The practice of kindnesses enhances our ability to be warmhearted, understanding, gracious, patient, generous, caring and affectionate. It is considered a virtue of tremendous value in most cultures and religions.
Aldous Huxley said, “It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than try to be a little kinder.”
His words are resonating for me at this stage of my life. Contemplating the practice of kindness, I find myself wondering if it has to be a practice of unselfish concern? Instead can it begin with the practice of self kindness that then informs the expression of kindness to others? But what if self kindness leads to a change in existing relationships or work situations? What happens when we move away from our conditioned responses to life challenges? Can that still be the practice of kindness?
Swami Kripaluanandaji (Bapuji) said, “My beloved child break your heart no longer. Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart. You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality.” He invites breathing into the goodness that you are.
Hmmmm….So showing up and acknowledging our own decency is the practice of kindness. Must we first see our own goodness in order to see it in others? How do we love ourselves up and still extend kindness to those whose lives we touch? What happens when these two endeavors are at odds? Do we end up having to choose between the two? Are there times when we are best served by setting aside self kindness for the expression of kindness to others and conversely are there times when the kindest thing is to stay true to oneself and move away from depleting situations and relationships?
Pema Chodron says, “Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it is important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering, we’re discovering the universe.”
Adopting a kind attitude clearly becomes a personal matter; one born of self love, unflinching honesty and understanding. Selfish concern is often defined as having concern only for yourself. Perhaps another way to view it is selfish concern allows you to honestly understand your own human life; thus grasping more fully the complexities of the human dilemma.
Naomi Shihab Nye’s Poem Kindness says,
“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread, only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say it is I you have been looking for, and then goes with you every where like a shadow or a friend.”
How we connect inwardly and interact outwardly in daily life must be the real expression of kindness. When we acknowledge that we are all more simply human than otherwise, the door of kindness opens. Connecting to our own tender hearts, we move toward ALL experiences, ALL emotions, ALL situations with an open mind. In other words, we shed the inner critic and land in Rumi’s field, out beyond right and wrong, free of a story line.
Once in the field your intention is to open to everything, knowing full well that you will wander off the field or perhaps run off the field with intent! Don’t despair! Just open to self-kindness, find your way back and begin again!
When we start from a place of self-love and open awareness we can acknowledge:
Just like me, this person has known suffering.
Just like me, this person wants to be loved.
Just like me, this person wishes for happiness.
Just like me, this person deserves my kindness.
SPRING INTO SELF CARE
With Sara Thielsen and Chris Morton
Sunday, April 29
9am – 12pm
Cost: $100 cash or check @ time of sign-up
Location: The Barn, 88 Green St., Newbury
A three hour experiential workshop designed to educate and motivate. Explore tuning into what sustains and nurtures you through:
– mindful eating & seasonal nutrition
– establishing a meditation/relaxation practice to de-stress
– working self care into everyday life, including caring for our bodies through the products we use.
If you are interested in exploring new approaches to eating, mindfulness, meditation and bodily self-care, join Sara Thielsen, RYT, NTP and Chris Morton, RYT, M.A.Ed. for this self-care mini retreat.
Please email or call if you have questions and/or would like to schedule a session.
IMPORTANT PARKING REMINDERS:
We now park around the U-shaped driveway throughout the year. When exiting the property, do not turn around in the neighbor’s driveway, nor make a three-point turn.
If you need to leave early or promptly after class, please drive twenty feet past the white mailbox on the left, and park on the righthand side of the street.
Please be aware that there are three children living on the property and we all need to drive slowly.
Do not come to class when you are sick. This is important for the good of the whole.
Refrain from wearing fragrances in the barn as we have students who are chemically sensitive.
13 Week Spring Session with Chris Morton
(no classes May 14th-19th)
ALL-LEVEL YOGA CLASSES
linking breath and movement to create flexibility, strength, and deep relaxation
Monday 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Friday 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
$182 once a week
$312 twice a week
$17 drop in
Anahata Yoga @ The Barn, 88 Green St., Newbury Please note:
For more info or to register for the winter session contact: Chris Morton, RYT
Restorative Yoga “Mini-Retreat”
With Ashley Matthews and Chris Morton
Friday, May 11th
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Cost: $45 cash or check at time of sign-up
Let yourself be healed and nurtured from within during this two-hour program consisting of gentle, supported postures accompanied by breath awareness. Restorative poses are poses of “being” rather than “doing.” By supporting the body with props, the body and brain become quiet and relaxed. In this relaxed state, physiological changes occur which help to restore health and reduce the effects of chronic stress. Prior yoga experience is helpful but not required.
Gift Certificates available.
are available for classes, programs and private sessions.
email Chris for details