Skip to main content

A very merry Christmas and a kind New Year

Our Christmas was filled to overflowing with indulgences of all kinds - rich food and drink, neverending dessert selections, presents. Could we properly enjoy any of it? And yet, this is a timeworn observation. Christmas, no matter how pleasant the times with family and friends, can simply manifest as yet another outgrowth of the need to consume.

It's eminently human, of course, to have these needs. To want creature comforts. To share a nice meal with the ones you love. To have a nip of bourbon and a slice of chocolate cake - what's wrong with that? To exchange carefully chosen, even modest presents - again, is there an issue here?

Absolutely nothing is wrong with any of these things, in and of themselves. The problem is when these are the only focus of the holiday.

Be honest. Did you think about the needy this Christmas? A fleeting thought, or something more substantial? This is not a character indictment. This is a chance for legitimate spiritual growth and contemplation.

Let's ring in the new year with greater kindness and love for ourselves and our neighbors. Especially the ones you find most challenging to love. Say a special kind word for them. I promise, it can't hurt.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All I want for my birthday is...

Have you ever had a bad day turn around because of incredibly small, yet memorable, act of kindness? Maybe a stranger smiled at you in the grocery line, or opened a door for you, or let you go first after a stop sign. Or perhaps you heard from an old friend, calling you just because. A hug, a genuine question about your day, or simply the gift of listening -- all of these acts have power.

Rabbi Hillel* famously said,
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?" There's so much that can be read into a quote like that, but let me offer this interpretation through the lens of kindness. Performing kindness (e.g. self-care) for yourself is a genuine form of kindness for the world. And likewise, acting in kindness for others is also a boon to one's own soul.

In that spirit, I offer this request. All I want for my birthday (Oct 23) this year is to put a dose of kindness into the world. And I need your help. If we ea…

The 95% Rule

Yesterday morning, I was walking back to the house from the gym - my usual route, across Canal Street. Per usual at 7.45am, the road was filled with rushing cars, commuting to points downtown. Per usual, I entered the crosswalk. And for nearly the hundredth time, I almost got sideswiped by a car that was legally mandated to stop for pedestrians.

All of that was, sadly, well within the norm of my experience. But what pushed me over the edge was the fact that the car that nearly killed me took the time to roll down his window and scream obscenities at me. The car was a Lexus, driven by a man in his 50s or 60s.

If only he had paused before the crosswalk,  rather than after. Evidently he had the time to do one but not the other?

What's a compassionate human being to do?

Pause. Breathe. Forget about it. Send a dose of kindness his way, enough to disinfect him from whatever scum was infiltrating his mind.

Did I do that? Of course not at the time. But later - maybe.

When's the last …

Flights Suck, Airlines Suck Harder, But Hey: We're Going on Vacation!

I like to write posts on kindness when I have recently battled rage. Especially when I have experienced that unique rage that gets directed at incompetence. You know the type. Themes include:
"Why can't I get anyone in customer service to explain what's happening, after being on hold for 20 minutes? Don't they know how to do their jobs? They're getting paid to talk to me, not the other way around!"
Yes, undergoing a rage attack really brings into perspective: the gap between current state and desired future state in cultivating kindness.

You see, as I was writing this post initially, yours truly was sitting on the runway at Newark, waiting for my flight to get underway. It was a flight from Newark to Houston. Except that I began the day at Boston Logan, and aimed to end up in Memphis. The interim stop in Houston was unplanned. Ah, United Airlines! They had a few tricks up their sleeves for me.

I found myself getting very caught up in the minutiae of various …