“The very name “maitri” means “loving-kindness”…..Now, in today’s world, we really need maitri, Maitreya, loving kindness.
As I was sitting having my coffee this morning reflecting on the painful events of the past week I couldn’t help but notice the aroma of lavender and roses. My plan for todays blog was actually going to be about Mast Cell Disease of which I have and have been fighting with all week.(it won this round but not the next) I have MCAD, just one of the many mast cell activation disorders characterized by accumulation of genetically altered mast cells and/or abnormal release of these cells’ mediators, affecting functions in potentially every organ system. The symptoms are debilitating and life limiting in many ways. This morning i was in a great deal of pain and my eyes were blurry and crusted in disgusting substance rendering me almost unable to see. My plan was, as I said to talk about my life with this horrible disease and what a difficult week it has been…my awareness of the wonderful smells told me different.
I just sat, eyes closed and took long deep breaths of the aromas and opened my ears to the delightful eagle conversations as they passed by my deck. In the background the lulling music of Deva Premal played softly and I smiled as I recognized today’s blog wouldn’t be about how awful I felt, but how grateful I was to be surrounded by such peace.
Right in front of me, sitting on my mantle was the evidence of kindness shown to me by a good friend. Above you see the Roses of Kindness. I wish you could smell them as I am…a hint of lilac and rose mixed in with essence of love.
So, what is Kindness?
It is synonymous with Love, except that Love is a state of Being and kindness is a state of Doing. If you can create each human interaction to be a moment inspired by Love, you are practicing Kindness….. Love gives us the ability to see people on our path as the perfect buddha beings they are, and then kindness allows us to bless them with loving acts or deeds.
For many of us that have experienced adoption or PTSD from other traumas it’s very challenging to accept acts of kindness, in particular when they come unannounced and from a place of love. It all boils down to that basic belief, that ugly core that stores the information that we aren’t worthy of such generosity, such love.
I tore my rotator cuff in 05 and was in excruciating pain for 2yrs plus. I didn’t ask, more than the first time, for medication because I had admitted that 30yrs previous I had used drugs…back in the 60’s…Horrors. I was judged by the physician so never asked again. I didn’t ask for help to do anything even tho’ it was my right shoulder and the slightest movement would bring me to tears. I was in the beginning of a reunion and wanted to be there for everyone as the “good little adoptee” would be. Surgery was far away and I began taking cortisone shots to allow me to move and manage day to day. One day, my orthopaedic surgeon was away and I was in such pain I had to find another doctor to do the injection. Not many GP’s are comfortable doing it but finally I found one and sat in his office waiting for any relief. I was so grateful for him doing this he was already top notch in my book. After the injection into the shoulder joint he helped me on with my shirt as I sat. When I got up to leave he reached up to my collar…pulled it slightly and arranged it neatly with a smile and pat on the shoulder. I was so taken aback by this small gesture of kindness that came out of the blue, I burst into tears right there on the spot.
Kindness given freely with love overwhelms me, touches my heart in so many ways. It’s something new and takes me into uncharted waters of my soul. I have given it freely all of my life and now, at this time in my life I am open to receiving fully, feeling fully the love that it carries.
Kindess begins with respect for ourselves. As an adoptee and survivor of many trauma’s and abuse it’s a lesson that takes years to practice. On the outside, in the mask of whatever role we are playing we are respected, as I was as a RN, but it’s the hidden self that once set free after reunion that needs to relearn…respect for self. When we experience difficult emotions, we can hold them in gentleness or we can beat up on ourselves in ways that erode our confidence. If we make kindness the basis for our daily spiritual practice, we can contribute serenity, compassion and happiness to our complex world.
Today, may I mindfully cultivate compassion and understanding for myself so that through kindness I can add happiness, not pain to the lives of others.
I will always remember my Kindness Roses from a garden just down the street…thank you Bill