Tag Archives: kindness

Love4Ewan

I made a last-minute decision to get lunch from Aux Vivres yesterday, and as I was paying I noticed a blue envelope that had “Love” and “Take Me” written on it. I did. And on my way home I opened it, found an Aux Vivres gift card inside and read that these “little packages have been put out into the world to honor the memory of a sweet, redheaded boy named Ewan on his birthday, May 2.” As I did more research I found a photo of Ewan online and discovered that this project is not only to honour this beautiful child’s memory, but to help pay kindness and generosity forward into the world.

Love4Ewan is an initiative created by Ewan’s parents who, to honour their lovely little redhead’s memory, and to help pay forward the spirit of love, generosity and kindness, began creating Love Envelopes, containing gift cards and other expressions of giving that began to be distributed annually every May 2, Ewan’s birthday.

The Bhagavad Gita tells us to “do the work that comes to you.” This, undoubtedly, came to me. But this is not work. This beautiful, inspiring project is just a nudge for me to pay this beautiful vibration forward, and to dedicate the energy behind it to Ewan, and to also encourage everyone to donate whatever you can to the Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants – Montréal Children’s Hospital, where Ewan was so well taken care of and where other children are being treated, healed and taken care of.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t on the verge of tears right now. This is one of the most beautiful moments that has ever come to meet me. In keeping with that beauty, and to “pay it forward,” I have given away 1 copy of my book “A Year in the Light” to the first five people who left a comment underneath my original Facebook post. Those five people who received a book will have only one request put upon them, and that is to continue to pay it forward, and to extend this vibration of beauty, peace and kindness out to others, and have them continue the journey on, all in the name of Ewan.

To Ewan’s parents, who began this beautiful social experiment, I thank you. It has moved me beyond words to be a part of it.

https://childrenfoundation.com/fundraiser/heart-ewan/

Love4Ewan Facebook Group

Love4Ewan Instagram Page

 

My Two Cents

As we creep closer and closer to another calendar year, I’ve been noticing more and more videos, social media and blog posts, webinars and courses on goal-setting as a way to profit from the New Year’s Resolution craze. Personally, I believe that New Year’s resolutions are ineffective and their own form of self-hate, as they typically come about by looking at some aspect of ourselves that we dislike and then vowing to change that aspect by committing to a practice that is not healthy, beneficial or respectful of who we truly are and how we operate in our own lives. I believe that we force ourselves to suffer by trying to tweak that thing that we think is a problem, and from what I’m seeing, there are tons of people ready to not only reinforce that there is something wrong, but that the only way to deal with it is to adhere to some unrealistic regimen.

If you want to take advantage of a new year to create a healthy habit, then work with intention. Set your intention to be loving and kind throughout 2016, especially when you feel pulled into anger or impatience or disregard. Set your intention every day to be loving and kind. Start with yourself and then redirect that lovingkindess outwards with no specific direction. It will land where it is meant to in ways that are unknown and unpredictable. Stop instigating change by using criticism, fear and judgement as catalysts and understand that love takes care of it all. Start there.

The Greatest Terrorist of All

We should know better.

As the privileged few on this planet to have our comforts and freedoms. As the surviving few of our lineages. Regardless of our gender, skin colour or religious background, every single one of us, at some point on the historical spectrum, comes from a lineage of persecution. Every single one of us has been the hated, the exiled, the beaten, the rejected, the refused and the despised. Every single one of us knows what it means to be made to feel inferior and excluded. And yet some amongst us still feel the need to perpetuate the cycle of hate that was unleashed on our relatives and ancestors at some point by their oppressors. Some amongst us would prefer to be the new face of oppression instead of deal with their own fears concerning cultures and religions they know nothing about. Some amongst us would prefer to hoard what they consider “theirs” instead of sharing it. Some would prefer to believe that to deny others an iota of kindness is to ensure that their “theirs” will not get stolen by those they fear.

Every single one of you, but for the grace of whatever you understand God to be, could be fleeing tyranny, walking across countries in pursuit of what we take for granted. But you’re not. You’re warm and fed, reading these words. Which means that you have a responsibility to do something to help your fellow humans. This “Muslim problem”, this “refugee issue” is neither about Muslims or refugees. It is about human beings suffering and operating from the instinctual drive to survive. This is your problem, your issue. It is our problem, our issue.

We are given the opportunity to be kind, benevolent and merciful throughout key moments in our lifetime. See this as a sort of spiritual social experiment to see if we have learned anything over the past couple of thousand years. See if we’re really ready to put our efforts where our big mouths are by not letting history repeat itself. Let’s do history, and ourselves, a favour and get our collective head out of our behind and change the record. Let’s help those coming to our “civilized” countries with our material possessions, our money, our time and our energy to make sure that they can settle and get back to taking care of each other so they can process and grieve for what they have had to lose and endure throughout this horror show we see as happening “over there.”

As I wrote in A Year In The Light, what happens to one of us happens to all of us. So let’s do our damndest to ensure that we all have access to happiness, freedom and well being. The fear that is keeping us from doing so will prove to be the greatest terrorist we suffer in our lifetimes, one of our own doing.

A Drop of Kindness

kindness“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1.33.

I was a quiet kid. Very cerebral (shocking, I know), VERY sensitive and hyper-aware of how I was perceived. Book in hand like it was an appendage I was born with, I was comfortable in my own world, a steady stream of words at the ready to draw me into other realms and imagined realities. Soon my love affair with music began as the pop-rock, punk and alternative anthems of the late 70’s and early 80’s started to resonate with me, and I soon found myself a helpless (and willing) victim to the artistry that period was rich with.

As I mentioned in The Examined Life, once you have things you own, you end up having things to defend, and when I began to fall victim to my ego-self, as all kids do, I saw how different I was from other kids. I wasn’t out playing sports, I wasn’t hanging with the popular kids, and because my inclination was to not do what the kids I held in the highest esteem were doing, I soon began a serious relationship with inferiority as I felt like I had to defend who I was.

I was pretty much left alone by other kids, with a few exceptions. I had friends, absolutely, but what I now look back in hindsight on as being left alone because I was confidently doing my own thing was then interpreted as not being good enough to hang with the others. And yet, on the rare occasion, someone would step out of the fray and approach me or befriend me, and that one act of kindness and friendliness changed everything. That one act, of what I considered bravery, served as a tiny beam of light that would intensify every time I found myself accepted by others.

I obviously now know that the acceptance of others is a by-product of living a life of authenticity and truth and should never be the desired goal that one seeks to attach to, but back then, in those formative years, it came as a huge relief. A drop of friendliness felt like an ocean of acceptance, and I was so hungry to be accepted.

I’ve always been aware that friendliness is a choice, one that many overlook as the selfishness of the ego acts as the decision-maker. I don’t take any act of kindness for granted, and in the majority of my waking moments, I do my best to channel kindness, friendliness and compassion, as a choice. I know full well how far kindness and friendliness go, and as far as I’m concerned, as a student of yoga and one who endeavours to live a life according to its principles, the sutra from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras mentioned above needs to be expanded to include:

“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness towards the happy,  gratitude towards the friendly/kind, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1.33.

This sutra is said to be the one to take with you, even if you don’t remember any of the other ones, and I realize it’s somewhat pompous of me to tweak ancient wisdom, but in my opinion and experience, I felt the most peace when kindness was shown to me. It brought me back to centre, to peace and well-being.

For more information on Sutra 1.33 check out this interpretation…