Monday, October 31, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 31.

Well, today is the day. Day 31 of 31 days to a kinder me. The Dalai Lama sums up the truth of this quest so well. It is always possible to be kind. I notice he did not say easy, because - it isn't. It should be, I suppose, in a Utopian existence where the temperature is always 74f, the rains are always gentle and warm, the perfume of exotic blooms infuse the air with natural aromatherapy, and laughter and rest are the rule of the day.

That isn't life, though.

Life is tough. Painful. Tiring. All my best intentions evaporate like the briefest of showers on the hottest of days the instant I interact with someone who's had their Cornflakes pissed upon and decide it must have been my fault. 

I saw a meme the other day of little known punctuation marks and one of them was the 'snark mark' - {.~}. The thought crossed my mind then decided to stay awhile that I would use such a mark more than a little bit were it one keystroke on my laptop. Because snark, or sarcasm, is my natural reaction in interacting with most people. Thus my foray into the world of kindness this month. 

I am not by nature patient, kind, long suffering, forgiving - I do not innately possess any graces. When I pause in thoughtful contemplation while interacting with someone, chances are pretty good I am trying to decide on the least offensive way to say what I really, really want to say. I will give myself credit for most of the time dissuading the inner snark and smite from gushing forth. However, I am all too aware of the urges that are not edifying of humankind that roil about in my mind. 

We need a kinder world. We have a world at crisis, socially and environmentally. More than a small amount of Tender Loving Care is desperately needed - and sooner rather than later. Because here and now and this and us is all we have. 

So I entreat any reading this, even as I urge myself, to follow the simply profound words of the Dalai Lama and be kind whenever possible. It is always possible

Sunday, October 30, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 30.

We tend to get all caught up in the "right" game, or at least I do. Pontificating and postulating, expounding and exhorting. People love to tell others what to do and how to do and when to do. We are all experts on how others should think, eat, dress, vote, procreate, talk, think ---- live. Nevermind that our own lives are less than perfect, that our families are a mess and our finances are in a shambles. We have experience. We have knowledge. We have the benefit of being on the outside looking in. 

All the while that soul on the receiving end only needs to be heard. To be attended to with care and grace and gentleness. They know we cannot fix their problems, heal their wounds. They only crave a soul connection, a respite from their trials to regroup and recoup and rekindle their hope and stamina. They only need kindness. I know I do. I only want that sympathetic, empathetic attention to shore me up and help propel me forward. 

Kindness costs nothing and delivers much. Opinions are as plentiful as people willing to give them. 

Be kind. That is all. Be kind. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 29.

I saw an article online the other day speaking to the increase in ghost stories and interest in other paranormal areas during the Victorian Era. Put forth in the article was the theory that as society moved more fully into the Industrial Age people had: 1) more leisure time and 2) an innate need for everything to not be so controlled. 

That theory started a thought process as I asked myself, "What is the genesis of the current emphasis on mindfulness and kindness that I see so much of online?" My short answer would be that people have been pushed to the breaking point by the greed, avarice, and selfishness that is rampant in society in 2016. The revolt is an effort to counter the divisive and corrosive effects we are currently battling. 

Humankind is trying to get to the heart of the matter by recapturing what really matters. What really matters is health, joy, love, trust, civility, integrity, and a future for our children and our children's children. What matters is that we not continue the rampant destruction of a closed environment that sustains us all. 

Kindness in word and deed, to all living beings and this Earth on which we dwell. In many forms. From the heart. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 28.

Financial problems.
Family problems.
Work issues.
Substance abuse.
Everyone has problems.
I have problems, you have problems.
Humankind has problems.
The Earth has problems.

Be kind.
Act with integrity.
And gentleness.
But most of all,
Be kind. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 27.

This is a less attractive aspect of committing to living a life of stewardship and kindness. Because there are always those who will take advantage. Not every person, and not every time. But it does happen. There are times when I will have that inner compulsion to do something for someone, and all the while know that it will not be enough in the mind of the recipient, or that they will see me as an easy 'mark' for future situations. Especially if a kindness involves actual goods, services, or currency. 

