“Kind to walk home with her just to the end of the street but no further, so as to spare her any looks and questions.”
Reading : Read chapters 1-7. Read with a highlighter pen and mark your favorite passages. Pay attention to what stands out for you. Take notes about this with the book closed.
Kind Action : Choose a passage from this week’s reading that speaks to you and let it inspire a related kind action. For instance, using the passage above (from the first paragraph of chapter 3) I might consider ways I can be thoughtful for a stranger without causing her/him to be uncomfortable with my presence. This might be as simple as crossing to the other side of the street when encountering a young woman walking toward me alone.
Storytelling : While you are reading, pay special attention to any connections you make from the story to the stories in your life. Choose one of these and write it up. Then edit it to a point where it is succinct, no more than three short paragraphs.
Comments Section : If you’re willing, post two messages this week. In the first, introduce yourself in a way that feels genuine to you. In the second, share with us either a summary of your experience completing your kind action or your 3 paragraph story. Feel free to comment on the postings of others, too.
My first entry this week 🙂
My name is Megan. After going through a very challenging time following the breakdown of my marriage, I turned my life around and dedicated it to helping other people. I am committed to kindness, positivity and increasing both of these qualities in our world. I love people. I believe that everyone deserves love and kindness, empathy and tolerance. I’m not afraid to admit I am vulnerable, and soft, and sensitive, and sometimes scared. But above all I am optimistic, and loving.
Megan, I so admire what you have done. You have turned a very difficult life experience into a very positive change in your life. Not everyone is able to do that and as such I want to note how good it makes me feel to know that there are those who are able to make such a transformation to become who they really want to be.
It is interesting that you and I are in the same practicing kindness class because while my transformation is not nearly so dramatic, I have for the last three years, (I am now 68 years old.) begun to so much more aware on inner needs, to become a kinder, more generous person. I know that person has been inside me all these years and has been wanting to blossom, but some of my life experiences had gotten in the way. In my case it is very liberating to be allow our better person to flourish.
Hello Linda!! :-). It’s so lovely to see you again!! So glad you are doing this course also.
And thank you for your lovely words and encouragement – that means a lot.
And what you were saying about life experiences getting in the way really resonated with me. During my marriage I was so drained from just existing each day, that I didn’t have time or energy for anything else. It feels so ‘right’ to embrace my inner nature and dreams and intention. And allow them to shine through.
Love & blessings to you,
Reading the book last night, this passage really resonated with me:
“Once she had unlatched the door and stepped outside and felt the sun on her face and that the sun had a little warmth in it, she did not mind it after all and forgot she had prayed for rain and greyness. And that was as always too.”
I have found that even in the dark times – of which I have known many – that our spirit is always strong. Our will to keep going, and to find the joy in life may be dulled sometimes, but it is rarely extinguished.
If we can just keep going – put our heads down, and trust in ourselves, then we can make it.
And when we have known true pain, distress and suffering, and yet we have triumphed, the small things in life become significant. The sun warming our skin, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of laughter.
In Chapter 7, Eve’s bitter sister Miriam lashes out at Eve…. “She felt Miriam’s own rage and the hurt and jealousy coming from her hot breath, and knew that enough had been said and that she herself must simply absorb it all and not strike back.” I have struggled all my adult life with being angry and saying hurtful things that can so easily leap from my lips. It is both nice to see in a novel that I am not alone with my bad habit but also to see a character who KNOWS what the right thing to do is and succeeds. Eve is almost a saint in my eyes – but in what parable is the character not an ideal?
I am working very hard on this bad habit because my husband is having major problems with short term memory issues. At first I struggled with the impact of his loss on me – never knowing when he would remember something, getting angry when he denied that I had told him of an important phone call, or seeming not to care that he cannot remember where he is supposed to put a particular pan (it is his job to do the dishes and put them away in their appropriate place so I can find them to do my job, the cooking.)
Recently I had a shift of understanding. I was the loser in two ways, one I was always angry or frustrated, and two because he had no recollection of my words, I was not going to be able to convince him that I had told him something. I will not say I have found a perfect solution to the problem but it is so much more pleasant to feel compassion for his loss rather than to get tied in knots because my husband who has always had an almost encyclopedic memory can no longer remember the words I speak, whether we have kissed goodnight (if we follow the kiss with talk before he turns to go to sleep) or whether he is telling me a story for the third time.
