how to define kindness

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I sit in a bright-lit June meadow at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. It is early afternoon, and I have been here since morning in what can only be described as uneasy solitude. Time is measured here in the chant of crickets and frogs, in the syncopated litany of songbirds, in the silence of tattered wildflowers. Even though I yearn for this acre of solitude, some other part fo me hungers for the larger world of relevance, as if my solitude were a rarefied from of loitering. By most standards, I am not being productive, efficient, or the slightest bit useful, and I can’t help feeling, what? Extraneous? Indolent? It seems I should be writing something, cleaning something fixing something. And I still have this tiny but stubborn repository of conditioning inside that tells me I should focus only on others, that sitting around in a monastic meadow is withdrawn, navel-gazing self-indulgence. Shouldn’t I be back home working in a soup kitchen or something? I came to the monastery because of a growing sense of alienation. Sitting here now with the heat rising in a humid vapor, I feel the intensity of it. Passionless in my action. Being alone in order to find the world again sounds ridiculously paradoxical. It seems so even now that I’m here. But somewhere along my spiritual journey, I’d stumbled upon a difficult and enigmatic truth: True relating is born in solitude.

~Sue Monk Kidd

we are never willing to feel difficult emotions…..but we can breathe into the space within and around us and expand and feel with the support of the ground that holds us…..

inquiry for today~   experiment with allowing your stories without following them to the end…..

under the distant peak of courage

Self-compassion gives us the calm courage needed to face our unwanted emotions head-on. Because escape from painful feelings is not actually possible, our best option is to clearly but compassionately experience our difficult emotions just as they are in the present moment. Given that all experiences eventually come to an end, if we can allow ourselves to remain present with our pain, ti can go through its natural bell-curve cycle- arising, peaking, and fading away. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through. We need to bravely turn toward our suffering, comforting ourselves in the process, so that time can work its healing magic.   ~Kristin Neff

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