Happy World Kindness Day!! Did you know it was a thing? I didn't. I didn't know it had its own special day!
My current theme in my yoga classes is Compassion. Holding space for yourself. Expressing kindness and compassion for where you are today in the present moment. Extending this gesture to yourself sets you up to hold space for others in a thoughtful and caring way. In my opinion, the true definition of compassion. To me, compassion is true kindness and it starts with you.
During my yoga teacher training we had Karma Yoga Day. We all met on the Atlanta Beltline to pick up trash. We gathered at our local studio, and set out as a team to collect rubbish and do "our part", so to speak. Conversation began with, "look there's cup", to "I'll focus on this area" and slowly evolved. As we walked the Beltline we had the opportunity to connect on a level beyond yoga. Chatting about life and learning new things about the humans we were taking this journey with, all while picking up old beer cans and food wrappers.
I learned so much from my fellow yogis that day. Life lessons that spanned from college drama to parenting woes. But one thing I took notice was the collective holding of space for one another. I'd always been that person to fill the void of silence with an anecdote or to be thinking of my next thought I wanted to say aloud while my fellow friend was speaking. And if given the chance, I was there to provide my "insight" and "expert opinion" on their next move. But in this moment, for some reason, I heard my inner voice tell me to shut the hell up for a moment. To listen in, to hold my tongue. It's amazing the things you learn when you make the effort to hold space and to fully hear what someone is telling you. Their message may be one that you are in desperate need of.
That day I learned that I am a better listener that I thought I was. I learned that I don't need to give advice to be held an asset, and being kind only requires my present moment.
As I have moved through this yoga journey, I have learned that true compassion towards others begins with myself. Bring yourself to you mat, for a moment.
Picture this. You're in class and your yoga teacher tells you to hold space, hold space for yourself. To give yourself grace in challenging moments and celebrate your wins.
What do you put in that space?
I put myself, my anxiety, my fear, my curiosity. I let go of expectations and allow myself to exist as I am in this moment. I make space for compassion. I make space for kindness.
You see, It all stems from within. Through this journey, this yogic path, I learn each day that what I seek is already within, it's the unearthing that must be done. So as we move through this World Kindness Day, let's remember that it begins with us. Showing compassion to ourselves, especially in difficult moments, cultivates kindness for those around us.
For today, I ask that you not only show kindness to the world but also to yourself.
Some ideas of random acts of kindness for others:
Offer up your seat
Hold the door
Give a compliment
Let them have the parking space
Some ideas for yourself:
Treat yourself to a coffee
Dive into a new book
Get a massage
Go to a yoga class
What would you add to these lists?