Kindness 

Kindness is the greatest of all balms. Rumi

To offer kindness – it must be practiced, much like prayer or meditation, consciously and with intent.  This is not always easy.  If we are irritated or offended – responding with kindness often goes against our immediate reactions.

It requires listening instead of assuming we know the answer or solution. Sometimes it means ‘doing’ nothing – not all situations have a fix. Sometimes our presence is all that is needed. 

And so may we learn to practice- kindness.

Listening in silence…

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The message behind the words is the voice of the heart. Rumi

It seems that I have had much to say recently on the topic of actions and intentions. At the moment it appears, we have plenty of examples in our world that warrants this type of reflection. As I read articles in other venues, I am aware that these topics are on the minds and hearts of many people.

Words are very powerful tools. They can build up or tear down. They can bind us together in security or sprinkle dust of anxiety. We find ourselves at a point in history when many public words are thrown around to create confusion and instill fear. And this is their intention…

Actions leave large impressions on those who witness them. They can encourage people to share goodness by example or carry anger and fear to their extreme. We find ourselves at a point in history when actions are rising in danger, giving permission for the spread of hostility and fear.

These words and actions appear larger than life attempting to destroy trust and community. It is the result of power and greed. We experience those with great power (a power we have bestowed) to tower over those who have little power (a position that has been forced). It is a situation that continues to grow as our culture is overwhelmed with the noisy distraction of talk.

So I ask – Where are the quiet places? The places that allow words to be used only when necessary and the heart’s intention is understood. The places where we begin with trust and build communities designed to care for one another because we believe it is the good and faithful thing to do. Where are these places?

Maybe this is the most important question now. If these quiet places are not found in obvious and welcoming forms then the noise that is dismantling our communities will continue to be successful toward its goal. Are we able to create environments where people can come to find rest from the noise and re-member the importance of trust and compassion? Can we help the great and the small not only talk with one another but work together to show another way of living and serving in this world? I am convinced it can be done and even more certain that people are longing for the invitation to act on the ‘voice of the heart’.

What do you think?! Have you found examples of this happening? Share what you think, what you know and where we can go to see these quiet places in action.

An Unexpected Decision – an unexpected goodbye…

It has been difficult to write on a personal level this week. When emotions run high it is not always easy to focus!

My move to the mountains continues to bring daily blessings. The land is remarkable, the people kind and the future filled with possibilities.

I am beginning my third month in Asheville. There have been an abundance of details to cover. As many of you know, I have not been alone in this journey. My beloved companion, Lilly, has held her own while trying to adjust to the myriad of changes and watch over me. We have not been strangers to changes over the years. Each move or new caregiver has been a challenge taken with the assurance that we could always adjust with one another near.

This move has been different. Lilly has sacrificed her sense of peace as she has tried to figure out what I needed both physically and emotionally. Our schedule has been foreign. New caregivers have continued to come to our door, raising her anxiety about my safety and support. She has never missed a beat with these changes before us but no matter my effort to assure her, she has met these new people and situations on high alert. Her most common action has been to stand between my assistant and myself as if to be the protector. Her loss of appetite has been a real concern – there have been long days in the veterinarian’s office to re-hydrate and continued focus on what food combo would work to encourage her to eat.

During these days of stress I had begun to wonder if she would be able to adjust to this transition. Wishing I could make it alright, I struggled to push away the consideration that Lilly might need to retire and enjoy the freedom of just being a dog. It has felt too soon – I have felt too alone. But to see her struggle made my needs feel selfish.

No one could have convinced me that I would be faced with such a hard decision so early in my new journey. I carried the thoughts of her needs close to my heart while I continued to make home for us. Last weekend, as if my struggles were heard in the heavens, I met a couple who were immediately drawn to Lilly. In a short period I had shared a bit of our story and they expressed an interest in helping any way possible. I left them, Lilly by my side, feeling a strange sense of relief.

As I said in the beginning of this reflection, my blog has been quiet on the personal level this past week. I was too emotional to see this truth in words. After a couple of visits with these new friends, Lilly spent this weekend away – running with other dogs on land fenced and plenty, sharing her natural care-giving with a kind couple and enjoyed the contentment of being a dog. Tonight they came to gather her kennel, bed, toys and blankets. If the week goes as well as the weekend – we will have found her new home in these mountains and begin yet another new moment in this journey.

It is one more goodbye. A goodbye so unexpected. As goodbyes accumulate they become less easy to ignore. There have been many tears rising from deep in my heart. Tears that continue to wash the sadness with a sense of comfort. Even though I know it is the right thing to do, I get irritated with having to be the adult yet one more time.

Standing at the edge of another ‘unknown’ – I can only trust that the one, who has always brought me strength, is ever near. In the words of Julian of Norwich, I rest in the knowledge that ‘All Shall Be Well’.