here!
May you be kind and loving to all beings (including yourself),,
With Love and Gratitude,
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at [email protected] to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.
Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org
Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches . Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.