|Part of a group of Christmas stuffed characters that we have collected. The TomTen in the back with the long nose came from my Aunt Myrtle, who made them.|
Bill's Nannie made the crocheted Santa in the front.
This month I had thought to try to do one kind thing each day. On the first day I set out to do small kindnesses, I ended up glaring at a young woman in the grocery store who cut in front of me to pick up a newspaper without an "excuse me" or any indication that I was there, and who then, with paper in hand, sauntered right back in front of me before exiting the store. I paused after she left to consider why that action so upset me.
As I pushed my cart outside, I realized that what I missed were the courtesies that used to pave the way for polite interchanges in our town. This year, especially, I find my curmudgeon part surfacing as I try to remind myself to give people the benefit of the doubt. "She probably needed to get home quickly," crossed my mind.
The holidays easily create a contrast between rudeness and kindness. While I rush around doing the last-minute things that I set out to do that day, I am bombarded by the cacophony of crowds, traffic, holiday music blaring on the sidewalk, the need to finish quickly and get home. At the end of the day, I walked into the same grocery store where the young woman had cut in front of me. I was surprised by the calming effect of Christmas music over the loudspeaker. I usually think music in a store to be another irritant. The store wasn't crowded, I knew what I wanted but the colors of the vegetables and fruits caught my attention and I couldn't help looking at the Christmas craft goods on display. As I slowed down to look around me, I took the time in my mind to change the sound from an annoying extra noise to familiar music that reminded me of holidays in past years.
I thought again of my desire to practice kindness for a month. Kindness doesn't have to be big gestures: letting someone else in a hurry move past me, listening to someone on the phone when they need to talk, and paying attention to what is around me, but also stepping back from the action to let it just swirl around me. I had often been told and read articles that stated that the only way to be truly kind to others is to first be kind to yourself. I have practiced mindfulness for a long time, but I never thought of being mindful as a kindness to myself. In that last moment in the grocery store, I finally understood this meaning. The small gesture of slowing down released my coiled sense of urgency that prevented me from letting another person go ahead of me graciously. Maybe what I really need to do every day is to offer moments of kindness to myself.
I hope in this busy season you will also give yourself a dose of kindness each day.
|A neighbor at our Craft Day brought supplies to make these candle ornaments that she found on Pinterest.|
I spent a whole day making several batches of them.