Welcome to the first Wednesday in the month of March- which has certainly roared in like a Lion, and with any luck isn't luring us wanna be Spring lambs to the slaughter!
A couple weeks back I shared that I've got two Kindfulness heros. One from the West. One from the East, (and yes, today I will say who I like best!) Based on the last couple editions two things are clear:
First, the one from the East is my beloved, Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh (whose name I can finally spell without looking at the cover of his book).
Second, guessing his name (as several readers did) won't win you a deluxe, first class cabin for two, all expenses paid ,3 week Carribian cruise on.... Gullible Travels!
Fortunately, my favorite King o' Kindness would be the first to admit his spelling shortcomings (and tell you with a smile "only a creative mind can spell a word in more than one way!") Leave it to John Porcino- whose name is not nearly as widely known as Thich Nhat Hanh, but whose heart is the largest I've ever known, to model the Kindmind that welcomes imperfection with humor.
And yes, of the two, I like the one from the West the best- for one simple reason.Thich Nhat Hanh is an author I profoundly admire; Johnny P is a pal. One I read, the other writes me handmade birthday cards, and shared the story I'm about to tell you. A beautiful tale of brotherhood, that utterly unintentionally totally epitomizes why I think Johnny P's real nickname should be Father Theresa.
Here's hoping after today's issue you'll see- and feel, why.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." - Plato
"No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank
"All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries."
-Kathryn Stockett,The Help
Two brothers, Dan and Joe were raised on a wheat farm, and grew the way the wheat grows, straight and tall. When they were fully grown, their parents gave each half of the family's land to BUILD A NEW HOUSE and barn.
In time, Joe married and had three bright eyed children. Dan lived alone but visited his brother's family every chance he got. There came a year when little rain fell, and Dan and Joe only harvested half the wheat they usually did.
One night Joe lay awake worrying He had a wife to help him manage, but Dan had no one. He got up, hitched his donkey to a cart, and filled it with wheat. Then Joe rode across his land, quietly unloaded his wheat into Dan's barn, and returned home with a glad heart.
Later that night, Dan woke with a start. I have half the wheat, but only myself to look after. Joe has five mouths to feed. Dan loaded his cart with wheat, took it to Joe's barn, and went back to sleep with a contented smile.
In the morning, the brothers couldn't believe their eyes. Why there seemed to be just as much wheat as they'd had yesterday. So that night, Joe filled his cart to the brim and secretly DEPOSITED it in his brother's barn. An hour later, Dan did the same.
The next morning, the brothers were even more confused. How could this be? There was just as much wheat as before. Impossible! And each grew even more determined to help their brother out.
Well, I don't know why but that night Dan left an hour earlier, and halfway he heard the sound of wheels turning, and, out of the darkness, saw Joe's cart. Instantly the brothers understood and as one dropped the reins and raced towards each other like they were still two young boys. And there in the darkness, wordless, but witheyes singing with joy, wrapped their strong arms around each other and hugged.
Breathe in kindness, breathe out brotherhood, and sisterhood. Joe and Dan found not only each other in the darkness. They found their shared humanity shining back at them.
Kindness isn't fancy. You don't need an advanced degree to do a simple good deed. But kindness is catching. One Kindmind deserves another. And one generous impulse creates a ripple effect. Soon the simple practice of kindfulness inspires a chain reaction of greater consideration, patience, and generosity. Before long a school, company, city, county... is inspired to find it's better angels and make Kind-management a core element of it's culture.
So what can you do today to be a link in that chain? Where could you do a kind deed in the next 4 hours? Remember it doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. (and good chance you won't have to hitch a donkey in the middle of the night!)
Just a simple act of kindness with no strings attached. Right now, write down a small good deed you can do. Promise yourself you'll do it and when it's done I'll bet you'll make someone's day... and tonight you'll go to sleep with a smile on your lips like Joe and Dan (and make Johnny P proud!)
Today I'm remembering that to give is to receive, and to gratefully believe in kindness, is to grace-fully live. (amen)