The Spirituality in the City section of our magazine never fails to move and inspire us. In this edition, taken from our new Spring 2019 issue, six readers tell us what kindness means to them, and how they have experienced it in their own lives.
Spirituality in the City
The Milk of Human Kindness
After I had my daughter Skylar Grace, my sisters Lavinia and Maria flew over from the UK, spent the day cooking and filled my freezer with food. At my Anamcharadas Jesuit training course a while later, I told my fellow students that this was the best gift ever anyone could give a new mum. Little did I know that one of my student friends Maggie was a trained chef: she called up a week later with enough food to feed both me – a vegetarian – and David – a meat lover! It was such a kind gesture and I was enormously impressed and grateful.
When we embrace kindness – through a warm smile, a joyful good morning, silently blessing the food you eat or expressing gratitude to the person serving you – we are allowing the highest level of our awareness to permeate every experience. Being kind is totally free, but the rewards can be priceless.
Andrea Hayes is the best selling author of Mind, Body, Soul Journal.
As a Reiki Practitioner, when I hear the word ‘kindness’, it goes straight to my heart and puts a smile on my face. Kindness is a gift of Love, whether it is shown to another person, an animal or any other living thing. Kindness opens our hearts to Love, and to living in the moment.
On the 14th of August 2016, my mum died and my aunt Cheryl came over from Birmingham. With her kindness, she helped my family to deal with the death of my mum.
Then an amazing Reiki Master and teacher named Sinead Lynch did a soul reading for me and told me I was meant to do Reiki. She put me on my current path: her kindness impacted so strongly on me, and she changed my life.
Share a bit of kindness and you will feel amazing! It’s so easy.
Love and light and of course smiles,
For me, a true act of kindness is given without condition or expectation. My Mum’s partner, Mark, received what could at best be described as a frosty reception from most family members when he came into our lives, but on reflection, I am in awe of his strength, resilience and open mindedness. Nearly four years ago, we lost my Grandad, who in every emotional sense was a father to me. In the days leading up to the funeral, I was a mess. The day beforehand, I realised that I needed to get my act together and make myself presentable.
Mark touched my heart deeply by arranging to pay for Mum and I to have our hair done before the funeral. He knew that it would help us to feel a little better during a time of deep sadness. Even though Mark had not received warmth and generosity from us, he gave so freely with no expectation or judgement. This is true kindness.
Kindness, for me, is our natural inclination as humans. We are all born with an innate joy in serving and loving our fellow neighbours. Kindness is a gentleness and allowing of the wisdom of the heart to guide our interactions with others.
Kindness doesn’t have to be a grand thing that is recognised or applauded: a simple smile or word of encouragement to someone who doesn’t normally receive it can be life changing. I encourage people in my groups to do ‘secret’ random acts of kindness. So you can leave little random notes or gifts in public places, with a loving message. Someone will find them and it may be exactly what they need to hear in that moment. You can get creative and have fun with it – just enjoy knowing that you may make someone’s day and never even meet them or know about it. That’s true kindness for me.
Kindness is the essence and the energetic expression of love in its purest state.
One of my more prominent memories of kindness is a brief period of time I spent in the care of the dedicated team at Pieta House almost three years ago. From the first point of contact made by my husband on the phone, to the sessions I sat through, processing deeply suppressed emotions, the level of compassion and love that was held for us both throughout the experience was life-altering.
This was the first time I truly understood the concept of ‘holding space’ for someone.
Uninterrupted listening and conscious, mindful language choices were combined with a soothing and empathetic tone. The tissues handed out, the cups of tea offered and the eye contact throughout, along with comprehending nods when each raw emotion was expressed and released in a stream of messy hot tears, quite literally saved my life. I experienced sheer human-to-human love, support and kindness.
Niall Ó Murchú
Kindness is a word I hear a lot: ‘We should be kind to others’ or ‘We should be kind to ourselves.’ But, for a long time I struggled to understand what it really meant. Then, one day, someone explained it like this: ‘the word comes from the root ‘kin’, meaning family. So, it means treating people like family.’ That made sense to me. I try to treat everyone I meet with kindness and respect, even the people I don’t like. I don’t always succeed, but I try. The small acts of kindness I experience every day move me. Just yesterday, an old person asked how I was doing. A child offered me one of their sweets. A man held the door open for me. Everyday acts of kindness remind me of our inherent goodness. We are, after all, one big family.
Niall is a Wim Hof Method instructor: