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Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

Fall Flowers

One of my favorite things is to listen to the essays of This I Believe… just hearing the beginning introduction I will pause, stop whatever I am doing, let out a sigh and settle in.  I have yet to listen to one that doesn’t make me think, ponder or look at the world in a slightly different way.

These two ideas from Kevin Kelly and his essay The Universe Is Conspiring To Help Us caught my attention and have been playing in my head and my heart since I heard them…

I have developed a belief about what happens in these moments and it goes like this: Kindness is like a breath. It can be squeezed out, or drawn in. To solicit a gift from a stranger takes a certain state of openness. If you are lost or ill, this is easy, but most days you are neither, so embracing extreme generosity takes some preparation. I learned to think of this as an exchange. During the moment the stranger offers his or her goodness, the person being aided offers degrees of humility, indebtedness, surprise, trust, delight, relief, and amusement to the stranger.

And this…

When the miracle flows, it flows both ways. With each gift the threads of benevolence are knotted, snaring both giver and recipient. I’ve only slowly come to realize that good givers are those who learn to receive with grace as well. They radiate a sense of being indebted and a state of being thankful. As a matter of fact, we are all at the receiving end of a huge gift simply by being alive. Yet, most of us are no good at being helpless, humble or indebted.

One of the gifts that being broken open has taught me is to learn about the heartbeat of generosity, that there is a moment in-between when we allow ourselves to be open enough to receive, or when we can choose to block the gifts that are in front of us.

It has become my prayer to remain open to the gifts, the love, the abundance that is laid before me on my path.

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So much beauty
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
There is no way that I could repay all of the kindness, the gestures and outpouring of love and compassion that I have been offered as I walk, run, stumble and leap with joy on this journey of life, particularly since losing my brother… and these words resonate deeply.  And perhaps that is enough.  And yet to continue to seek out ways that I can pass along that gift- that gift of being seen, of being heard, of being loved so deeply- but remembering that my gratitude alone is enough.
 
 
These past few years have reminded me of how connected we are, how vulnerable and just how strong.  But the one thing I know is that we all benefit from the little kindnesses that we offer every day. This quote reminds me to stop keeping score but instead try to make my life an outpouring of gratitude, to continue to show up and when it is all said and done with every fiber of my being simply say thank you.  And to know that is enough.
 
 

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I shared with you one of my Erica Experiments-  about saying Goodbye to TV.  And the truth of the matter is over the past two years I have been engaging in several other experiments, and I am ready to be brave and share some of them with you.

Here is a short list of what I have been experimenting with:

living with more intention,

saying no more often so I can say YES to the things that matter,

prioritizing differently,

surrounding myself with the positive in a conscious way while embracing those difficult things that are real and need attention like grief and loss,

choosing to turn towards the light,

embracing my flaws and being able to love myself in the midst of, in spite of and because of my imperfections

being vulnerable and courageous.  

learning new language that supports me- speaking to myself life a friend- someone I love, value and cherish rather than someone I have to tolerate.  

learning how to truly accept a compliment

learning how to allow myself to celebrate my achievements instead of constantly looking to the “next” way to prove myself 

thinking about and shifting how I show up in the world,

learning how to see my gifts, learning how to share them,

learning how to fill myself first and how to give from joy and abundance not from feeling like I “have to” or from a space of lack, 

learning that I am worthy of love and belonging

delving more deeply into my relationship with something larger than myself (aka God, the Universe, the Mystery) and shared some of that in the Benedictions post,

taking big leaps with owning my dreams and saying them out loud  

living authentically and being willing to risk dissapointment

learning to tell the truth- to myself and others 

learning big lessons about letting go, about deep trust, about listening to my intuition, about holding myself gently and A LOT about forgiving myself. 

At first I share what I have been learning only with my trusty journal.  And then because I can’t help myself I would strike up a conversation with someone and when I would share my struggle, or my truth, or my learning more often than not they would lean in, their voice would get quiet their eyes searching mine wondering how I could see straight to their heart and and they would whisper “me too”.  Time and time again I realized that I wasn’t alone.

Our hearts our so similar, they are jagged and cracked, tender and bruised and yet they are so beautiful.

In spite of it all here we are- our hearts still beating.  We marvel in wonder at one another’s courage, bravery and we love them so fiercely- and yet we forget to offer ourselves that same fierce love.

And then quotes would be on my Facebook page, I would stumble onto a blog post, or another conversation and I would be reminded that these are things that we all struggle with, that we all muddle through, and so often we do it on our own because we think we are the “only ones.”  And yet, we have this amazing connection, we have all of these wonderful similarities, and so often we don’t reach out to realize how achingly beautiful we all are, how wonderfully tender and resilient we are… we see it in others certainly, but we often refuse to see it in ourselves.

I have a picture of myself as a child on my fridge, now with a picture of my niece next to it and it is striking the similarities.  And wonder when i stopped looking at myself with kind eyes.  When I look at pictures of Annabelle I see a purity of spirit, a tiny human brimming over with love, with innocence and joy.  I see nothing but beauty.  So one of my grand Erica Experiments has been to look at myself through kind eyes.

In pictures when I look with kind eyes I see it all in such a different light, so full of possibility, so tender, so adorable, and I don’t pick apart and analyze any of it.  I think the random curls in her hair are precious and part of the very reason she radiates beauty.

What if we all looked at ourselves with kind eyes.  So that has been my road to self-love lately.  Asking myself to look with kind eyes at myself and the rest of the world.

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