It’s hard to be kind to anyone if you can’t be kind to yourself. My cup was depleted, or at least pretty close to it. It took so much effort to extend any kindness that it was easier just to isolate myself until the feeling blew over (and that definitely wasn’t what I needed).
I know, right?! I’ve talked about filling your cup and giving from the overflow and I’ve mentioned how radical self-love and taking time for yourself isn’t selfish. However, I am human, and even with all the tools in my toolbox, I still get caught up in the “should do,” the “scheduling” of my life, giving to others even when I am exhausted and just trying to handle it all while setting my self-care needs aside.
We need to actively be kind to ourselves before we can be kind or compassionate to anyone else. I knew I had to take a pause and pull out the RAIN. The RAIN practice is a 4 step mindfulness technique developed by Tara Brach.
R: Recognize what is going on.
A: Allow the experience to be there, just as it is.
I: Investigate with kindness.
N: Nurture with self-compassion. This step is where one finds the golden nuggets of wisdom.
Kindness has a ripple effect, and being kind to yourself is the epicenter of that ripple. Kindness is a potent force for change and can reduce emotional distance, helping us feel more connected. It is so needed, especially in these times.
If you're skeptical about being the epicenter for kindness, try this, say or do something nice for someone and then notice what happens between you. Feel the emotions. Do you feel a sense of happiness, and is the other person feeling a sense of gratitude? Kindness is contagious, and your act of kindness, regardless of how small, inspires the receiver to perform an act of kindness of their own. Thus, creating a ripple effect that spreads outward to touch others.
However successful we are about increasing kindness and raising the collective vibration, it doesn’t fully serve us if our planet is slowly dying because of human actions. We should extend kindness towards ourselves and others but also to Mama Gaia as well. All living things on this planet are connected by the Universal Life Force and by earth’s vibrant energy and are worthy of our kindness.
Kindness to the earth doesn’t mean you have to become a tree hugger; it can be a small act but done with the intention to spread love and kindness. You could plant some flowers, bring your own bag to the store, eat less meat or go vegetarian. Or perhaps you walk instead of drive to your destination. Whatever you chose to do out of love and kindness for the earth is perfect.
Have you ever noticed that you feel a little calmer when you walk barefooted outside on grass or the beach? That is Earthing, bringing in beautiful earth energy into your body. This kindness walking meditation will help you feel a deeper connection to Mother Earth:
Take off your shoes and walk barefoot, you can walk indoors, but I prefer being outside.
Bring awareness to the bottom of your feet. Notice the ground beneath you. Feel the temperature and texture. Feel the ground support you.
Connect with your breath and inhale while taking a step and exhale on the next step.
With each step, gently peel your foot off the ground and notice the sensations as you lift your foot.
Every few steps widen your visual attention to the world around you. Notice the colors, shapes, and sounds. As you breathe in, feel the gratitude for the abundance all around.
Kindness is love in action! Enjoy!
Be Kind, Be Radiant, Be the epicenter of kindness!