I am not wealthy, never have been and likely never will be. A situation comes to mind that happened in my life several decades ago - I would guess about 29 years. I was working with a woman who had a husband and three children. We worked at a convenience store, so you know we weren't exactly raking in the big bucks. I actually made a bit more than she did, because I was 'management'. But believe me, the difference was not that much. Anyway, her husband - like mine at the time - was fond of alcohol on a regular basis. He approached me in the store one day and asked for a loan $20.00. He professed that the need was associated with the children and food. I gave him the money. Soon afterwards, she quit working at the store and though I asked him politely several times to repay the money, he never did. About three months later, he came by the house and asked if I had $20.00 he could borrow. I said, of course, you can borrow the twenty you never repaid me from three months ago as soon as you give it to me. Not nice, huh? But I did not have an extra $20.00 to give therefore I did not have an extra $20.00 to loan.

Someone I knew once told me, "Never loan money you cannot afford to give." 

There are other examples. I, like most of you, have known more than a few people with lifestyle issues that absorb their money like giant thirsty sponges. And while I have no issue with extending kindness and grace to others, I have learned that I have to try to balance my desire to give against my distaste at being used.

Like the woman, with whom I was personally acquainted, who approached me once asking for money for diapers for her 6 month old baby girl. I knew she had had a drug problem, and was leery of the request. This was maybe about a year after the $20 incident, so perhaps I had learned a lesson or two? I told her I did not have money to give her, but I would be glad to give her a box of diapers from the store where I was working and put them on a list we were allowed to keep of merchandise that was to be deducted from our next payday. She cursed me soundly and left in a huff. 

Then there was a neighbor whose husband was a long distance trucker and she had confided in me that he had not sent money home for groceries/supplies as he had promised and she was basically out of food. When I went to the grocery store that week, I bought two of everything and gave her three large bags of food, including milk, eggs, butter, bread, and fresh fruit and vegetables. A few days later, she came with a list of preferred brands for me - apparently I did not buy the 'right' stuff.

Over time and with experience, I have tried to learn to temper my desire to extend kindness to others with a pragmatic awareness that not everyone will appreciate - and that a few will take advantage. This, however, should not ever prevent me from responding to that inner prompting to be kind and giving to those whose need I am aware of, if I am in a position to fill even a small bit of the need. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 26.

What's in it for me?

That seems to be a recurring theme for most people. 

There is a sense of satisfaction when you are kind, and there is no hidden agenda or ulterior motive. Of course, that type of purity in action is rare, at least in my opinion. 

This is the way I perceive the motivations of too many people:
Compensation. I want something for my efforts. This is the way life works. Of course, it is even better if I can get something for nothing. That means I am the winner, the smart one.

I do not want to be that person who is always working an angle.  I do not want others to question my motives, to be leery of what my actions may eventually require from them in return.

I know, I am at a dichotomy in my thinking. That is part of the problem with moving the concept of living a kind life from the ivory tower of the heart to the blood and guts reality of day to day life. Because we have all been burnt in life or at least I have. I have had what I thought were kindnesses, graces extended to me only to find that the cost was extremely high and artfully hidden. At the same time, I want to do what I can, where I can, when I can, with what I have for others, for this world in which we live and do so with no strings attached.

I am not perfect; I am all too aware of that fact. So, what I must learn to do is go forward - on a day to day basis - and not allow the pains and difficulties I carry memory of to affect me to the point that I, too, am attaching all those invisible strings that strangle the good intent. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 25.

Not just humankind. All living things. Pets, animals in the wild, birds and bees and turtles and trees. Be kind to the Earth, who nurtures and sustains us. Be kind.

Monday, October 24, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 24.

I selected the truisms and memes for this series on kindness in September, put them in a file in sequence, and upload the new one each day. I mention this because in a wonderful bit of synchronicity, one of my friends (Hi, Evi!) posted this very saying on Facebook just the other day - it may have even been yesterday. How cool is that?

So here we revisit the art of listening. Really listening. A true active verb situation. We listen with more than our ears. We listen with our hearts, our minds, and our eyes as well. True communication is more than waiting for our chance to talk. 

