Published in KINDRED SPIRIT Magazine Online · MARCH 17, 2017.
Estimated reading time: 4 mins.
Kindness is our natural state of being and it is essential to nourish this innate capacity throughout the year. However, when we gather together at times of celebration such as Easter, it’s especially important to show love and kindness to ourselves and others, and give thanks for all our blessings. Outlined below are the 6 steps to Easter kindness (E.A.S.T.E.R.) that all of us can take to lighten and brighten our lives and the world around us.
E for Elimination
Lent (the six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday) is a time of renunciation, when many of us choose to forgo a bad habit (perhaps an over-indulgence in food or alcohol, excessive swearing etc.).The best way I have found to temper fear and temptation is through love and kindness. Here are some ways to show kindness to yourself and others under the first heading of Elimination:
- take some quiet time for yourself this Easter. In meditation or periods of rest, use the symbolism of the fire and ashes to hand over any bad habits of thought or behaviour. Let them be consumed by a spiritual fire to be recreated as purity and positivity. Continue in this new positive vein and eliminate them permanently!
- have a physical clear out of your home and or office. Get rid of unnecessary clutter to give yourself more space and clarity of thought. Donate items to charities, give other items away, sell some you no longer want and if you can afford to do so, give the money to charity.
- Encourage your children to donate an item for other children to enjoy.
A for Acceptance
Accept others for who they are and not who you want them to be. We hold mental images of perfection in our minds about our loved ones and are disappointed when they do not attain these high standards. Next time you are about to have an argument with your partner about the mess or not taking the trash out, for example, stop and say to yourself: “I’d rather have the mess/the trash than not have him/her”. Keep saying this each time. We all have our ingrained habits and opinions which are very difficult to change and it is pointless trying to control people. Let them be who they are and take delight in your differences!
S for Sharing
The giving of eggs has been used by Christians around the world at Easter time to symbolize new life and also the empty tomb of Jesus after he rose from the dead. Here are some additional ways to share your good fortune with others this Easter:
- buy an extra Easter egg to give to either a food bank or a neighbour;
- give your time to someone this Easter;
- give other symbols of new life, such as plant seedlings, to a local nursery or primary school.
- Easter is a fun festival for children. Consider making a donation to a charity such as Unicef which protects all children around the world.
T for Transforming
Spare a thought this Easter time for people who are struggling—mentally, physically, emotionally. A few words of encouragement can transform someone’s day (or life!). Here are two schemes which you might like to take part in: http://www.sendkidstheworld.com and http://www.moreloveletters.com. These are easily done from home and you can involve your children, encouraging them to think of others.
E for Energising
Analyse what needs re-energising in your life. Is it your work/life balance; health and fitness; spiritual health; relationships with family, friends or work colleagues. Choose one aspect every week and concentrate on ways in which this can be re-energised. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- go for refreshing, revitalising walks after work to clear your mind;
- physically speak to colleagues sometimes rather than always sending emails;
- go to the yoga or meditation classes which had caught your eye;
- help out at your church food bank or other charitable group;
- give people your full attention when they are talking to you, looking them in the eye.
R for Remembering
After an Easter celebration, remember others who are not as fortunate as you. Below are some easy ways to do this:
- donate some chocolate or flowers to a local nursing home where many residents rarely or never receive visitors or presents. How kind to remember them in your thoughts and acts!
- encourage the children to accompany you so that they may learn to be respectful of and thoughtful to the older generation.
- remember the ancestors who have gone before. Think of the gifts they bestowed on you (physical attributes, financial legacy, good upbringing and so on) and share this gratitude with the next generation.
All of us can be happier and more fulfilled by allowing kindness to come to the forefront of our daily lives. When we remember to think of others, it fills us with gratitude for all our blessings. Whatever you are doing this Easter, I wish you a joyful time of celebration, love and kindness.