Small acts of kindness

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” 
― Desmond Tutu
I was thinking about small acts of kindness on my way in to work today. 
The smiles shared by people on the early bus as the 3 year old with her busy mother chatters with her bus friends. 
The joy they get from bringing her small treats… toys from McDonald’s… and the gifts she gives them in return… drawings and “letters” and love. 
It takes so little to be kind. 
And then I got here, to the office, and there was a small bag from one of my students hanging on the door handle, with a couple of cookies, just because, and a card. 
I’ve had students randomly send me thank you cards. 
And random thank you emails. 
And it just makes my day. 
So I am trying, making an effort, to be kind. 
To say “Have a good day” to the man on the bus who clearly has some challenges interacting with people. 
To disengage from my phone when I am checking out at a store, and saying a few words to the person helping me. 
To remember that everyone is fighting their own battles, I know nothing about them, and perhaps a bit of kindness will help them get through the day. 
It can be hard to remember when my view of someone is clouded by preconceptions, misconceptions, or dislike. But really? In the grand scheme of things, I don’t need to “win”. I just need to be kind. Share a little good. Put some light into the world. 
(Gosh, this is a pollyanna kind of week for me… I’m thinking it’s the start of spring and the hope of warmer weather. Perhaps I’ll be back to grumpy and curmudgeonly this weekend, when we’re supposed to have rain. Or maybe not. :>)

Spring, you are so welcome this year…

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
I try so hard to enjoy every season, but man, it has been hard to enjoy this winter. 
Polar vortexes. Ice. Snow. No handy – and much anticipated – February thaw. 
Challenges with travel, driving, seeing my husband (one of the drawbacks to living 3 hours apart, separated primarily by rural roads…). 
I am so glad… SO glad… that it is now spring. 
I don’t care for daylight saving time – that’s not a popular opinion, I know, but when you are a super-early morning person, who sometimes in the summer is in bed while it’s still light out, having more light in the evening is pretty meh. 
I prefer my light in the morning. 
BUT this year? I will take it, thanks, and be happy. 
I don’t have to put on a whole additional layer of clothing before leaving the apartment. 
I hear birds singing every day. 
I can see the stars again. 
Appreciate every season for what it is? Absolutely. 
Welcome spring, its warmth, its mud, its rains? Absolutely. 
Turning my face to the sunshine, reveling in the (relative warmth), and anticipating what’s next. 
Time to start growing again… 

Ditching the worry…and shifting to the light.

The more we worry, the more worry becomes habitual…our repetitive concerns have the potential to become the soundtrack of our lives. Calm Challenge 2019 – Day 19 meditation – Tamara Levitt,

Because it’s a funny thing about our ability to project the future. You have complete choice. You can see all life leading inevitably to darkness & despair as equally as you can pop up every morning ready to welcome everything as new adventure when it comes along. Brian Andreas,

I am trying to shift to seeing the light, to welcome new adventures, to open myself up to new possibilities, and yet, I feel pulled back into the worries and the anxiety. It’s been home for so long…shifting that foundation is like moving a house. It’s something I’ve come back to time and time again. Trying to move beyond the constant worry and perseverating, and dwelling on things that I cannot change. Repeating others’ words in my head – even when they are one-offs and I can’t even remember who said them. The negative soundtrack in my head. The persistent belief that I am less than, not worthy, and that I should fade into the background and make myself invisible. 
And yet… it’s a process. A day at a time. A minute at a time. 
I can do this. 
I can do hard things. 
It takes time. 
It takes perseverance. 
But I am nothing if not stubborn – nothing if not determined. 

Wednesday Wins

This is a bit of a departure for me, from what I typically write here. But it’s been a good week so far, and it’s only Wednesday. And I wanted to remember to celebrate the wins, because when I’m in the weeds, it can be so hard to remember that hey! sometimes (well, actually, a lot of the time…) life goes pretty well!

Monday, I heard that a student I worked with on an independent study last summer got a job, in town, in her most-wanted location.

Tuesday, I learned that another student with whom I worked on an independent study got into a wonderful master’s program.

And this morning (Wednesday), I learned that another student, from the distant past, had a beautiful baby girl recently, and that’s why she hadn’t been emailing. 🙂

I had a wonderful run this morning. My longest in months. I felt fabulous.

I had Indian food and good conversation with a colleague – and, perhaps, a new friend? – yesterday.

It’s been sunny. And warmer. I get to see my dog this weekend.

I heard birds on my way to the bus this morning, while I also soaked in the beautiful, hazy, full moon.

And yes, it’s almost spring.

This week is good. I need to remember that, when the not-as-good weeks come.

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Friendship, love, and vulnerability

Few  things  are ever  completely worked  out  among  friends  except patience  and  a slightly deaf ear.     J.  J.

I finally, finally reached out to my old friend. The one I had cut off because of some words that were said, and that could not be taken back, years ago.

I sent a written card. Messy (because honestly, no one can read my writing, no matter how neat I think it looks!) but also allowing me a bit of a panic delay. Over the weekend, all I could think was that I had overstepped, assumed too much, believed that she wanted to have some kind of relationship emerge from the ashes of our old friendship. I dithered and debated about sending an email, saying that if that was the case, to please ignore it and I’d wait to hear from her.

(I didn’t send the email…but I was tempted…)

She texted yesterday, thanking me for the card, saying she would write back, and hoping things are going well for me.

It’s never going to be what it was, but maybe it can be something new.

Being vulnerable sucks. I really stink at it, to be honest.

In friendships, in (some) work relationships, and even in my marriage.

I freak out, step back, and close myself off. I wonder why everyone doesn’t do this. Why I fear this openness, this vulnerability.

It’s not like I had a horrible childhood – far from it!
I had a wonderful childhood with loving parents.
And yet. I fear opening myself up to others. I worry that they will see me for the fraud that I often think I am.

I am working on it. I am trying to trust more. I am trying to be more open, more flexible, more willing to share with those I love.

But good grief, it’s hard. And tiring! And I don’t know whether I’m doing well at it, or if I completely suck. 🙂 I guess I’ll find out – and trying is better than not, right? I’ve always preferred writing my thoughts out – journals, this blog now, even random scraps of paper. Speaking those truths, those thoughts, is… um… challenging to say the least.

I think – I hope? – I am a work in progress.