Season of Kindness

With the uber excess of the holiday season, it is easy to forget the gift that we each already possess, is renewable and transferable, doesn't need to be wrapped, always fits and doesn't cost a dime...the gift of kindness and compassion.  In the Buddhist tradition, this quality of loving kindness or compassion is called metta and is meant to be cultivated and nurtured both in ourselves and extended outward to include all living beings in the world. Self compassion is often the most difficult to nurture, but essential to be able to acknowledge and share your metta with the others.  During this season of giving, why not  save yourself a trip to the mall and consider giving the gift of kindness, compassion and presence?

by Naomi Shahib Nye 

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and 

purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.