It's February in Western New York State and the skies seem even grayer this year than in winter's past. I find myself talking with friends and colleagues that are experiencing a new type of anxiety and depression. I must admit, I'm extremely uneasy as well. Some of this can still be attributed to the weather and lack of sunshine. However, I'm feeling that much of the distress has to do with our new president and his radical agenda. I get it, the Trump phenomenon was a rebellion. That's what got so many disenfranchised people so fired up to support and vote for him. He ran against a corrupt establishment promising to "drain the swamp" that he claimed had been running our government for too long. As someone who typically admires rebellious men and women who act as change agents, I am deeply troubled by this so called "rebel" who is now occupying the White House. The kind of rebel I admire is highly principled, honorable and cares about a cause greater than his or herself. Trump is an unhinged con man, who cares only about himself and his "ratings". Since election day and his stunning upset victory, I have experienced a wide range of emotions. I've felt outraged and terrified for my children's future. I have conversations on a daily basis with many people that can't believe this is happening in the United States of America. In the midst of this very dark time, I see a light emerging on the horizon in the form of a rebellion I haven't seen since my youth, when I actively protested the Viet Nam War. How I plan to participate going forward is in the spirit of two of the greatest rebels of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Martin Luther King. These spiritual giants affected great change in India and the USA without any violence whatsoever, never firing a single shot! I recently had an awakening and realized I couldn't fight anger with anger . I will be actively involved in resisting the Trump agenda with civility and kindness . My commitment is to do so in the spirit of non-violent love and compassion following the examples of Gandhi and the Reverend King.
There’s a gif floating around social media these days that says “Sprinkle kindness like confetti.” For some reason, whenever I see that quote I picture a fairy showering kindness all over – an image that always makes me chuckle. In my next life, I want to come back as a Kindness Fairy. Who’s with me?! Until then and during these crazy times it’s more important than ever to be kind – to ourselves and to others – to be frank though sometimes it feels like kindness is really hard. One of my yogis said to me recently “I feel like I can be kind again after yoga class.” This struck me as such an awesome, rebellious and brave statement. It’s hard for many of us to even admit to being unkind, never mind proactively finding means to help us get back to being kind.
Responding with kindness takes practice and it can become a habit just like everything else we do. Like any habit though it takes mindfulness, a willingness to change, and repetition in order to get that kindness confetti to stick. I’ve been experimenting with responding with kindness and I realized that it positively impacts me as much as the people I’m sprinkling. I’m more at peace, I’m happier and I have less stress when I come from a place of kindness.
Here are some things I do to help cultivate kindness:
1. Take a deep breath and then respond rather than immediately reacting 2. Practice yoga to clear my mind and alleviate stress 3. Be mindful of the energy I bring into a space, positive energy is contagious 4. Remember that everyone is doing the best they can and we each operate from our own level of consciousness 5. Smile often, especially if the person I’m looking at is frowning
Let’s rebel, let’s celebrate and let’s sprinkle kindness like confetti! Meg Burton Tudman Health Coach | Yoga Teacher www.MegBurtonTudman.com