Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Mantra: The Casualties of Kindness

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: If we want the world to be a better place, we must act in kindness, we must live in kindness, we must demonstrate kindness in everything we do.

The other day I was in the parking lot of my local grocery store, trying to find the closest spot to the front doors so as to avoid Death by Arizona Summer Sun. I noticed an open spot down a row of cars, but I also noticed another gentleman in a nearby car who seemed to have seen the same thing. Assuming he had beat me to it, visually anyway, I went ahead and turned down the aisle but kept going past the open spot, to the next available parking location a few more cars down. Behind me, I noticed him turn in and grab it up.

I parked, got out, and started walking past all the cars, speedily trying to get to the store and all of its beautiful air conditioning awesomeness. As I neared the entrance, a gentleman called out to me from behind a truck.

"Miss! Miss, was that you that let me take this spot?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, but I really think it was yours to begin with. I'm sure you spotted it before me," I responded.

"Well," he said, "My legs aren't as good as they used to be and I really appreciate you letting me take it."

I glanced down for a moment to where his hands were gesturing and noticed, for the first time, what he was saying. His legs were swollen and bruised and somewhat off looking. He was visibly standing slightly slanted and couldn't quite move with the normal ease most people have. It occurred to me then that his gratitude was more than just one friendly stranger thanking another for a cool parking spot on a hot summer day. His gratitude was an act of kindness. A gift he was freely giving that I hadn't really earned. I had simply parked somewhere else. He, on the other hand, had gone out of his way to thank me because this tiny, tiny moment had made all the difference to him.

As my eyes started to tear up a little bit, I thanked him for his kindness and he, obviously being a good soul, continued thanking me. We did this little dance for just a moment longer before we parted ways.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about this, wondering how often I had missed my own opportunity to thank someone for their good deeds. I wondered how often I had truly earned another person's kindness. I questioned whether or not I was putting my best, kindest self forward in this world.

I'm asking you to ask yourself these same things.

We must allow ourselves to be tender, open, compassionate. We must learn to be soft and vulnerable in a hard and tough world. We must give freely without expecting anything in return.

Somewhere, somehow, your kindness will make a difference. It will ripple and move and crash into someone and they will, in turn, probably without even realizing it, pass it to someone else.

These are the casualties of kindness. This is an epidemic of the heart.

We are the ones who must spread it.

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