I can’t stop thinking about something that happened to me or rather, for me, the other day. For many reasons it affected me profoundly.
Perhaps, because I’ve been so ill. Perhaps, because for the last two years death and dying has been such an invasive subject. Maybe, because I’m alone without human touch. Or is it because I’ve lost trust, had my heart-broken, struggle to find hope purpose and joy in the “in-between moments” of pain and illness. Is it because I was adopted and abused? Who knows. It just is. Most likely all of those things. I love Brené Brown’s quote above for many reasons. It’s very challenging for many people including of course, adoptees, people who have been abused, neglected, are chronically ill, or just trying to move forward. The experience I had, I realize now, was only possible because I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
At this point in my life, nothing is off-limits. I’m an open book. My heart is wide open. My mind accepting, forgiveness comes easily when your time on this earth is unpredictable and could change any moment. The truly important things become obvious.
The definition of Kindness is rather simple.
the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate, affection, warmth gentleness, care
Kindness is synonymous with Love except that Love is a state of being and Kindness is a state of doing. When you can make each human interaction a moment inspired by Love, you are practising Kindness…you are taking the step. Love allows us to see the people on our path as the Buddhas they are, and then Kindness allows us to bless them with loving acts.
I know what i experienced was far deeper than “just kindness”. It was authentic compassion. Authentic empathy. Authentic gentleness offered by a very kind soul.
So many people say they’re kind, perhaps even truly believe they are. Unfortunately for the receiver, you can feel the disingenuous energy and know it’s feeding their own ego being.
Many adoptees I’ve encountered over the years experience the same feeling when offered authentic kindness morsels. It’s overwhelming often leading to tears. The fact that someone truly cares and is offering you a piece of their heart in their hand can be overwhelming to say the least. How sad that such a deeply ingrained belief can still be present even at my ripe old age. From the time you absorb the negative energy in utero, you have the belief you aren’t worthy of love. Of course you know it’s not true. It’s just so deep that until someone comes along and offers you authentic kindness and you let yourself be vulnerable and open to receiving it, that you realize what you’ve lost.
Of course, I’m speaking for myself here, but I know others have experienced the same.
Here’s the story. As I mentioned, I’ve been dealing with my own mortality and all that it entails. Dying is a lot of work! Paperwork, emotional work, medical work, constant thinking work, saying goodbye work. A great deal of work. It’s especially challenging when you are alone. I’m blessed to have a couple of dearly loved friends, the ones that pulled me through my near death hospitalization. We had dinner one night and laughed until we cried as we discussed my death. Now, those are good friends!
Oh right, the story.
I was in a meeting. A business meeting with a business person I’ve known for many years now. I’m filling him in on some of “the story”. You know, the one that is over. The story of the last few years, condensed of course! I’ve been very tearful since my last admission to hospital last week. Part Mast Cell Madness, part facing reality and the exhaustion of it all. I felt a tear slip out of my eye and roll down my cheek. When I looked up, there he sat. His hands were stretched out to me, palms up. His eyes focused on mine. At first i was confused. What does he want? A “low five”, “patty cakes” “a book”?
Then it hit me!
I’m supposed to put my hands in his! OMG! He’s being authentically kind! He’s oozing empathy and compassion. I reached over and gently lowered my hands onto his. He slowly rolled up his fingers wrapping my hands in the warmth of connection. I could feel the energy, the caring. I could feel his gaze. I forced my eyes to move from our hands to his eyes. He looked and said softly, “I’m here for you. Do you hear me? I’m here for you.”
It was authentic and my heart burst open, leaving me flailing in vulnerability and tears. For that moment, I felt the healing energy of..
Compassion, empathy and authentic kindness
I wonder why more people can’t speak from the heart through actions. Words mean very little unless accompanied by actions.
I wonder if others take this for granted. I wonder what it would be like to experience this daily. I can’t stay there too long because I’d know all I’ve missed. What I can do, is encourage everyone to connect, to care, to be kind every chance you get. You will never know what a gift you have given to someone. A gift that may have changed the course of their life.
“We are each of us angels with only one wing.
And we can only fly embracing each other.”
Luciano De Crescenzo