6 Steps to Easter Kindness!

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.

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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: www.sendkidstheworld.com and 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.

About the Author: Anita Neilson is an Author, Spiritual Poet, Blogger and Acts of Kindness Devotee! To connect with Anita visit her blog http://anitaneilson.com; and Facebook Page.

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3 Easy Acts of Kindness from Home

Published in Best Self Magazine 26 Jan ’17 as ‘4-simple-acts-of-kindness’ Article

Estimated Reading time:  5 mins. 

It’s not that difficult to be kind and put others first before our needs and wants.  We just get wound up in the story of our ego and its “what’s in it for me?” attitude to life.  Don’t beat yourself up over this, but instead commit to being kinder this year.  It does take effort at the beginning to retrain your mind to show kindness and compassion, but it’s worth it! Now, for some people who have to spend the majority of their time at home—for one reason or another (ill-health, carer responsibilities, homeworkers and so on)—the idea of spreading kindness can seem pretty daunting.  What if you hardly see anyone during the course of a week?  What if you have a mental or physical disability and can’t get out and about as much as you’d like?  What if you are so painfully shy that interaction with others is terrifying? 

Acts of Kindness appear often in the media.  They can range from an individual starting a campaign to raise funds for someone in need, to whole communities coming together to protect their local shop etc.  These acts of kindness are amazing in themselves and can bring about almost immediate change for the better.   Never underestimate the power of the small acts of kindness however, for these too can have hugely positive effects on the world around us.  Every one of us—regardless of any limitations we may have—is capable of many small acts of kindness every day.  Here are 3 things you can do today from home:

1. Send a message to someone via social media (text, email, facebook, skype etc).
One of my favourite messages is to write about what has made you smile that day and then ask the same question: “What’s made you smile today?”  The replies you receive will also make you smile and it has the added benefit that the recipient will feel that someone cares. If you’re not able to connect with others via social media, then why not start a Happiness Journal at home, listing in it anything that has made you smile on a particular day.  You could record this orally if you have difficulties with writing. This is a brilliant act of kindness to yourself as you will then be able to use this resource to cheer yourself up on a day when you are feeling low.  When you read through some of the entries, you will be reminded that life is mostly good and happy and fun and that today—this low mood—will pass.

2. Do a media audit.  By this I mean asking yourself if the programmes you watch or the news that you read are bringing you joy.  If the answer is No, then stop watching/reading them and replace your media with something else more positive.  This act of kindness will have a dramatic effect on your mental and emotional health, and this will filter through to your relationships with others.  You will be more positive, more understanding, kinder.  Think about a small child who is repeatedly told: “You’re a waste of space.  You’re hopeless. You’ll never amount to anything!”  That child is going to grow up with a pessimistic opinion of him/herself.   S/he will believe these repetitive statements to be the truth.  Why not immerse yourself in positive media instead.  It’s not burying your head in the sand.  It’s simply choosing to focus on the positive.

3. Greet any visitor to your home by looking them in the eyes.  The eyes are the windows to the soul.  The eyes are just as involved in smiling as the mouth is!  We have become so used to going about our business, not interacting with others and certainly not looking them in the eye!  When did this happen?  It reinforces this feeling we have of ‘separateness’ from others.  Yet, we are not separate – we are all interconnected on Earth.  Once we realise this, and that everything we do impacts on others, then life becomes simpler, kinder, more compassionate to others needs.

Extracted from ‘Acts of Kindness from your Armchair’ by Anita Neilson, to be published Nov 2017.

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