In today’s episode we’re going to see how we can rekindle kindness with other people.  In the previous episode (No. 3), we focused on noticing kindness within yourself and through memory of past experiences.

As we learn to cultivate more presence in our lives that means being present with the people in our lives, too. Let’s try this when it might not be so easy and see how the power of a pause can be the bridge for connection.

One of many definitions for breath is spirit: the force within a person that lends the body life, energy, and power.

You can use your breath to find light in a dark tunnel by igniting your caring circuitry anytime and in any place. Taking three deep breaths is a portal to being present. It’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself and for others. As you do so, your body posture, such as a leaning in with a slight tilt of head, can enhance feelings of compassion.

Once you become used to working with your breath, try adding a simple compassion breathing technique that helps in difficult moments.  

Today’s Skill

  • Breathe in and out in a comfortable way.
  • Breathe in, down to the bottom of your lungs, and notice your belly begin to expand. Exhale and release the flow of air. Repeat.
  • You will feel your belly rise and fall with each breath. Feel the flow of air through your nose and down into the bottom of the lungs. Breathe in a natural and gentle way, the way a sleeping baby or a contented cat does.
  • Follow the rhythm of your breath, noticing your body rise and fall. Let yourself feel the inner spaciousness of presence. Listen to your moment-to-moment experience. Turn toward yourself with kind awareness. You may imagine yourself being held or wrapped in a warm blanket.
  • As you breathe in and out, you may find it helpful to quietly say the word “peace” on the inhale and the word “calm” on the exhale. Or simply say something like, “I am okay,” “All is well,” or “I hold myself and others with tenderness.”
  • As you breathe, bring to mind a sense of warmth, comfort, and ease, or whatever you need in the moment. Inhale this soothing feeling. Then bring to mind a person who is struggling and needs compassion. After you inhale a comforting breath for yourself, on the exhale offer the other person feelings of kindness, caring, comfort, and ease.
  • Then return to yourself, breathing in warm sensations. Then switch back to the person you are visualizing. In an even flow of in- and out-breaths, receive and give warmth and kindness. Like a see-saw. Back and forth, back and forth.
  • One breath in for me, one breath out for you.

Today’s Reflection

Call to mind an instance when taking a pause helped you in some way, or a moment of kindness when you were the giver or receiver. Or may you heard a story that stuck with you. Whatever it is, share this story with another person today. Notice the sensations, feelings and thoughts that arise in the retelling.

You may even want to ask: What has life taught me about kindness?

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