Things I Take for Granted
I was wrapping up a worksheet for my virtual workshop yesterday and it got me thinking. When I first started writing the Cultivating Kindness blog last year, I occasionally wrote about behaviors I dubbed the “antithesis” of kindness. Including character traits like judgment, along with gossip, I explained that I had to catch myself in the act and shift these behaviors in order to be kinder.
Those blogs had some of the lowest traffic. It could have been that I was optimistically tossing out new content every three days back then, so expecting readers to keep up (much less myself) was a tall order. I know from my own experience, however, that asking anyone to let go of their default coping mechanism is actually the tallest of orders.
I’ve just started reading “The Negativity Remedy” by Nicole J. Phillips. I’m connecting so easily with her suggestions because I’ve implemented so many of them in my life already. Then I’m reminded:
it wasn’t always so easy.
I wonder if people look at me now, two-plus years into sobriety, and think I live in some unattainable la-la land. I wonder if people know how hard it was to participate in something that wouldn’t benefit me directly (the 24/7 career overachiever). What would they think if they knew I only signed up for Meals on Wheels because I was told service would keep me sober.
I began to recognize those anti-kindness behaviors more easily. I worked hard at letting go of toxic thoughts. Over the two years I’ve been delivering meals, I’ve learned more about patience and compassion than I thought possible. I’ve learned to let go of fear around subbing an unfamiliar route. I have looked my future in the face and work to develop acceptance of my aging body, along with respect and empathy for the bodies shuffling around the senior community.
Admittedly, I’ve been more focused on the ”brave” trajectory lately. Perhaps it is because I dubbed 2020 my year of courage. It warranted that kind of dedication, although I had no idea it would lead to such a bold declaration of courage AND compassion. The latter quality, I may have taken for granted. Two years into volunteering for Meals on Wheels, I just know exactly where I’m going to be on any given Friday between 10 and noon.
If it is possible to take things for granted in a healthy way, I don’t mind that kindness comes more naturally now, with far less effort. Just like the word “goodness“ is tattooed on my arm, may it also remain forever in my heart.
“In that moment, I knew if other people could feel what I was feeling, they would all want to try it. Kindness would be contagious.” ~Nicole J. Phillips