Kindness traits in action

This post is for my #healingwordsthu and is an extract from my book, Acts of Kindness from your Armchair.

Chapter 6, Kind thoughts, words and acts.  Practice 7:  Kindness traits in action

Look at the kindness traits below.   Make a note of each one (*please use free downloadable pdf worksheets to accompany this Practice if you prefer) and beside each one write down any events, however small, where you feel you have made progress in embedding these traits of kindness more deeply in yourself.  It may be helpful to have two columns as outlined below with some examples:

Goodwill:                                I noticed when I was judging a friend unfairly and replaced this with a positive thought.

Benevolence:                          I joined in a prayer for wisdom for world leaders as they met to discuss a way forward for war-torn Syria.

Charity:                                   When entering a competition, I affirmed to myself that I would give some of the winnings to charity.

Compassion:                           I watched a tv programme and felt compassion for one of the celebrities who seemed lonely.

Generosity:                             Upon receiving four small gifts from my sister, I spontaneously offered one each of the gifts to my other sisters.

Humanity:                               I felt sympathy for people in the world who still have to walk miles to collect water each day.  I will no longer waste water.

Kindliness:                              I played Hunt the Food with the dogs instead of ignoring them to watch tv.

Philanthropy:                          I bought one of a friend’s paintings to encourage her in her art.

Understanding:                      I put myself in my husband’s shoes after I had cajoled him about something he hadn’t done and realised that it doesn’t feel good to be the recipient of this.

Other examples of how you have shown kindness traits in action could be:  perhaps you have thought more charitably of refugees fleeing for their lives; perhaps you became aware that you were about to say something negative about yourself or others and you stopped yourself and instead remained silent; perhaps you hugged a friend who needed emotional support and so on.  Note down the ones which you have experienced.  Read this list often, and add to it, and you will be amazed at what kindness your heart is capable of.

Kind thoughts:

 “If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him….if a man speaks

or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

– The Twin Verses, Buddha.

Thoughts create our reality:  acts of kindness result from kind words which themselves originate in kind thoughts.  The Law of Attraction has fascinated many scholars throughout history from the Buddha to Albert Einstein to Christian Larson (The Optimist’s Creed) and more recently Rhonda Byrne (The Secret, The Magic) to name a few.  It proposes that our thoughts create our reality and what we think, say and do will be the reality that we attract back to ourselves at some point.   For example, if we think and say that life is unfair, that bad things always happen to us, that we are never lucky and so on these negative thoughts of lack are the reality that we create for ourselves and therefore we will always think of ourselves as a victim in life because it doesn’t go the way we want it to.  These thoughts lead us to negative emotional patterns where our lack of success – as we see it – may result in us experiencing bitterness and discontent.

With the support of a Cognitive Behavioural (or Holistic) therapist, we can learn that it is beneficial to think of compassionate alternatives to challenge anxiety and negative thoughts.  This gradually leads to much improved mood and motivation.   We are retraining ourselves to think more positively and attract a better reality for ourselves.  Instead of adopting the victim mentality of:  “I will fail, I’m not going to try”, we would say for example: “What is the worst that can happen?”  or “It might be fun!”  So, be kind.  Notice when you are being negative about yourself, acknowledge it when it happens and immediately change the thoughts or words to something positive.  Keep practising this and it will eventually become a new automatic mode of behaviour.

I hope you have enjoyed this section of my book, the content of which came from my personal experiences working towards finding new purpose in life through kindness. Om Shanti!  Anita.

Perfect Reflections

This post is for Debbie Roth’s   #forgivingconnects and my #healingwordsmon and it’s about non-judgement.  Today’s poem is an extract from Perfect Reflections (which will appear in my new book).

Show me Your light
In the evil deeds of men
For dost not evil
Merely cover the good in them?
Show me Your light
In hurtful, vengeful words
For dost not pain
Merely cover forgotten love?
Give me the strength, Lord,
To proclaim what is true:
That we are all
Perfect Reflections of You.

– taken from the poem Perfect Reflections by Anita Neilson.

I have to say right up that I have been very judgemental in life.  This all began with a childhood habit which grew into an ugly spiritual boil before bursting a few years ago.  Only then, could I see my behaviour for what it was – embedded in fear.  Fear of difference.  But ironically, now I realise that every person we come across is different, unique, and to surround myself in this bubble of fear was only hurting myself.   And yet, I choose not to beat myself up over this.  I forgive myself for my years of judging on appearances; of laughing at those less pretty or clever than I; of being a little too spoilt for my own good.

Now that’s not to say I don’t struggle with showing love to those who commit acts of evil in the misguided belief that it will bring them the happiness they seek.  But they are on their own journey through many lifetimes, just as we are on ours.  We’re all at different stages, and who am I to say that my way is the right way?  I know that there will be others who compare themselves favourably with my ‘misguided’ standards.  It’s such a tricky one this.  Yes, show love and understanding to people who do bad things but also speak out if others are being harmed.  I’d value your thoughts on this dilemma, because I do battle with this.  Anita.

Compassion

On technicalities:

Okay, so I’m learning already this week about how to use hashtags so that they are discoverable and no-one else has used them.  Yikes!  It’s a minefield, but the secret for me is to tread very carefully (which if my mother were still alive would make her giggle, as she used to say I was like a bull in a china shop!)🐂🙂

*****

Compassion:

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is that as you write, you pause from time to time and think, “Why did I use that word?”, “Where does that word come from?”  That’s what I was thinking when I decided to write about compassion.  The word seems to derive from Latin compassio which itself is translated from the Greek sympatheia.  So to embody compassion, we must have sympathy, pity, empathy with someone.  In other words, we share their pain at that moment.  And when a problem is shared, we are half way to solving it, aren’t we?

