Meditating on kindness

Spending the last 10 days meditating on kindness has been an interesting experience. I thought the guided sessions would focus around how I treat others, but it’s actually more about how I treat myself and being in the moment. It’s made me realize how the true barrier in our lives is not other people. It’s us.

I tell my kids all the time, “You can’t control others’ behavior, you can only control your own.” Great advice, right? I realized I wasn’t listening to it for myself! I often let the reactions and words of others define my own thoughts. Or, allow situations to box me in for too long, thinking I don’t have a choice. At 43- (almost 44) years-old, it’s time for me to learn this lesson! Not that there is an expiration on it, but why not recognize and realize this lesson fully in my own life?

VISUALIZING

I meditate most every morning, usually just for 10 minutes. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I see it as a date with Andy from Headspace (a meditation app on my phone). I look forward to sitting on my yoga bolster next to my space heater, putting my headphones on, turning down the lights and taking a few minutes to drop in. I have found that this centering before I start my workout is a real mind opener. It allows me to calmly and mindfully set my day in motion in a way that I can’t when I just hit the ground running.

During this time of focusing on kindness the meditation exercise has led me through a visualization that lets sunlight into my body, staring at my toes and working through all my limbs, my core, my chest and head. The idea is to hold it there and feel it moving through your physical being, then considering the lightness it brings to your mind and your perspective on yourself. It’s been a wonderful exercise for me and one that I can tap into and use throughout the day when needed.

THE SELF-KINDNESS FACTOR

So, what does it mean to be kind to yourself, or to show yourself kindness? Maybe it’s a twisted up version of the “treat others as you’d want to be treated” idea? In other words treat yourself as you’d want others to treat you.

As I ponder this question, it’s made me realize the importance of being kind to yourself so you can in turn be truly kind to others – because the source of that kindness will then be authentic. Not that I am a raging bully to others when I am challenged with negative self-talk, but I do think it shrouds my kindness towards others in a cloak of insincerity. When in the negative self-talk zone the kindness is coming through a lens impaired by my own negative thinking towards myself, therefore insincere.

FOCUSING ON THE JOURNEY

By changing my focus from tracking goals, long-term planning at every turn, and measuring achievements, I can focus on the now and the steps I’m taking and be in awe. There is also a lightness that has come from allowing myself to enjoy my process, each step, each word typing on the page, each exercise, every exchange I have with another person…and the list goes on. It feels like I’m living more in the moment, in the sunlight. Assessing where I am, not focused on end results and outcomes.

And with that, off to my day – may yours be filled with sunshine and kind thoughts towards yourself.

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