Linda – that is so beautiful. Your discovery, and how you have turned a very difficult situation around in order to feel compassion.
I’m playing catch-up here as my copy of the book didn’t arrive until yesterday. So let me dive in.
Firstly, this is not the type of book I| would ordinarily read… However there are several parts in the 1-7 that really resonate for me, particularly (big time) the loss/death of a child.
My first born daughter was killed some years ago in a really stupid car accident. She was a 31 yr old woman in the prime of her life and just about to commit to a long term relationship with a really nice, kind, caring man. I was devastated by the loss, fortunately the people I was with when I received the news were amazing angels who really helped and supported me in uncovering the great gift my daughter gave me at that time.
I honestly believe that when a person dies they gift us with a lesson that if we are willing to walk with them they will show us an insight into our true nature. I feel that this is one of the most breathtaking acts of kindness that we all hold for those who are closest to us in our Earth walk.
At the time of her death I was just before I was due to participate in workshop called “Love, Loss and Foregiveness” being run by Micheal Murphy at a budhist retreat centre on the south west coast of Ireland.
My two angels were fellow participants in the course and also from Belgium. We hadn’t known each other before this course.
On getting the news I didn’t know wether to continue with the workshop or not. I spoke to my partner and with my two angels an deiced to at least talk with Michael and see how he felt about the situation.
On arrivel at the retreat centre we found Michael and explained the situation. He was deeply understanding and I decided to stay for the workshop.
As it turned out, my daughter’s gift was/is huge. There were 24 people at the residential workshop. Mike started the first evening off with a talking stick circle. Whoever in the circle holds the talking stick can speak, all the rest must remain silent, when the stick holder has finished speaking they place the stick into the centre of the circle. Mike started by explaining my situation and then handing the stick to me saying “Please, tell us about your daughter”. It was a while before I could speak, but the words began to flow. I was not really aware of whether or not the words made any sense or not or how others were reacting. I was just following something that I couldn’t quite understand but seemed to want to lead me to aplce of inner stillness, healing and understanding. at the end I placed the stick back in the centre of the circle and returned to my seat. There was a definite hushed silence, followed by a palpable collective inhale. Mike closed the circle very simply and sent us all to our respective sleeping arrangements. I was completely exhausted and slept like a log with only the sound of the Atlantic breaking on the cliffs below my window.
The next day was revaltional. It turned out that there were 8 other people in the group who had lost one or more children! I was staggered by how many of us there were in this situation and it quickly became apparent that none of us had really grieved for our losses. The rest of the week centred around these unrequited losses and the start on the road to healing them.
For myself I was constantly aware of the presence of my daughter during the whole of the workshop. A presence of light and love that was so gentle, subtle and pervasive. I was moved to tears many times during the week both by my own insights and seeing how other people were working through their own grief and by how my daughter had helped them to start healing the loss they had been living with.
So I guess my first act of kindness is taking or at least starting to take greater responsibility for who I am, what I say and what I choose to do. My daughter’s death has been the greatest gift in opening me up to the immediate present moment and understanding that life only takes place here and now.
Thank you so much for sharing your story of loss. I was greatly saddened and was crying by the end of your post. My sister lost her only child, her 43 year old son, nine months ago. She and my brother who has no children and myself and my younger sister who lost her husband at fifty have all been struggling with this untimely and unexpected loss. I will send her your comments and hope that they might help her in her process.
Thank you for your openness in speaking about the loss you and your family are faced with. It’s always hard, in our culture, to speak about death and the emptiness that is left by the departed. Others feel so uncomfortable around the topic. It was certainly a taboo subject in my own family. I no longer believe that death has to be a process like this. I truly believe that death is a really perfect part of life, living and loving. It is a transition, something to be actually celebrated rather than mourned (this was the gift in my Father’s death).
For me it always come back to the gift that the departed has left for me in thier departure, albeit sometimes a hidden one. Death itself can sometimes be a grace that alleviates long term pain, physical, emotional or spiritual, or, the numbness of a coma, or, the drawn outness of cancer or altzheimers. In any case death b ecomes a more familiar companion the older we get.
There are many things we can do to enter into a deeper understanding about the nature of death and things that we can do to help the transition being undergone by the person who has died or is dieing. This comment is perhaps to short a space to go into details about this. Know that I am avialable if you want to take this offline and into email. contact me at email@example.com.
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