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.

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.

Keeping My Cool

Keeping My Cool

     This morning was a real test of my ability to keep from losing my temper. I had to get a replacement windshield on my car, I was under the impression that everything was  all set. When the work was completed, I was told that I owed almost $600. The temptation to just go off on those people was strong, but I thought quickly about how long I have fought my own inner struggle to remain calm.

     I immediately put my inner brakes on. I did not raise my voice with the receptionist but she knew that I was upset. I think that the calm exterior frightened her more than if I just started screaming.

     I caught her in a lie when she said that she had called and told me that insurance was not going to cover the expense. In a cold and calculating voice, I told her that IF she had ever spoken to me and told me that I was going to be charged nearly $600, I would have canceled the appointment and never shown up. She knew that I caught her lying.

     I still feel proud of myself for not losing my cool. I haven’t felt the stress and panic type anxiety that I would in the past. The meditation is working.

Grow and Prosper

I had never heard this quote before, but it sums up how we should live our lives. If we follow this advice, we will grow and prosper.

Friends

“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

• Arnold H. Glasow

A true friend is hard to find, and more valuable than all the gold in the world. A true friend will be the one you can count on, and someone that can count on you, because true friendship is a two-way relationship.

Your Wonderful Madness

One of the hardest things to learn is to be yourself. The world is full of mindless clones who want you to be just like them; that is the easy way to go through life. It is more difficult and more rewarding to take the advice of Allen Ginsberg and follow your inner moonlight without hiding that unique madness that each of us has. The madness makes us unique; it sets us apart from everyone else.

There has never been anyone quite like you. Make the World realize just how special you are.

Perspective

“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Max Ehrmann

A powerful message that I found this morning. I’m struggling with the purpose of my life, what I can do to make this a better place. Sadly, I veer towards negativity when I look at the world we live in. I feel powerless to change things, and this upsets me.

I need to practice gratitude daily and stop pouring over the news every day. The information generally upsets me, and that causes stress. I need to refocus my life on positive things and turn away from negativity.

Gratitude is a difficult thing to practice when all I do is criticize something that I can not control. My mindset defeats the very concept of gratitude before I even start. I need to contain my anger and eliminate it, or it will consume me after all.

Making a change like this won’t be easy. A wise saying is that nothing worthwhile is ever easy, so that gives me confidence that I’m on the right track.