747th Week: Embodying Kindness
As I write this practice, I’m at a professional training outside New York City. The trainings are held in a hotel where we have been many times and it recently changed management. What many of us experienced as we arrived for this training was a noticeable difference in the “feel” of the hotel, a noticeable change in how we were met by the front desk, and a noticeable change in the quality of service we have encountered along the way.
At this training, my job is to manage the assisting team, as well as deal with participants who have questions or issues about the team. Each morning, we have a team meeting and take time to connect, settle in, and clear up any problems, questions, or issues that may have arisen during the prior day. One of the things I do as part of our team meeting is to take time for all of us to connect to our individual core presence and internal steadiness and, then, to connect with our collective team presence and steadiness. Our keynote is kindness, and I invite all of us to embody that particular quality as we move through the training days. Our job is to offer supportive containment as well as teaching input.
One of the things I’ve asked the team to keep in mind is to extend that kindness to the hotel building and all its employees. I ask this because we inevitably radiate into our environment the qualities that we carry with us as we move through the world. I can imagine that the employees and building receive a good bit of negative input, given the ways in which the place has changed, and I want to ensure that we don’t add to a collective quality of dissatisfaction, annoyance, and other activating feelings that the changes tend to elicit.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to notice what you radiate into the world as you engage your daily activities. Where you focus your attention matters, so for this week’s practice play with consciously choosing to radiate kindness into your environment. You might have a particular sensation or other felt-sense when you resonate with kindness. There may be a particular image or symbol that elicits an experience of kindness in you. There may be sounds, words, or other ways that enhance your feeling of resonating with kindness.
Cultivating whatever helps you choose to resonate with kindness as you move through your day can become an ongoing practice. Explore the quality of your internal experience when you intentionally orient to the energy of kindness and allow it to travel with you throughout the day. This doesn’t mean there won’t be moments of irritation, anger, or whatever else is a normal response to the challenges that daily living might, at any moment, put in front of you. This is where comfort with mixed feelings is very useful. Simply allowing whatever arises in your awareness to be there, whatever needs to be moved through or corrected, is another useful resource to have available. Being upset doesn’t necessarily mean you have to let go of kindness…
As with all these practices, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise. The goal isn’t to generate a perfect expression of kindness. Instead, it’s an opportunity to notice how choosing kindness as one of the qualities you bring to yourself and your world affects the quality of your inner and outer life.