Each year my employer provides an opportunity for personal development with workshops and team building exercises. Last year at the workshop we were asked to choose a stone out of a basket and write a personal goal across its face. My goal was,”Recognize the Faces of God.” The stone has a prominent place sitting just below my computer screen in plain sight to remind me that every person that walks into my office, past my door, across my path each day is a face of God, a member of our community of Living Spirit. Knowing this, how can I treat anyone with anything but kindness, compassion and love, because dear reader we are all connected.
Thich Nhat Hahn speaks of community in daily life where practicing mindfulness helps us “to emanate peace and freshness, the fruits of living in awareness.” In his book Peace in Every Step there is a lovely meditative practice that speaks of investing in people:
“We can get in touch with the refreshing, healing elements within and around us thanks to the loving support of other people. If we have a good community of friends, we are very fortunate. To create a good community, we first have to transform ourselves into a good element of the community. After that, we can go to another person and help him or her to become an element of the community.” p. 87
Collectively, we are a community of faces, diverse in every way, unique expressions of creative Spirit, in physical form, character and beliefs. How fortunate are we dear reader to know that beside us walking on the busy sidewalk, shopping in the crowded grocery store, or riding the crammed morning train, there are individual manifestations of Living Spirit? Still, lives busy with family, careers, homes and friends many of us go about business barely noticing each other or sharing anything about our lives.
Guy Finley states this very well in his book The Courage to Be Free, of noticing others, of how we must have the courage to act, treating each other with compassion:
“…No one wants others to know the weight of their unspoken pain. And yet, all are burdened with broken dreams, shattered hearts, and whatever other sorrow walks with them through the day. Now have the courage to act on this knowledge: Refuse to ever again add to the pain of another, even a small measure of your own. Whatever suffering you agree to shoulder in this way not only helps to lighten the load of those in need, but also serves to awaken within you the strength you need to be a real friend in deed. Your reward: the birth of a whole new kind of compassion that not only flowers when faced with the weakness of others, but whose fragrance helps heal all those who are touched by it.” p. 61
In other words, you become a flower in the life of others! How cool is that? I am very fortunate to be surrounded by kindred spirits in the workplace. Our Directress sent out a letter just this week celebrating World Peace Day. Here it is suggested we begin and continue to practice random acts of kindness. She has given me permission to share some of the content of this letter with you:
“Shortly after the Newtown slayings, Ann Curry, an NBC reporter tweeted that some people might consider doing 20 random acts of kindness to honor the children lost in this violence. The 20 became 26 to include the adults and I suggest the 26 become [the] 28 who were killed that awful day. The idea caught on and a movement was begun.
Might you and I join in this movement of 28 random acts of kindness to bless those killed and those left behind and affected by this tragedy. Might we be a “presence of peace” through simple random acts of kindness. We do acts of kindness a lot in the community; how much more powerful they are when done with intention. And just maybe we won’t stop with 28 random acts of kindness but will find we want to continue this spiritual, practical practice that brings some peace to our little world and in turn affects the whole world by our very presence. These random acts of kindness will be visible and hidden, small and large, but each will be great and empowering.” ~ D. P., January 2012
She goes on in her letter to remind us that being a presence of peace can come in many forms and so to let our creativity soar with Spirit as It inspires and moves us. Recognize the Faces of God as you walk through each of your days. Hold each other in strength and compassion and remember to practice random acts of kindness. As my colleague suggests, maybe it won’t stop there, maybe we’ll create a new, very powerful habit in our lives…remember, we are more than this.
Below are a few Blogspots and Websites links with ideas to get you on your way! Happy Random Days!
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/
366 Random Acts of Kindness: http://www.366randomacts.org/
And Then We Saved Blog: http://andthenwesaved.com/random-acts-of-kindness-ideas/
Mind Map Inspiration: http://www.mindmapinspiration.com/random-acts-of-kindness-mind-map-paul-foreman/
United Way, NV: http://volunteeruwsn.wordpress.com/category/random-acts-of-kindness/