After a magical, uplifting, and relaxing trip to Colorado for a book signing of my new book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age, and a much needed vacation, it hit me especially hard to return to the harsh reality of the hate growing in our country, when I woke up on Saturday, October 27 and heard about the tragedy of the killing of 11 congregants at a synagogue in Pennsylvania. Sunday, as I prepared for my radio show, I couldn’t shake my own feeling of devastation and hopelessness. Which each of these tragic events, happening almost weekly, the ground beneath me has felt more and more shaky. I was preparing to go on-air that Sunday with my radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and I always aim to be hopeful and uplifting, even when discussing difficult topics on the program. How could I do this, when I, myself, could not get my mind to focus and I felt such darkness, I wondered. I know that we all have moment when we feel that we lose our way, but I don’t give up and I don’t want my listeners to give up either.
I sat on my meditation pillow and allowed myself to breathe. I felt that my purpose in that moment was to find hope so that I could create some shred of healing with the show that day. For awhile, I let the heaviness just be. The darkness hovered around me. The thing is that, when we allow our emotions to be as they are, remaining mindful of them, the heaviness and the darkness often both begin to lighten on their own and glimmers of light, hope, and inspiration creep in. “Kindness,” I thought. “That’s our super power to eradicate the darkness of hate.” And I knew that this is what I needed to talk about on the program. I re-read the chapter about kindness in The Passionate Life (Chapter 18: “Kindness and Giving Without Expectation”) and thought about it in the context of the events of the weekend. I knew, as I read and meditated on it, this was the right path. I had written a blog about the topic of the power of kindness almost two years ago, The Benefits of Kindness and Generosity, right here in Thrive Global. Now, it seems, we need to enact this superpower more than ever!
As I spoke on the program, I could feel a sense of meaning and peace, as I knew that this is the track to take, that we are not helpless. Kindness is our superpower, perhaps our only power in the ever-growing environment of anger and violence. “In a world menaced by all kinds of destructiveness, loving-kindness in deed, word, and thought is the only constructive means to bring concord, peace and mutual understanding,” writes Parami: The Buddhist Home in their article, “Compassion and Loving Kindness.”
The yoga teacher, Jonathan Troen, returned to my show last week to talk about his new program, Self-Love Revolution. “If everyone were to truly love themselves, then there would be no need for war,” he told me before the program. I whole-heartedly agree. True self-love is not ego-driven narcissism, but an understanding that we are each enough and then there is no need for hate, jealousy, or greed. And it also leads to the understanding that we are all connected so that hurting someone else would be hurting ourselves…and because we love ourselves, we would not want to do that. One way of getting to this difficult point of loving ourselves is through kindness and generosity of spirit.
Psychiatrist, Dr. Viktor Fankl, wrote in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning,from his experience as a prisoner of two concentration camps during the Holocaust, those people who were the most resilient were those who found meaning by helping fellow prisoners, even if all they had to offer was a crumb. “We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed….When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves.”
The benefits of simple acts of kindness are plentiful and powerful.Furthermore, when someone acts in a kind manner to us, we are more likely to feel inspired to act kindly to others. This effects the recipients of our kindness in a similar manner and this spreads the kindness further and further. No only that, but it inspires those who witness such acts to feel inspired to be kind, themselves. At this moment in time, kindness and generosity of spirit may be the key to saving the world. We are certainly living in unsettling times. I strongly believe that love prevails, even when things appear bleak. And, together, I believe, we can heal ourselves and the world with one generous act of kindness at a time.
Try this: Take a moment each morning to ask yourself, “What can I do today to bring light into the world?”
November 13 was World Kindness Day, introduced in 1988 by The World Kindness Movement, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) of the United Nations. In celebration of this date, we were invited to commit at least one random act of kindness. Why don’t we just try to do this every day? What will you do today to be part of the solution?
The above blog is an excerpt of Dr. Mara’s Newsletter: November 13 — Happy World Kindness Day. Read the whole newsletterHERE! Andsign upto receive The Passionate Life Newsletter in your in-box rightHERE!
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