I spoke to an exhibitor at an art fair this weekend. As I admired her work's beauty, I told her how it invoked a sense of calm and peace. She thanked me and said, "Remember, the beauty may surround you, but your inner peace gives a tremendous sense of calm."
The way she said it gave me pause. I wonder how many of us look to the outside for calm and a sense of peace. Let's face it, a week in the lovely Hawaiian Islands doesn't hurt, nor would having that spectacular painting in my home. But lasting peace comes when you immerse yourself in activities that sustain it.
In addition to activities like meditation and walking, kindness is also mindfulness. It simply feels good to be nice. It ripples out in waves – of kindness.
At the art fair, my partner Bob saw several people struggling with the umbrellas for the picnic tables on the grass. He got back up, and one by one, he helped folks who couldn't quite get those up. Everyone was so appreciative of his efforts. On the way out, one of the groups of women was taking a photo of themselves, and I saw that, with the method they were using, one woman would have been left out of the picture. So, I asked them if I could take a photo of them. They were thrilled and so thankful. They said, "You are the most helpful and kind couple; we are so grateful for you today." The thanks were icing – the smiles filled my heart, and the peace filled every part of me. Honoring others without judgment – simple acts have a huge impact.
It's essential to treat yourself with kindness as well. Taking time in the morning or lunchtime for physical activity (a short walk works wonders!) your attention back to the present moment. This frees you from reliving events from the past or focusing on the "what if's" of the future. Both have their places, no doubt, but giving them too much of your energy depletes you, draining your relationships, your jobs, and your sense of peace.
Practicing mindfulness in any or all of its forms can help create a peaceful life. Sending out waves of kindness is an easy way to help instill some inner quiet and bring more kindness rippling back to you.
That peace you seek is within. Being kind is one step on the path.