How to be intentionally kind

Bill’s November Tip: Thanks. Giving.

132There’s now a company that can take your age, gender, and health specifics and accurately predict your longevity: They program this data into a wristwatch to assist you in counting down the years, weeks, and days until your probable demise.

I’ve mentioned this device to a few people – most feel the concept is morbid (as do I) but this technology does conjure the question: If I knew how much time I had left, would I live my life differently?

Time Thievery

When someone dies, we mourn. If the deceased is young, we become bewildered – disturbed at how death has cheated him or her out of the ample time allotment we feel we all deserve.

This is because we gauge our lives through a process of linear mapping – a system of measurement based on how much and when: birthdays celebrated, diplomas awarded, salaries earned, vacations taken. If we do not meet the quota, our lives can be considered inconsequential or our deaths tragic.

There seems to be a tipping point in this process, usually reached around retirement age, when we begin reflecting on our lives. We (again) base our assessment on “how much and when”

– but does all of this categorizing accurately measure who we are?

We often overlook an aspect of ourselves that has the greatest potential to impact both the quality of our lives and the lives of others. Although non-quantifiable, this element is readily available to us all, regardless of age, gender, health or social standing.

I am speaking of our ability to be purposefully kind.

The effect kindness has on the world cannot be measured empirically, yet it can be felt exponentially – its impact rippling for decades in those we’ve decided to touch base with, reach out to, and reassure.

Think of your favorite teacher and how his or her intentional nurturing helped shape the person you are today (thanks, Mr. V) or the bosses that saw your potential and took the additional steps to mentor you toward personal and professional betterment (thank you, Steve and John).

Life-Extension through Life-Expansion

Because kindness is cemented by an outward view that is larger than us, our good intentions free us from the limitations and judgments of linear thinking. As we set down this self-involved calculating, our Spirit grows – our lives become more expansive and increasingly impactful.

The best way to guarantee a lasting legacy is to help as many people as possible: Your good intentions will live on in them and the people they touch, as they too, pay it forward

Human – Kind

As we celebrate this November, may we realize our personal possessions and accomplishments are only a slice of a much bigger pie: It is our contribution to the greater good by rallying around the sense of collective kindness that truly defines the experience of being human.

Fernanda’s November Tip: Creating Meaningful Holidays After Trauma or Loss

131The holidays represent the epitome of family celebrations. The food, the gatherings, the gifts, the parties, the smells, they all tease the senses and transport us back to times of sharing, typically joy, but for some the holidays bring on feelings sweet sorrow. After a traumatic event, such as the death of a family member, a divorce, or a tragic accident, the holidays become a reminder of what was and will now, never be the same.

How do you get through the holidays after a traumatic event? You literally craft a new holiday experience that supports where you are emotionally and physically in your life at that time. We all file in line every holiday season and do the same thing year after year. We all have family or personal traditions that we love and we stick to them. However, during a traumatic period you might want to ask yourself if those traditions will feel good to you this year. If the answer is no, try this simple exercise to craft a meaningful holiday for yourself.

Ask yourself what would I like more of around this holiday? There are no right or wrong answers but start with big concepts and then break each one down to a specific set of things that you can do to achieve that goal. Here are some ideas; more peace, calm, nurturing experiences, charity, generosity, and friendship, sleep. Perhaps a nurturing experience for you would be to have your two best friends over for a quiet dinner. Piece together a patchwork of ideas and activities that feed your soul.

Ask yourself what you would like less of around the holidays? Would it be noise, work, stress, fighting. These lists should be long and thoughtful. The key is to then identify how you can achieve less stress for example. One solution might be to not cook as much this holiday season. Let someone else make the turkey, or if Aunt Martha drives you crazy, skip that gathering this year and do something else. Then take all of these more and less ingredients, mix them together and bake them to create a recipe for a happy and peaceful holiday season.

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