Kindness Day 2

Last night I slept like I haven’t in ages. I believe that this was caused by exhaustion and by a physical response to my decision to embrace Kindness. I wrote yesterday about how making such an important decision was affecting me. My inner peace was immediately shattered by the tragedy in Buffalo, NY but I consciously shut out all the angry responses that tried to force their way through my calm and peace.

Kindness is deserved, but must also be earned. I cannot bring myself to offer Kindness to the terrorist in Buffalo. His actions aren’t deserving. Perhaps this isn’t the totally encompassing Kindness that sone envision, but it works for me at this early stage of my journey.

I can only offer Kindness and Compassion to those injured, and to the families of those killed yesterday. I also support direct action to limit the availability of guns , and sadly, the lack of availability of mental health care to try to prevent these senseless tragedies. What I’ve learned through my study of Kindness is that is an internal and external action. First, we must learn to be kind to ourselves, and then to others. Second is the extension of Kindness to others when it is a genuine extension of ourselves. If we aren’t kind to ourselves it is dishonest and disingenuous to practice it towards others.

I’m learning to approach obstacles in my life differently than before. I look for any positive aspects I can find, and if it proves difficult, I set the problem aside and try again later. Inevitably a solution is found without all the worry and anger I used to experience. I’ve finally understood that the anger ruled me in the past, and that affected my decisions. Now I see things through a different filter, and my outlook has changed for the better.

And so, on day 2 on my journey to Kindness, I wish everyone the very best and peace and safety to us all. Love one another to the greatest extent you can, and try to do even better tomorrow.

Kindness

I’m still relatively new to the Kindness lifestyle. It takes a lot of effort to turn one’s life around and walk away from a lifetime of habits, mostly bad, that governed me without my realizing it for so long. I realized that I was no longer actually living, I was just a prisoner to a set of automatic reflexes that happened without any conscious thought. I was a prisoner when, in fact, I had the key to my freedom all along.

“Anger leads to the dark side”, as Yoda once said and he was right. I found myself enjoying being angry, thinking that somehow it made me a man to lash out at things in my life. Perhaps it was from watching adults as I grew up. I knew that I was different, I had been raised by liberal parents, but as I grew into adulthood I let myself get swept up in conformity, rather than expressing my individuality.

I got angry because that is what everyone expected. I got angry because it seemed like the only way to get things done. I got angry because I felt like people walked all over me unless I was angry. I missed the fact that my anger was killing me.

Americans like to refer to our collective anger as “stress”. That is partially accurate but stress is the end result of the anger we cultivate, harbor, and cherish. Americans mistakenly associate anger with strength and kindness with weakness, when neither of those are true. Kindness is a very strong emotion and governing principle.

So, I decided that I had to change. I made the conscious choice to rid myself of all the anger I could.

I apologize for the sudden break, but I turned on the tv and found out about the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY. This tragedy is exactly what I want no part of. A prime example of the anger that poisons our society. It hurts because Hal and I had just returned from our own neighborhood grocery store to see what happened to innocent people who went to their own neighborhood grocery store. The didn’t deserve to die. They didn’t deserve to be injured. I am crestfallen because I feel that anger trying to crawl back into my own consciousness.

My emotions are difficult to describe right now. I want to feel angry, but that is counter-productive. I want to be kind, but there are some people, like the murderer, for whom I cannot extend kindness at this time, if ever. I was going to describe my position prior to the tragedy as kindness to those who have done me no harm. Everyone deserves kindness until they prove they don’t deserve kindness.

What started as a wonderful feeling about transitioning from anger to kindness has become a testimony of my own sadness. The circumstances won’t change my commitment to kindness, I hope I can find the strength to continue on my journey.

Processing the News

I’m still working my way gingerly around the news from my kidney doctor that dialysis is in my future. My kidney disease has steadily gotten worse over the last two years, and my kidney function has shown a corresponding decrease over the same time.

