My religion is kindness.
Welcome to the Reflection for February!
The month of February is one that enfolds heart-centered living. It is the time when we celebrate Valentine’s day, Family Day and Random Acts of Kindness week.
During this month, love is celebrated in many forms:
- Eros, which is romantic love,
- Familial, which is the love that we feel for friends and family,
- Agape, which is unconditional love, often seen as the love God has for us. It is akin to universal love for all.
Demonstrating kindness to one another is a way that we express this unconditional love that wants to live through each one of us. We hear this invitation to be kind come to us through the voices of many traditions and science is proving that kindness is good for us, is helps us feel better, sleep better and live longer. In his book, The Power of Kindness, Piero Ferrucci says that these scientific studies help us understand who we are. If we are healthier when we are caring and open to others, then it means we are born to be kind.
We just feel good when we act toward others with kindness and generosity. Living with kindness opens our hearts, whether we are on the giving or receiving end of it. Acts of kindness and compassion generate feelings of well-being, connection and belonging.
So this month’s Spirit Garden Reflection lifts up the invitation to take to our hearts and explore what it means to love kindness. As you explore what kindness means to you and how it helps you live from your heart, may you be surprised and delighted by the opportunities that present themselves to both give and receive love and kindness.
The audio file below offers a short reflection on Love Kindness. The audio is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences around this theme.
Please print these out before you listen to the audio file. You are invited to pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and take about 20 minutes to listen to the reflection and then answer the questions. May this be a nourishing and replenishing time of some soul tending.
Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions to go along with the reflection on Love Kindness.
At the very heart of belonging is spirituality and the deeply held belief that we are inextricably connected to each other by something greater than us and that something is rooted in love and compassion.
A Song to Close Your Reflection
You may wish to close your reflection by listening to this song, Where I Sit is Holy by Shaina Noll, and watching the beautiful images in the video.
Spirit Garden Moments
Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection. Below is a Spirit Garden Moment inspired by an act of kindness from a stranger. Enjoy!
Receiving Acts of Kindness
In the February Spirit Garden Reflection on Love Kindness, one of the reflection questions was to remember a time when you were on the receiving end of kindness and how it made you feel. Today, I would like to share a recent moment I had of being the recipient of kindness.
In January I joined a Facebook community for those who love art journaling. This group has participants from around the world who have a lot of experience with art journaling. As one who is relatively new to the process, I posted a question asking if anyone had used a certain product, called Gelatos, in their art journaling practice. I wanted to know how the product worked and if it is worth investing in. I received all kinds of responses and advice, which I deeply appreciated. Then, one woman said she had lots of Gelatos and she would be happy to send me some to try. She asked me to email her and send her my address so she could pop some in the mail for me.
I was speechless.
I couldn’t believe her kindness. I also noticed that I had an inner voice saying that I couldn’t possibly allow someone to send me something for free. These Gelato markers are quite expensive. I noticed that I was about to refuse and shut out kindness.
So, I decided to stretch my comfort zone. Instead of responding to her with a polite ‘thank you, but I can’t possibly accept such a generous gift’, I decided to fully breathe in her kindness and generosity. I found it uncomfortable as I formulated an email saying how grateful I was to accept her kind offer. I had to remind myself that she wouldn’t have offered if she didn’t want to do it.
As I opened to receive this kindness from a stranger, I noticed my discomfort. I also noticed my amazement that she truly wanted to do this and I recognized that if I refused her kindness, I would be denying her all of the feel good emotions that come with sharing and being generous.
This whole experience was a lesson for me on giving and receiving kindness. It can be an act of generosity to give…AND…it can be an act of generosity to receive.
We all feel good when we give to others from our heart. In our email exchanges, I could tell this woman genuinely wanted to share with me. She said she had too many Gelatos, she had gotten them on a really good sale. She felt really good about gifting me with some. I felt my heart expand and I felt lighter and brighter as I opened to receive this gift. It was a win-win exchange that brought light and life to each of us.
This is the thing about kindness, it needs somewhere to go. We have to be willing to not only give it, but to receive it as well. This is the flow of kindness; giving and receiving.
It is also the basis for paying it forward, because you know what? By allowing myself to receive her kind gift, I immediately felt my heart open with a desire to turn toward someone else in a similar spirit of generosity. I wanted to keep the flow going. Every time I think of this event and her generosity, I react the same way, I look for an opportunity to keep the kindness going.
In the days to come, may you find yourself opening to breathe in the kindness of others, then breathe it back out, passing it forward to someone else. Together, may we keep the breath of kindness moving.
Connect & Share
Please share any comments about the course in the comments below. Make sure to check out what others are posting and encourage each other!