It is election year for President here in the States (in case you live on an uninhabited island or under a rock and never listen to the news or read the headlines and trending topics online). Roger the Tall One and I have studiously watched the 'debates' between Clinton and Trump. They are so unbelievably rude to one another. Constantly interrupting and talking over one another. Slinging barbed words and verbal arrows. Goading and bullying and belittling. Everything communication and truly listening is not. They did not even listen to reply. There was no point-counterpoint. This was not civil discourse. I am not sure what it was. And one of them was just as bad as the other.

Listening to understand. Hearing the emotion behind the words. Feeling the joy, bewilderment, excitement, heartache, anticipation of another of humankind and forging an emotional and intellectual connection. Seeing the beauty of the revealed person as souls are bared and hearts are opened. 

What a precious and fragile gift you are to me. When you trust me with your thoughts, ideas, dreams fears it is a sacred act. My promise to myself , and to you, is that I will endeavor to be kind and conscientious with you as I accept the gift of your words, and not use them as a launching pad for a monologue that is all about me me me. 

I will do my Ellen best to listen to understand. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 23.

Dwelling on - obsessing over - being unable to move forward - it is easy to play armchair quarterback and say things like, "Oh, get over that already." or "In the grand scheme of things things could be a lot worse." or "I don't see what the big deal is anyway."

Yes, I agree that negative attitudes are not easy. Absolutely no arguement from me on that point. But we are all a complicated emotional stew of a wide range of emotions and experiences. There are no one-size-fits-all answers to navigating our way through life. Even our assessment of situations that we honestly think is impartial is influenced by everything we have experienced. 

I think (obsess?) a great deal about this particular subject. I mean, we all have 'those' people that are so difficult to spend very much time in the presence of because they are so, so negative. Downright depressing, truth be told.


What if

What if

What if

I am that "Debbie Downer" in someone else's life? What if people groan inwardly when they see me coming? What if others dread certain subjects being broached when I am in the conversation because, oh no now she will never shut up?

Perhaps being a kinder me is partly about realizing that my parents were right, that the world does not revolve around me. Perhaps I need to work harder at active listening and practice less oversharing. 

Maybe, just maybe, the affirming life I want to live really is all up to me. 

hmmmm ...... 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 22.

One may wonder what this rather bold statement has to do with becoming a kinder me. Well.

If we become so obsessed and fixated on external influences that we cannot move comfortably in our own lives we have limited our ability to develop to our fullest potential. 

External influences can be vexing because they are just that - external. But as this meme says we do have options.

If we let circumstances and people define confine, outshine - we are ceding our control over the chance to be a positive and affirming influence in our world. 

Sometimes we do need to leave things behind. It may be painful, but when time and circumstance show us there is no other option it must be done. 

"IT" can be the very thing that is preventing us from being the person we most want to be. 

I want to be a kinder, nicer person, To others, to myself, as much as I can. But kindness and being nice is not weakness, nor is it submission. It is an active, deliberate choice. And sometimes that choice will be leaving things behind. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 21.

Well - I cannot speak for others on this, only myself. There have been times when I tossed and turned and my brain just would not shut up because I knew I did not be the best Ellen I could have been in a specific situation. 

I do hope I am doing better - I am trying. In general I fall asleep rapidly - often with book in hand - unless I am having problems with my allergies. The tossing, turning, restlessness when it occurs is a sure sign I have not been as kind, as true, as loyal, as consistent as I know I can be.  I do not like playing the coulda/woulda/shoulda game with myself.

I do not have as many days left here on this big blue marble as I once did. I do not know how many I have left, but seeing as I will be 58 in less than 2 months definitely indicates there will not likely be another 58 years. 

I am lazy, and I do not like to have to expend a lot of energy and brain time on things I want do-overs at. So the smart, and easiest, thing is to do my best to do my best the first time. 

I am also very insecure, and am not at all fond of worrying about if people like me enough. My solution is to do my best to be fair, be pleasant, be personable, be forgiving as much as I can. That way I don't have to worry if people like me. Because if I have done my true best, and there is a problem, then in general it may be more about them than about me. 

I am proud to be me. I am as proud of my errors as I am of my triumphs, because I learn from both. I am proud that I have reached the point in my life where I know I do not know everything, and am excited about how much more of this glorious journey I have yet to experience. Books to read, music to hear, people to share a smile with. So much left to experience. 

