Assignment #5 – Kindness Blessings

Week 5 : Fully Meet An Opportunity

“I had a wildly irrational thought: ‘This is my friend.'”

Assignment #5Reading: Read the first 9 chapters of Section III, finishing with “Being Fed.” Remember, please read slowly and mindfully. If it helps, imagine that while you are reading you are interacting with a dear friend. Pause and put the book aside when your mind wants to consider something in more depth. Reading this book is about the process, not about being able to say, “I read that book.”

Kind Action: The concept for this week’s action is taken from the chapter “Being Fed.” Rachel describes an interaction a friend of hers had with the Dalai Lama as “an opportunity to meet.” Opportunities like this are being presented to us daily. Spend time this week taking note of these “opportunities to meet” in your life. Then choose at least one and allow it to fill your heart with wonder. To do this, you will need to pay attention to your role in its unfolding and then fulfill it.

Blessings Journal: Summarize your “opportunities to meet” in your journal, whether or not you acted on them. This may entail taking note of them after the fact as it’s likely you will not have recognized some without the benefit of hindsight. The intention in taking time to write these down is to help you become more aware of them as they are happening.

Link to Book: “My Grandfather’s Blessings”

4 Comments

  1. What is an opportunity to meet? Is it a chance to shine or is it an encounter that leaves you feeling good about yourself? Or is it just doing what comes naturally to you? Certainly the example that Remen uses of the Dalai Lama helping her friend get her large pictures back into the bag was just something that happened because of who he is and how he lives.

    After taking kindness classes for three years, I realize that a part of myself that has always existed has now grown to be more a major rather than minor part pf my behavior. When I have the opportunity to be kind, the kindness now flows more frequently from my heart rather than my head. I do not have to think about it, I just do it – am it. Not that I am always kind, but sometimes there is an opportunity to offer kindness to someone that makes you aware that you touched that individual and perhaps helped them in their life struggle.

    For example this week, I have had two opportunities to be a good listener to my young housekeeper whose 65 year old father-in-law is suffering from kidney failure and so far has refused to start dialysis. I have responded with the kindness that one expects from a best friend, but does not always get from those less well known. I gave her not only kindness but love and I felt rewarded by my own actions – my heart had been touched.

  2. My opportunity to meet was a recognition of what I needed for myself one day. I have been quite busy lately and on my day off last Friday, a friend who had a class nearby asked if she and her three kids could stop by for a visit with some picnic food to share. I hadn’t seen her in a few months and looked forward to connecting, but also felt uneasy about adding busyness to the day, knowing our family would be leaving a few hours later to visit both sets of our parents over the weekend. But I didn’t want to miss the chance to see my friend and for our children to play together.

    Friday morning, after dropping my son off at preschool, I headed to the supermarket to pick up a few things to share with our friends. But something kept me from immediately getting out of the car. Gradually I realized I did not want to spend the two hours I had to myself (the first in several weeks) at the grocery store. Instead I bought myself a drink at a coffeeshop and went to a nearby park reserve. I sat and wandered for an hour and a half on the water’s edge, observing wildlife and marveling at the new spring growth all around me. This is my absolute favorite time of year and I felt like I had not yet scknowledged it. I touched the buds, moss and new leaves, feeling a connection and vulnerability open up in myself. The baby green hues and tender leaves led me to consider how quickly our own tender young ones grow and how life carries on through its seasons. The squawking geese and twittering birds made me think of how we all are doing the best we can to prepare for and raise our families. I felt at peace and in place with the life around me.

    The time alone spent in this kind of place (it felt like a sanctuary) was just what my spirit needed. I was so filled up and refreshed when I the kids and I saw our friends (and they didn’t mind in the least that our contributions to the meal came from the pantry instead of the grocery store). This was my story of meeting. I am thankful for the chance to reflect on it here. This class and Rachel Remen’s book have been a wonderful blessing to me.

  3. Your description of the out of doors as you experienced it is so real that I felt I was there with you for a few moments. You are wise to recognize and honor your true wishes.

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