In these holiday times we often spend too much of our energy rushing around in a panic, busily completing our little projects. While I believe that our motivation is a generous one, perhaps you like me are working hard to make things just perfect for everyone. Problem is that we go crazy in the process, becoming a victim of the pace we create for ourselves.
The Sandy Hook tragedy broke my heart and gave me a reminder of what really matters. And while there is widespread concern about gun control, what I'm thrilled about is the extraordinary wave of kindness that is flooding the nation as a result. So, what will it take to remember to look beyond our all-important agenda -- hurry, hurry! Late one night while I stared at the ceiling I realized I was an addict of getting things done at the expense of taking more time to reach out to others with heartfelt kindness.
The next day I received an email from my sister that hit the nail on the head:
"For some reason I am more behind than usual -- refuse to panic although
I keep trying -- will just plug along. Screw perfection -- just get it done to an acceptable level."
How important can our worries about doing things perfectly be, compared to a loving focus on kindness for others? Is the card right, how is the wrapping, should we have a party for the neighbors, will the family like their gifts? Truth is everyone else is just doing what they're doing and not at all worried about what we do -- whatever we do will be appreciated and however we do it will be fine.
Time to let go because if I don't I'll lose myself in the process. I'm in danger of forgetting what the holidays and life are all about. What matters is doing the best we can to practice true loving kindness, a genuine desire to act in pursuit of the others' happiness. Having attention outside of myself is far different than trying to please others or getting them to love me. What truly brings me joy is focusing on others, listening with love, and providing what they need because that's what creates happiness.
The benefits emerging from the practice of loving kindness are boundless:
- A powerful energy that shifts the way things are going -- just watch
- Infectious loving kindness coming from others
- Sense of ease and peace
- Natural expression of love and appreciation
- Fun and laughter
- Warm hearts -- lasting memories
- And more than you can imagine
One of the most common conversations I've heard since Sandy Hook is "Yes, we care now, but this too will fade as time goes by. It always does." So I really want to keep the Sandy Hook loving kindness epidemic alive, and here's what I have in mind:
- Start by expressing loving kindness for yourself -- stop pushing so hard
- Listen to your inner critics, not as the enemy but as a source of wisdom
- ractice random acts of kindness -- the possibilities are endless
- Ask for help, e.g., don't suffer over the stove alone, rather make it a game and bring the party to the kitchen
- Say thanks as often as possible
- Give compliments frequently
- Make someone's day
- What else?
Let's stop worrying about getting it all done -- it never happens anyway, does it? The older I get the more I notice that somehow it all turns out anyway.
Please join me and make your holidays merrier than ever. I wish you and yours a happy and memorable time and a new year in which we generate loving kindness everywhere we go!
Leave a comment below or write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear your experience of practicing loving kindness.
For more about Best Year Yet, click here.
For more by Jinny Ditzler, click here.
For more on the spirit, click here.