So I need those good hours of satisfied rest, to see what the next day brings. More life to love, warts and all. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 20.

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than Kindness?" ~ Rousseau

We get so busy, so caught up in schedules and wants and perceived needs. And we get selfish. We grow mean spirited and greedy and become parsimonious. We forget how to be kind.

We forget how to be kind to ourselves, and especially others. Then we wonder why we aren't happier. It is because we have forgotten the wonderfully simple truth as brought to us by Rousseau. The greatest wisdom is kindness.

So let it all go, and see what (and who?) stays. See what is really important to you. I just suggested to a friend that they go outside in the quiet of the early morning and experience the wonder of the birth of a new day. Connect to the sacred as you know it, and put into action by word and deed the simple truth that the greatest wisdom is kindness, to ourselves and to others. If you continue to compete with yourself to have more and store up early treasures you in the end will neither the winner or loser be.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 19.

I chose the pictures/memes/illustrations for this 'project' before I even wrote Day 1. Totally at random, so as I upload each one I am surprised. A sort of lagniappe to me. A bit of a challenge as well, because my thoughts and circumstances may not be in a good place to delve into my psyche about a particular aspect of self-improvement on any given day.

This illustration for Day 19 is one of my favorites. The artwork is whimsical, and the truism hits home.

Make of yourself a light

Make of yourself a light, because only you know how deep and pervasive your darkness may be. 
Make of yourself a light, if you want others your true self to see.
Make of yourself a light, and take care in what you say.
Make of yourself a light, in all ways possible every day.

If you are in a dark room and light a small candle, like a tealight or a small 4 inch taper, the pool of light is brighter at the source and dissipates as it diffuses into the darkness. At the outermost edges, you may only be able to discern forms in the shadows but at least you know where objects are located and possible dangers lurk as you navigate the space. Now, if you place a second - third - fourth candle around the room you can illuminate the entire space.  If you group them all on the same surface, there is brighter light still at the center but perhaps the perimeter is still draped in shadows and unknowns. However, if you spread the candles out, the entire room benefits and the strength of the illumination from each adds weight and purpose to the others. 

So my goal is to be kind. To myself, for myself. To my kith and ken, grouped close about me in my little version of reality. To strangers and sojourners I meet, that kindness and love of humankind can spread and strengthen the weight and common purpose we as a (human)race share.

Make a light of yourself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 18.

This is for all of the beautiful souls who are so gracious and kind to me without fail. Those who listen to me when I need an ear, those who read my words, those who are gracious in their words and deeds with not expectation of reward or recognition.

You propel me forward to be a kinder version of myself, I honestly think we can make a difference in this world - you and I together. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 17.

Never dwell on the negative ...

There is a person in my life that is a professional "Debbie Downer". You know the type, hyper critical, always anticipating dire outcomes, untrusting of overtures of kindness. Over time this person's face has developed a sour, hawkish expression that can be very off-putting to others - especially in casual social interactions. 

I think that our physical appearance reflects our inner attitudes. Frown lines, perpetual furrowed brow, laugh creases around the eyes, stooped shoulders, 'pep in the step', head thrown back and looking intently at surroundings. All of these are non-verbal communications that are received and processed before we even open our mouths. 

I want people to anticipate a conversation or encounter with me, not groan inwardly or studiously avoid making eye contact. So it is my responsibility to have an appearance that is warm, welcoming, kind. 

One way to do this is to look at (and for) the good, and not dwell on the negative. A good way to go forth in a pleasant mood is to make your morning a time of happy news. Leave the wars and pestilence for a brief respite of calm and humor and affirmations. That way the most recent information roiling about in your mind will be more apt to leave a hint of a smile on your lips instead of a glowering frown. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 16.

This meme reminds me of the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart. 

Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.

I imagine it would be difficult to be consistently kind to yourself, and to others, if you were not coming from a perspective of love. Love of self, love of friends and family, love of strangers, love of humankind. 

