Gratitude and Kindness

Tomorrow, we gather with family to eat, drink and be merry, and for this I am grateful.

I am grateful to have a family I want to spend time with. I am grateful for food security. I am grateful for shelter, hot water, and money to pay my bills.

I am grateful for meaningful work, for friends, for community and safety. I am grateful for my health. I know that none of this is guaranteed and that in fact some day it will all be gone. Ahhh, that is the way of things. For now, I will wallow in gratitude. I have a quiet daily practice of gratitude. Today,  I want to thank out loud everyone who has been reading my posts for staying with me, or dabbling with my thoughts now and then, or just picking up this one.

And, I want to talk up kindness.The Oxford Dictionary says kindness is being friendly, generous and considerate. For us competitive sorts, talk of kindness makes us a little uneasy, maybe even defensive. Is that being weak? or a pushover? Or not holding to a standard? Is that code for lack of accountability? See how anxious and defensive we get? If we didn’t feel compelled to judge, measure, rate, compete on everything, with ourselves and others, we might be a lot happier and easier to live with. What would it be like if we were a little kinder?

For me, I consciously try to slow down at least once each day and help someone I might typically just rush past. Let someone in during rush hour. Talk with someone in the market. Ask someone how they are doing? Compliment someone instead of taking their good work for granted. You might laugh that I make a conscious effort, but studies of Emotional Intelligence say if we practice we can improve. It is another daily practice for me.

May you find a daily practice that serves you as we close this holiday season. May you be in a better place than you began it and may we all make choices to be kinder and more grateful in the new year.

Photo of flamingo lagoon, Atacama desert, Chile