By Mary Boutieller
What we give, we will receive, and kindness is a path that goes outward toward the intended and inward toward ourselves.
Welcome to another month, another opportunity to share ideas and cultivate an awareness of life’s little lessons!
Recently, I stopped by a small, local shop that had all kinds of handmade items. As I talked with the owner, I found out that a portion of every sale was used to provide food for communities in need. He was a delightful man, his store filled with lovely items, and his purpose steadfast. As we chatted, he said he had a motto: It was to “Do Something that Matters.”
When I got to the car, I wrote it down. I considered his purpose in life, his way of serving the greater good, and I smiled at the goodness in the world. It was refreshing to have an honest-to-goodness conversation with a warm-hearted stranger. Given all this country has been through and our general sense of unease these days, it felt so completely normal that it seemed to stand out.
This last year has been tough on everyone I know. No matter how you feel about recent events, hearts have been broken, people have been unkind, the world has been shaken…and yet goodness continues to prevail. It may not always be obvious, but it is surely there. A recent story in the news talked about an eight-year-old boy who, upon seeing an elderly woman struggling to get up some stairs with a walker, told his mom to stop the car so he could help her. The video showed this sweet and unassuming young boy with one hand on the dear lady’s back, the other one helping to get the walker from one step to the next. At the top of the steps, she gives him a big hug and he walks away with a smile on his face. How proud his mother must have been. How hopeful our future is with young people like this living in the world. Kindness, it seems, is all around us. It is in us too.
The 14th Dalai Lama said, “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
We know that it goes both ways: that what we give, we will receive…that kindness is a path that goes outward toward the intended and inward toward ourselves. And that’s the beauty of it. We benefit from being kind to others. So often, we underestimate the impact we can have with the simplest acts of compassion. It doesn’t have to be complicated—we just have to try to “do something that matters.”
Syed Balkhi wrote, “Happiness is the new rich. Inner peace is the new success. Health is the new wealth. Kindness is the new cool.”
As a kid, I was nowhere near “cool.” I was nerdy and skinny with big teeth and unruly hair. I was good at math and terrible at gym class! So I like the idea that, by being kind, I can actually be cool! In fact, we can all be cool, in our own cool sort of way, just by giving someone a helping hand or talking with a stranger.
We all have something to give…something that doesn’t require money, good looks, extra time or expertise of any sort. What we have to offer comes from that genuine place in our hearts. All it requires is doing what we were made to do, one day at a time, with no expectation other than making the world a little better place while we are here.
By the way, it’s important to remember to give AND receive, as the energy of kindness is brightest when it is reciprocal. It also keeps us humble and vulnerable and open to possibility. So the next time someone extends a helping hand to you, accept it with graciousness and gratitude and let it fill your soul.
The Dalai Lama went on to say, “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”
Be on the lookout for these simple acts of kindness. Train your eyes and your heart to see the real, and the potential, good in the world. Then jump in. Let’s all be cool together!
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.