Author: G. Jefferies
So, week two of the mindfulness challenge, courtesy of Niki Lopez, already has me nearing a deadline that has appeared from nowhere and dropped me right in it. Why? No idea what to put in this post. Not a very mindful way to begin, but one might consider it could be from the alternate viewpoint of it never being far from my thoughts. This week I’ve been looking for random acts of kindness and that, in turn, has had me thinking other thinks which lead to the title of this non-directional ramble.
There is much said, researched and written on the nutritional aspects of healthy eating, exercise and physical activity to develop a healthy mind and body. Yet more upon the mental exercises to reinforce neural connections and learning and the requirement for sleep to cleanse the mind and clear the debris of neurotransmitters to stave off protein build ups leading to degradation of the synapses and long term impact on mental health. These things are part of the blend and yet there is one ingredient that occurred to me a while back but just wasn’t shouting loudly enough for me to hear.
This week I noticed the more time stressed I get the more I see unmindful people and, conversely, the calmer my mind is the more I see mindful people…bit of an epiphany that. Yes, go on…flipping obvious isn’t it?
Well, my take on this is, and apologies Niki as we bantered this on Facebook, that it’s a form of mind hunger. When hungry and mindful it starts feeding on positives. If it dips the other way then it gorges on negatives. In other words in the same way nutrition and physical exercise imparts wellbeing so does consuming the positive things in life and, in particular events or stories that make you smile or find emotion in empathy as a result of a good deed done by a total stranger. Things that, in the modern tech world, can pass you by leaving the diet of daily news and headlines that suggest disaster await at every corner and the world is a place filled with angst and turmoil…nothing else.
Far be it for me to imply there are not disasters and tragedies going on because that would be stupidly naive, there are and things need solving not continual diatribes, endless debates and a macabre eagerness to make every disaster bigger than the last. What’s missing is the balance, well, a few solutions wouldn’t go amiss …which is where my jabber stops and turns toward the point of something or other.
I know Niki said stop watching the news and start looking for kindness in others, be it family, friends or, if my understanding is right, anywhere it may happen. The key this week was to seek it out. However, rightly or wrongly, news is something I decided to take to task and eek out things that normally lie buried behind the headlines.
My first is a combination kindness. It starts with a pensioner friend who religiously supplies me with crosswords and gems of wisdom, not to mention samples from his experimental culinary trials. Oddly, this has happened for many years and thus become something I’ve taken for granted. Except it’s not, not really. It’s actually a kindness, it’s friendship and trust. More so on my part as sampling weird breadsticks, marmalades, crisp attempts and assorted other savoury home-made snacks holds a modicum of personal risk; a case of Bertie Botts every flavour bean if you are onboard with that reference.
That’s part one; the second ties in with the accompanying paper that he drops off each evening. Last Tuesday I retained a page from ‘The i’ and in particular page two which had a section entitled ‘The News Matrix, the day at a glance.’
Of the nine snapshots from around the globe depicting a variety of grim there was one from Canada that didn’t stand out unless one was looking. The leader was;
Syrian refugees help wildfire victims
Syrian refugees who have lived in Canada for mere months have started to raise funds for the victims of a wildfire that destroyed much of the city of Fort McMurray. Morhaf Aldiri, who arrived in Edmonton in February, told the CBC he knew what it was like to lose everything and wanted to give something back
Our press and political swaggering gives a bad press to refugees with virtually no empathy to the suffering going on that’s lead to mass migration. Yet there in Canada is a kindness going on amidst a conflagration that’s destroying people’s lives by the very people getting a bad press.
The Huffinton Post recently ran a collection of stories entitled Random Acts of Kindnes. For me they all contain that inspirational feeling that out there people are actually willing to help when the moment to make a choice strikes them. These are the balance articles the mainstream side steps.
In a quirky fashion, considering the daily kindness of my pensioner friend moved me into a global media search, all of the above could be deemed cause an effect of a local act that I viewed with a different perspective.
There are, obviously many more examples day to day that often go unnoticed; the queue of traffic where a total stranger pauses to let you filter in, the checkout employee in a busy supermarket that shares a smile and bids one a good day, friends on here that pause their lives to like or make a comment saying ‘thanks for sharing’, messages and words of support that draw a smile, the toddler witnessed smiling at his mum who, amidst an obvious stressed day, could not help but beam back and return his kindness with a hug and ‘thank you’ written all over her face. These are the things that feed the kindness hunger.
It’s not a new concept. Just taken a while to see it in action, get my head round it. A work in progress as it were and to those ends I’m repeating an online mindfulness for well-being and peak performance course starting next week. Have a look if you think it might help. It’s free, accessible from all over the world and run by MONASH University in Sydney with the lead educators Dr Craig Hassad and Dr Richard Chambers. No, before you ask…I’m not affiliated or endorsing this in any way, just sharing something that last time I took it helped change how I look at things…just saying 😇
I hope this has made some sense of my thinking this week! I’m aware it is possibly more a ramble that a cohesive post, but it might be reflecting my own out of comfort zone self reflection inabilities.
Have a fabulous week wherever you might be.
Finally, I leave you with a movie quote and a kindness quiz question. Actor, character, year and film? No google searching either 🙃
“There are people who are having trouble making their miracle happen; there are people who don’t have enough to eat, there are people who are cold, you can go out and say hello to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and go to them and say ‘Here!’, you can make them a sandwich and say ‘oh by the way, here!'”