Archive for the ‘kindness’ Tag

Finding Peace within Pain   4 comments

“Be gentle and kind to yourself” I blogged two weeks ago.  “Take full measure of your pain and with compassion find a way to give the help your weary, struggling heart needs.”  Great advice, and as it turns out, useless.  I was suffering acutely, but didn’t know why.  How could I relieve a pain that I could not locate?  Loneliness may be remedied with a friend, loss may be resolved with healthy grieving, but the phantom pain of depression is often untraceable to any source.  I was completely stuck.

For a long time now I have been struggling to find relief from my pain… or at the very least find the best way to cope with it.  Should I follow a plan or be spontaneous, should I read or write, should I sleep in or get up early–what would be best for my soul?  I kept taking my emotional temperature, trying to figure out what helped or didn’t help, but the solution was a will-o’-the-wisp, dancing just outside my insight and control.

“And then somehow it came to me,” I journaled the next morning.  “What my heart needed was not support to find and apply a solution (friends, good job, insight, etc.), but just support as an end in itself. What my heart needed was simply that gentleness and kindness, for me to have an attitude of constant gentleness and kindness in how I saw myself, thought of myself, felt about myself. I needed self-compassion for my own pain and struggle and fear and confusion and sense of worthlessness—not to find a solution, but to just be on my own side through it all.”

I am a fixer from way back.  When I see others in pain, I want to help, give them suggestions, offer them a way to find relief.  This often backfires, unintentionally causing more hurt.  Kimberly wants me to listen with compassion, understanding, and empathy rather than solutions, but I’m a very slow learner.  I keep defaulting back to problem-solving even though I’ve discovered through her how greatly I also need to just be heard and not fixed.

If the best a friend can offer is not to stop my pain, but to hold my hand through it, then why have I never thought to practice this with my own heart, to be my own best friend?  What if I walked through each day with a tenderness towards myself, an empathy for my struggle, an awareness and responsiveness to the fluctuations of daily events and how they impact my heart?

I feel as though a new way of being has started to open up in my mind. I’m just learning the initial steps, but it seems to hold real promise for the next leg of my spiritual journey.  It does not mean my misery will lighten, but that I will be sensitive and caring about my ongoing pain.

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Posted January 19, 2016 by janathangrace in Personal

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The Death of a Good Man   Leave a comment

This is the kind of eulogy I would wish for myself–not to be remembered for my intelligence or talents or accomplishments, but for a sweet spirit.  I think it will take another couple decades of fermenting to become what I wish to be.  Here is Daniel Radcliffe’s (Harry Potter) remembrance of Alan Rickman, the late actor:

 Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say “if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day”.

People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner(or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.

As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.

Posted January 14, 2016 by janathangrace in Reading

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Be Gentle and Kind to Yourself   9 comments

Be gentle and kind to yourself.  Your soul needs it.  Be patient with yourself, life is hard enough without your self-criticism.  Learn to support yourself, not superficially with cake and new shoes, but at the deepest levels towards your heart’s real needs.  Lovingly forgive yourself for your failures and shortcomings as you would those of a dear friend.  Be your own best friend.  You are in as much need of a true friend as anyone else.

What does your heart need today?  It will only be honest with you if you are gentle and kind to it.  It is not luxury or indulgence to give first-aid to your bleeding heart-wounds.  To ignore them or diminish them would be neglect, so take full measure of your pain and with compassion find a way to give the help your weary, struggling heart needs.  With a little courage, ask for assistance from others and accept what is offered freely and without apology, but with real gratitude.

Be kind to yourself today, and gentle.  It is the root from which compassion springs up for others.  Practice it on yourself first and you will be better at giving it to others.

Posted January 3, 2016 by janathangrace in thoughts

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Too Good Not to Share   Leave a comment

Georg Saunders commencement address about the importance of kindness

 

George Saunders

Posted August 14, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

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