Compassion is something which I lacked in my younger adult life.  Like many people, I was so entwined in the material world seeking my happiness there, with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, that it hardened my heart over time.  I had (subconsciously even) locked the door of my heart so that no pain could hurt me and no harm could come to me.  I know now, of course, that life doesn’t work like that.   We have to open our heart and let the light flood in, be brave enough to analyse ourselves and change our bad habits.  For it is through our choices in life that we create for ourselves either pain and harm or joy and success.   When we become aware of this and decide to change, only then can pain and harm no longer trouble us.   I was blessed to go through this awakening life transition around 9 years ago when chronic ill-health struck.  It afforded me the space and time to do this inner work, and to start to see the world around me and everything in it in its true light:  a cosmic dance of energy.  Through my own suffering,  I could finally empathise with others’ suffering.  The door to compassion had been wedged open.

My husband, on the other hand, is one of those naturally kind and compassionate people.  He is truly inspiring, helping others instinctively with no thought of reward.  He is happy to describe himself as my carer.  I don’t need help with everything, but as I have chronic fatigue and daily pain which pops up in random places, there are some things I can’t manage, like showering, drying hair, housework (no great loss!), shopping and so on.  Anyway, whenever he does something to help me, I always thank him, and he replies (affecting a silly voice) “Everything I do, I do for you.”

Now, lock me up if you think I’ve gone mad (and even if I were, why would you?) but I’ve come to the realisation recently that God or my Guru (which are really one and the same for me because my Guru is the mouthpiece for a silent God) are at times speaking to me through my husband (and others, but that’s another post!). Let me explain.  As part of my meditation every day, I chant mantras translated from Sanskrit, or I say Christian prayers.  But sometimes the archaic language is a barrier to my devotion.  All I really want is a simple mantra that sums it all up:  how I want to get closer to God and live a good life helping others.  Something like, “Everything I do, I do for you”!  When my husband says it, he is addressing me;  when I say it, I am addressing God and Guru.  It’s perfect.

* * * * *

For this week’s #healingwordsthu  I wanted to highlight an amazingly beautiful YouTube video 40 acts of compassion by Micah Christian.    

These are just a few of the acts of compassion mentioned in this short 5 minute video.  You may have heard of many of them before, but to make a difference, we know that it’s no longer enough just to read and perhaps leave nice feedback.  We also need to make the right choice to put inspiration into practice.  We need to act.

TODAY:  Take 5 minutes out of your busy day.  Watch the video and let it inspire you!  Now, here’s the most important part – commit to putting one or two of the ideas into action in your life.

  • Leave a room cleaner than you found it
  • Ask people to donate to a charity you specify instead of giving you gifts for birthdays
  • Pick up rubbish (or dog poo) on the ground instead of stepping over it
  • Register to be an organ donor
  • Talk to a cashier when they are serving you and ask how their day is going….and really listen to their answer
  • Give up your seat on a bus or train to someone who looks tired

Have a great weekend. Much love, Anita.💙

Random Acts of Kindness Day 2018

February 17th 2018 is Random Acts of Kindness Day!  For something a little different, my offering to you today is 3 ways to show kindness to the animal kingdom.  Many people believe that before we incarnated as humans, we spent many other incarnations as lower forms of life, including mineral and animal, so let’s remember to be kind to our animal friends today and every day.  Here are some easy ways to make a difference:

Commit to buying only free range eggs.

They are much tastier and the conditions in which the chickens are housed are much healthier and kinder than being cooped up in tiny cages in a warehouse-sized shed with thousands of other chickens, never seeing the light of day and with no room to stretch their feathers.  Not a good existence.  Free range chickens on the other hand are allowed to roam free outdoors during the day and feed on a varied diet.  The welfare of our animals is becoming more important to us as consumers.  Yes, free range eggs are more expensive but this is an ethical choice you can make to cherish and empathise with all life on Earth.

                             image: Pixabay.

Take children to see animals in their natural environment.

Please don’t take children to zoos.  Wouldn’t it be kinder to show children/grandchildren that animals are not meant for our entertainment.  They should be allowed to roam free in their natural environment where ever possible (although I do understand that some species are endangered and a few of the larger zoos carry out vital conservation work).   Instead, take children to the park to see the ducks in the pond, or go seal watching on a remote beach while on holiday.  Take part in a nature survey online, counting the birds that appear in your garden, and so on.

                          image:  Pixabay.

Buy bars of soap

You know Grannie wasn’t all wrong.  Good ‘old-fashioned’ bars of soap are now experiencing an upsurge in popularity.  The newer versions are free from parabens (chemical preservatives which have hormone-disrupting properties) and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate – a foaming agent, also xeno-estrogenic).  Make sure the soap you buy doesn’t contain these unnecessary chemicals.   If you can’t find these in supermarkets, you can buy them online.  Try beautynaturals.com or hollandandbarratt.com for starters.

Also, watch out for packaging.   In an effort to cut down on unnecessary plastic packaging, I ordered some eco bars of soap from Faith in Nature instead of my usual liquid hand soap in plastic containers, only to find that the soap arrived wrapped in plastic.  Aagh!    Try a bamboo soap dish instead of a plastic one.

                           image:  Pixabay

 

I hope these suggestions have been thought-provoking.  Have a wonderful day!  Anita.☺

 

How to show kindness this St. Valentine’s Day!

Sometimes we all just need a reminder of what love is in all its aspects:  kind thoughts, acts and words; respect for each other; tolerance of differences; support through life’s challenges; understanding; humility to admit our mistakes; and so on.   The Feast of St. Valentine’s on 14th February each year reminds us to cherish our loved ones, not just our partner, but siblings, parents, friends, members of church or social groupings etc.    Have a wonderful day!  Anita.