Are you on the treadmill? Do you wake up each day knowing there are more things to be done than could actually be accomplished? Does it feel like everyone needs a piece of you?
When I begin to feel that way, I know it's time to close my eyes.
With my eyes closed and my body focused on deep breaths, I begin to visualize a super-fast freeway. People are speeding past so quickly, all you can see is a blur of color. I'm in the midst of the chaos until I intentionally remove myself. Then, all of a sudden, I'm on my own road, away from the race and able to just be still. I can see everyone zipping by, but I know I can take things at my own pace.
When I'm ready, I open my eyes, able to greet each thing that comes to me that day with a sense of calm. I don't have to grab onto things whipping past in my social media feed or the frantic emails asking for last-minute solutions. I can see what comes to me that honestly needs my attention and then handle them one thing at a time. I can stay in my lane, in the moment, being present for what is truly valuable.
It's in this state of being that we can both give and receive kindness. We are not overwhelmed by what may be coming down the road. We are fully alive in the here and now.
I'm still working on staying out of the fray, but Pat Pobst of Fargo found someone who appears to have mastered this philosophy. When Pat's husband explained his day, luckily Pat was also moving at a speed that allowed her to see the lessons in front of her.
"My husband was in the hospital for the second time in a month for heart issues. He went to the (Veterans Affairs Medical Center) for a checkup, but used a wheelchair because he was having trouble breathing. I usually go with him but thought it was a regular appointment, so I went to work instead.
"A woman asked if she could help him get where he was going and he said she should go on with her own mission, thinking she was a volunteer and had other jobs to do for people. She told him he was her mission at that time.
"She pushed him around to the lab and Coumadin clinic and back to the lab. In their conversations, he learned she was there because her husband had terminal cancer and not long to live.
"I am thankful for the lessons she taught:
• Take time to make someone else your mission.
• When your situation is hard, remember someone else is going through something more difficult.
• People care about people."
People care about people. Isn't that a warm and reassuring statement?
We can all be people who care about people. Perhaps it starts by jumping off the supercharged freeway of life and choosing moment by moment to make the person in front of us our mission.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.