Getting older is bad enough, but having my body steadily falling apart just makes things even harder to adjust to and accept. When I can focus my mind, I feel like I’m 25 years younger. However, when I try to get into action, reality sets in rather abruptly.

There’s no set time for me to start dialysis. The decision will be made based on my medical results, and discussions with my doctor.

Mortality is leaning over my shoulder as I write this, chuckling softly to himself because he knows that he wins in the long term. My goal is to live the best life I can until Death finally collects me.

Slowing Things Down

Slowing Things Down

I need to slow things down in my life. From time to time, I pause to reflect on how I’m doing, and then I take steps to correct any problems. Over the last several days, I have been taking stock and evaluating, and I’ve decided it is time to slow things down and simplify my life.

This is a holistic effort. I’m making sure that I spend more time at home with what I have rather than being on the go. One of my goals is to lose weight, and I can do that by not eating carry-out food. I can prepare meals here at home that is simple and filling.

Taking that step will also help me to save money. One thing that studying and practicing meditation has taught me is that I need to be happy with what I have now and not worry about the future based on material things.

I mentioned losing weight. Hal convinced me to monitor my sugar intake closely. He warned me that this change would be uncomfortable and difficult. I know it is a worthwhile goal, so each morning, I set aside a few cans of diet soda to keep a steady track of what I consume. Once I can manage that comfortably, I will take one less can each subsequent week.

It sounds like a lot to accomplish, and it is. The key to success is my mindset as I begin this journey. Positive thoughts.

Myself

Myself

I read a great article by a blogger I follow about Gratitude and Thankfulness, in which he pointed out that we forget to grateful for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with being thankful for ourselves, indeed it is what makes each of us unique.

My Gratitude journal never mentioned being thankful for just being me, and after reading my friend’s blog post, I saw exactly what he meant. My attention was going outward when some of it should have been focused inward. If we can not see the good in ourselves, then we are truly blind.

Thankful

Thankful

I am in a bind financially until the end of this month. I had an unexpected car expense of nearly $600 that had to be taken care of, which destroyed my monthly budget. While this is unpleasant and uncomfortable, it does make me focus on what I have rather than what I lack. In fact, I have to be thankful that I could take care of the expense at the time.

I can also be thankful that I recognize my budget needs to be adjusted in the future for the next unexpected expense. While I make plans for the future, I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads and enough food to make it until next payday.

I am thankful that this is the first time I’m facing a situation like this. I’m thankful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I take solace from the lesson learned after reading “Down and Out in Paris and London” by George Orwell many years ago. Once you hit bottom, you realize that you are still alive.

I’m thankful for the desire to write and express myself, and I’m thankful for those who read my words. I’m thankful if my words help someone else, and I hope they pay that help forward to someone else who can then be thankful.

DDP YOGA Day 2

Day 2 Yoga

To be fair, day 2 is a repeat of day 1. I’ll be doing the introductory program for a week before moving to the next level. There’s no reason for me to push myself so hard that I get discouraged and quit.

The introductory exercises are gentle and formulated to “wake up” muscles that haven’t been used in a long time. Having said that, I feel the stretch that I’ve done the first two days.

Starting Yoga Again

Yesterday I finally started yoga again.

I realized that I wasn’t going to feel better unless I did something to get myself moving. I overcame a few obstacles with the yoga app before starting because I didn’t want things messed up with my account.

I feel better after the first day. I know that real change takes time, but at least I’ve taken the first step.

Group Meditation

Group Meditation

Tonight I joined a group meditation session on the Headspace app. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a session just like any other, but there were approximately 45 other people taking part.

The only voice was the group moderator. Like I said, if it weren’t for the other people participating, it would have been just like any other solo meditation. The amazing thing is that as I relaxed and really got into the session, I could sense the presence of the other people. It sounds crazy, but I genuinely felt that I wasn’t alone. It was a wonderful feeling that I hope to experience again.