The impetus for being kind is birthed in the spirit. Kindness comes from a place of compassion, of understanding, of patience. Kindness results when we imagine what it must be like, would be like, to be in a place of need and we respond with kindness because we know that is the balm that would (and does) sooth our battered spirit in that same circumstance. 

Kindness is both selfish and selfless.

Kindness is the conscious act of building toward that end of life where we can say, I did OK. Easing of burdens for self and others is seldom costly except in time and effort. And, oh, the incalculable rewards that result! 

Live a life of love.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 15.

Some days I feel like I am the one giving a ride, some days I feel like I am the one hitching a ride. And some days I feel like I am standing still.

I am a blunt person, and tend to just blurt out my opinion and I know it can be hurtful to others. I have tried, through the years, to train myself to use less harsh words. 

I still think it is kinder to be truthful, and if asked my opinion I will be as honest as I can. What I am working on is using less hurtful words, and not being judgemental. 

In the end, whether I am hitching a ride, giving one, or standing still, we are all on this journey together. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 14.

Be kind. 

Not always as easy as it sounds, but not necessarily as hard as we - nay, I - make it to be. 

Be kind. 

I know when there is an edge of harshness to my tone, a bite to my words. And I know how to soften my tone. I just need to do it.

Be kind.

If there is something I think someone should have done for me, well, there you go. I need to take the opportunity to do it for someone else. My desire for kindness is not unique to me.

Be kind.

Patience. A precious and rare virtue. I can be patient, if I choose. Mindfulness is a practice I have been delving into over the past couple of years. Mindfulness is being in full appreciation of the moment and truly experiencing my surroundings. Not just hearing what someone is saying but listening to them. Patience. Allowing time for life to unfold not rushing rudely ahead. 

Be kind.

Choosing my words with care, and my actions as well.

Be kind.

I really need to learn to 
be kind.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 13.

I just love this cartoon. It is a simple watercolor with a simple message.

Random acts of kindness. I remember years ago when I first saw the movie Pay It Forward. Do you recall that film? I cried. And never forgot. 

Do something nice-something kind-for someone. A friend, a loved one, a stranger. Hold open a door, retrieve an errant pencil, let someone ahead of you in line, smile and greet the people you encounter. Please. Thank you. Easy words. Use them.

Pay for a stranger's coffee or tea. If you have coupons you won't use, leave them on the product shelf in the store for another consumer. If you are taller, like me, retrieve an item from a high shelf for a fellow shopper. Pick up a few $1 pairs of gloves and give them to people who need them when cold weather hits. Wrap up the muffin or cake you know you will not eat and share it. 

Be kind. To yourself and others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 12.

When I try to force events to match a narrative I have already settled on in my mind, I am doing a disservice to myself as well as others.

It is not kind to expect life to work in a prescribed way just because it fits an internal pattern I think would be best. I tend to be selfish and self centered. I do not think I am alone in this either. Sometimes the kindest thing I can do for myself is to just let things be. Not try to force the matter. 

We are all in this together. What best suits my inner narrative is not necessarily the best for other people. The kind thing to do is strive for balance, and know that things are not always going to be my way. 

Balance. Compromise. Understanding.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 11.

When people perform extreme acts of harm towards others, or perhaps to themselves, others are always so appalled. Often we will hear, "I had no idea s/he was ..." or "If I had known s/he was struggling I would have ..."

But here is the thing. We all have stuff. We all have worries struggles, battles and wars few if any know about. This is life. All the guts and glory, laughter and tears, joys and sorrows, birth and death is what life is. 

How we deal, how I deal, that is what I am. So I am trying to choose to be nice, to be kind. Because as much as my 'stuff' preoccupies me, so does yours preoccupy you. I have a friend who from time to time will reach out and say, essentially, I am having trouble making it through at this moment - can you help me? I do not have sage words, life solutions. But I do have a listening ear, and a caring heart. Even if there are burdens I cannot remove, for a moment I can share the weight. 

That is the kind, the loving, the right response.

Even when I am at the point of being overwhelmed by my own "stuff" I can make an effort to be kind in my casual and more intimate interactions with my fellow sojourners. It will not create any additional worry, and it may decrease my own stress as well as that of someone else. 

31 days to a better me. Day 10.

