It's my 48th birthday and I just returned from a retreat at a Buddhist monastery in the Sierra foothills of California.
During the retreat, my teacher, Cheri Huber, used the expression "unrelenting kindness." I've been turning the expression over in my mind. And holding it in my bones.
So it isn't surprising that when I got home and began to think about what I wanted for my birthday, the expression, "unrelenting kindness" dropped in. Last night, I found myself making a numbered list from one to 48. I decided that I would find 48 people to offer kindness to in 48 hours.
Some obvious suspects came along right away. People whom I knew were having a hard time or who might simply be in the place of needing a little special attention. I decided to send cards through the mail, leave some audio messages, and order a few books for people.
I am also making small financial donations to folks who are raising money for great causes. Later tonight, my beau and I are going to buy some sunflowers and hand them out to strangers on the street.
But I'd also love your help! I'm wondering if you — or someone you know— may be in need of some extra kindness? If so, will you send me a mailing address or email address and I will add you/them to my birthday kindness list? Just tell me in a sentence or two why you or your friend could use a little boost. I'll take it from there.
You probably all already know the real secret to this unrelenting kindess thing, right? It is impossible to offer kindness to someone without feeling the effects myself. So on my birthday, I'm giving myself 48 extra opportunities to receive kindness. You can't beat that!
As I wrote that just now, I remembered a quote I read long ago. Looked it up on Google … and here it is: "The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose."
(We all just witnessed a little magic! I had already chosen to use that photo — above— of the roses, which were sent to me today by a dear friend. The fact that life ended my blog post with that quote about the roses delighted me. It gives me pause to think of how often life comes in at exactly the right moment to bring us something we didn't even know we needed.Or, like a fun hat, life brings us the perfect topper that adds some whimsy or beauty!)
Don't forget to email me SOON with the snail mail or email address of someone whom you think could use a little boost of kindness. I can't wait to help.
Sherry (celebrating 48 today!)