How Plant a Kiss Day Saved My Life05-03-2013
This past week was the Plant a Kiss Day Celebration, in which nearly 20 women bloggers, and dozens of fourth grade girls all created something separately out in the world to bring a little magic, joy, poetry, color, and connection in unexpected ways.
It was such delight for me to organize this event and to host my own celebration in the world. And at the same time, it was an incredibly sad, stressful, and anxious week for me.
A really dear man (the father of my best friend from childhood) died. I so wanted to travel across the country for the funeral and to honor his life and spirit. But we are in the midst of trying to find a new home by June 1 and my son is going through lots of middle school trauma and I just couldn’t make everything line up in order to be there for the funeral.
I was holding all the sadness around this death and not being able to be there for my friend. I was also holding the stress and anxiety of not knowing where we will live in a month. And, I was feeling scared for my son, so wanting him to easily find his way amongst the emotional minefield of being twelve.
To boot, my Squawky-Polly mind chose to kick me while I was down: recounting list and list of reasons why I am such a loser. Wrong turns I’ve taken. Comparisons to others. It even turned all my practice tools into shoulds: you should do yoga, you should make a gratitude list, you should listen to your self-coaching recordings. Aghhhhh! Piling on expectations and stress to an already-difficult week. You get the picture.
So what happened was, in the midst of all of this internal upheaval, I also got immersed in kindness.
I got to not only organize the whole Plant a Kiss Day event, but to be a recipient of all those acts of kindness. Even, and especially, the one I hosted: a Bubble Flash Mob. I got to experience firsthand, not just the lightness and joy of these kinds of kindness, but the real necessity of them. In the midst of sadness, anxiety, upheaval, and loss, we all desperately need moments of unexpected joy. It is what heals our cells.
As I’ve continued to slowly savor each Plant a Kiss Day blog post, it feels like applying some cool healing balm to my bruised insides. I could easily have fallen into a deep pit of darkness and fear. And that could have led me to some even scarier places. But all the small joys of the week jolted my attention and turned me around to face a different direction.
My Zen teacher, Cheri Huber, has a saying that is one of my favorites: “The quality of our lives is determined by the focus of our attention.”
Each Plant a Kiss Day activity was a turning of the attention away from fear and anxiety to kindness and joy.
So on the outside, it may seem like a free lemonade stand or handing out flowers or making bubbles are sweet little light things to offer the world, the truth is, these small acts are enormous in their impact. You never know what might be exactly the small encouragement someone needs to keep going.
That’s what they were for me this week.
So, don’t fool yourself, thinking the title of this post is exaggerated. Our lives get saved every single moment we are able to fill ourselves with joy. Even, and especially, when that joy is mixed with grief, sadness, and fear. We are saved by kindness, over and over again.
Check out photos of the Bubble Flash Mob.
Read the amazing posts from the other women bloggers about their Plant a Kiss Day events/insights.
Read my guest post in Kind over Matter about Plant a Kiss Day.