Be faithful-but first, kindness
Be ethical - but first, kindness
Be honest - but first, kindness 
Be diligent - but first, kindness 
Be consistent - but first, kindness 
Be a friend - but first, kindness 
Be conscientious - but first, kindness 
Be a good employee/employer - but first, kindness 

I wear a mala most days, and my mantra is 

be kind

Sunday, October 9, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 9.

I am so often my own worst critic. I expect myself to never repeat a mistake, so when I have an error, I add it to one of my mental checklists. I have a great many of them.

Remember to do this - don't forget to do that -

Oh, and I up the ante by making actual lists. On scrap paper and the backs of envelopes. I even have a package of index cards in the drawer by my chair and a pen at the ready for lists while I am online or watching television. 

Now, this is not being kind to me. It is stress inducing, and more than a wee bit controlling. Then I snap at people, or get distracted because I am so focused on a list. So yes, I can see where it is being mean to myself. And if I cannot be kind to myself - how can I be truly kind to others? Or expect others to be kind to me? 

So my happiness - my contentment - is first and foremost my own responsibility. Being nice, being kind to Ellen is something I really need to see if I can improve upon - 

and not by making a list!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 8.

Be kind to yourself.

Give yourself a hug.

Drink your favorite beverage.

Cuddle with the person or animal that gives you that feeling of , "Oh I could stay just like this forever."

Allow yourself time for the journey without being stressed at each slow vehicle or unexpected road crew. 

Eat dessert first, if dessert is your thing.

Read a good book.

Watch a movie, or a video, that you have been wanting to see.

Understand that we all make mistakes.

Be kind to yourself first, then see how much it aids in being kind to others. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 7.

Attitude is not just an internal mindset. Attitude begins in your mind, and communicates in so many ways with others. Attitude shows. 

In the tilt of a head, in the raise of an eyebrow, the hint of a smile, a furrowing of the forehead, slumped shoulders, sighs, tone of voice, stressing certain words or syllables. Myriad ways and varied degrees. Attitude shows. 

It all starts in your head. It is a matter of intention. A small thing that makes a big difference. If I go into a situation expecting turmoil and strife, I am probably going to find turmoil and strife. 

If I have an attitude of calm - peace - confidence I am going to have a more positive and affirming experience. It can be difficult to be in good attitude. But unpleasant situations are not improved by discord and pettiness. 

I can be a kinder me by having a better attitude and not always expecting the worst. This brings to mind something I saw on Facebook: Congratulations. As of today, you have survived 100% of your worst days.

Think about it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 6.

I can meet negativity in various ways.

I can reflect the negativity back into my life, spreading more negativity.

I can deflect the negativity away from me, and not show concern for where it lands.

I can absorb the negativity and allow it to alter how I interact with humankind.

I can absorb the negativity and replace it with kindness and affirming actions and attitudes.

I like that last option the best.

There will always be haters, doubters, people who do not believe in my ability to live a kind and compassionate life. I have the power and the inner resources to live a life that is authentic to my beliefs and goals. That is my choice.

Patience, understanding, kindness, empathy.

If enough people choose these, we can change the world - for the betterment of all humankind.

Todays post is in honor of a kind and consistent friend on his birthday. I am so glad to have you a part of my life, Thomas "Chuck" Edwards. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

31 days to a kinder me. Day 5.

What are the things that I use as excuses to not be involved - engaged - participatory? 

Do what you can ... I cannot change the world. I cannot single-handedly eradicate war, poverty, hunger, and disease. I cannot single-handedly heal the planet. But there is much I can do. I can be loving, compassionate, kind, generous, patient. I can be a good steward of my resources, and my immediate environment. 

I can be the person I would like to be friends with. I may not have everything but what I do have I can use to my best abilities.

I can help a friend, a neighbor. I can offer a smile, hold open a door, pause instead of rushing in front of a fellow shopper. 

I can drop my spare change in a donation jar, round up my debit/credit purchase to give to CMN, buy the 2 for 1 specials and give the extra canned goods to a local pantry. I can support the efforts of teachers and community leaders to span the gap in the nutritional needs of our future - our children. 

I can be kind, not selfish. We all can. We can do what we can, with what we have, where we are.