Sunday, March 16, 2014

I choose kind

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I think at the end of the day it's all about kindness. That's the message I'm choosing to take away from the events of the past month.

I think it's pretty interesting that I got so sick at a time when I was possibly the fittest and healthiest physically I have been for years. Now, in retrospect, I can see that while I was eating and exercising well, I wasn't doing so well emotionally.

My plan from here on is to surround myself with kind. To be kinder to myself and those around me. And to properly accept kind in return.

At the end of last year our Jazzy started at a new school. A week or so in I asked her to describe the school in one word. She chose kind. I was elated. A school that feels kind is where I wanted my girls to be. But now I want something bigger. I want to live a kind life.

I have this thing I do where I take on the weight of the world. I read and listen to all the horror and tragedy that goes on and I imagine what it would be like to live through something like that, or to love someone living through it, and my stomach aches and I cry. It's almost addictive this need to follow the news. But then after the crying I feel terrible that I'm not actually doing anything practical. I'm not helping Syrian refugees into Jordan, I'm not sifting through satellite images to find a missing plane, and I'm not looking after sick or injured or displaced children. My heartache isn't really of any use and I think if anything it just makes me sick and drains me. So with a lot of encouragement from my farmer boy, I've decided to be kind to myself and switch it all off for a while. It feels harsh but necessary.

Next is to surround myself with kind. Make more of an effort to spend time with people who make me feel good and make me feel like they care about me. I think that's important. Positive people spread positivity and that's what I need right now.

And I want to be kinder. I don't know if I should admit this, but I was really aware of how people were behaving to me and my family while I was sick just now. It meant the world when people showed they cared by calling and texting and doing cute little things. It made us all feel loved and thought of. I want to be the person who sends cards and bakes cookies and remembers the big and little things. I want to be kind in good times as well as bad.

I think that the fact that the infection was in my left breast, so close to my heart, says a lot. I've been spending too much time with heart aching for the world and not enough time allowing my heart to be filled with all the love that I have right here. My farmer boy, our girls, my parents at the bottom of the hill, our farm, the rest of our family, our community. This is where my energy needs to go.

I want to be an example of kind to my girls. I want to teach kind and thoughtful and lovely by example. I want them to see me being understanding and friendly and generous and sympathetic and forgiving and accepting.

And I really, really, really need to be kinder to myself. I really do. I need to learn to listen to and accept compliments. I need to learn to not be so critical of my own work. I need to push myself to places that challenge me and believe that I will not only make it, but also grow.

I feel like this period of near-death thoughts is an opportunity for change. My friend Melissa reminded me the other day that on New Year's Eve I said I felt sure that something big was about to happen in my life. Something that would answer the questions I had been asking about what my story is. Maybe this is all it? The more I think about it, the more I can see that I certainly needed to be shaken up a bit.

But I'm not being unrealistic. I know I will feel bitchy or PMSy at times but I guess part of being kind to myself is working out a way to deal with things in a way that doesn't take over my life. I'm learning that it's better to take the easy way out sometimes rather than stay up all night stressing. Let it go.

So today, on the 16th of March, I'm starting again. I'm making a fresh start. From now on, it's all about kind. I'll let you know how I go.


Big kind love to you guys.
I'm off to preserve the crates of plums all over the kitchen floor.


xx

ps. I'd still love your postal address Kathy A from Brisbane.

57 comments:

  1. It's really all about focusing on the goodness and beauty in the world and around you. Both are everywhere, kindness too. I'm a great believer in gratitude for the little things - we are so lucky really.

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  2. Kindness makes the world and hearts spin. I suspect you are a natural, so I think you'll go very well indeed. x

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  3. kate you wouldn't believe how timely this post is for me to read. I have been having these very thoughts about kindness, it's been the topic of conversations with my boys, so much so I have noticed the odd eye roll! I was awake in the middle of the night wondering about my own generosity and kindness toward others, timely I tell you! you'll do great, you might be one of the kindest people I know..x

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  4. I watched this Tedx talk last week and it kinda fits with what you're saying today.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7tu9nJmr4Xs

    I'm trying to be the kinder person too, the one who remembers birthdays and sends a card, helps a mother at the supermarket, drop a meal off to a family who needs a night off. Treat others as you want to be treated - that's my 2014 goal.

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  5. I can't believe it Kate, must be going around. I wrote a similar post this week (and Pip had a similar one too!)

    http://www.myplanbproject.com/2014/03/i-heard-news-today-oh-boy.html

    about needing to switch off a bit from the harsh news around us. Sometimes it becomes a bit much and overwhelming thinking you can't do anything about it. Focusing on putting kindness out into the world will surely help the world at large.

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  6. ahhh...yes Kindness. That's what I want to be all about too :)

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  7. I believe it all starts with how we treat/speak to and about ourselves. If we are kind to ourself then we will naturally extend that kindness to others. You will be great at it :) Oh and I think switching off from the media saturation is the best idea, it doesn't mean you don't care it just means that you are taking care of yourself by recognizing what is good for you and what isn't. You will still hear about and know about the world and what is happening but you will be able to focus on the area where you can make a change and show kindness.
    I hope you'll continue to share your journey with us
    cheers Kate

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  8. I think it's a lot harder these days because we are exposed to so.... Much news from around the world. And the news on TV tends to talk about all the bad stuff. I rarely watch or listen to the news because I know I am a sensitive person and I too tend to take it all on board. I then get frustrated because I can't fix the problem. I now concentrate on me and my family first and then the community around me. I CAN help these people. We also need to look after ourselves so we have the energy to look after others. I know that it would be not good if everyone thought like this, in relation to the bad things happening in underdeveloped countries. However I have children at home that I homeschool and that I am responsible for. I also grow some of our food and make as much as I can from scratch. This is what I believe to be my current purpose. I can't be everywhere doing everything. Take care xxoo

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  9. Not taking on the weight of the world doesn't mean we don't care. It means we are looking after ourselves and our immediate family where we can make the most impact. I stopped watching the news about 5 years ago as I found that the only things that were reported were negative, horrible and depressing. I can't have that in my house day after day and not have it affect me. I do care very much about the world and the things that are wrong in it but I can be far more effective by making sure I am able to teach and be there for my family and give to the small community I live. Sometimes we feel ineffectual because we aren't taking on the worlds problems, what can we do though to help? I think we can help by setting a good example at home to our family and being kind and helpful to those nearest to us. It's the ripple effect when you think about it. You are contributing in a small way to make the world as a whole a better place. I hope you find the balance between caring and looking after yourself. Small steps. Anne xx

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  10. It's easy to forget these gentle traits and that they are worth so much more than outer appearances of success. Good on you, what a noble goal to strive for.

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  11. "The truth is ..... once you learn how to die, you learn how to live." - Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom - Sent with light, love and laughter. x

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  12. I can relate to the idea of needing to be kinder to yourself - I know I'm not alone in being my own harshest critic. Thanks for writing this, I definitely needed to read it today! x

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  13. You speak totaly out of my heart. I read the book "The hapiness Project" from Gretchen Rubin. I think I was just realy happy for my whole life, but this book was so inspiring to me. So I changed little things and in the review this little things were very important. For example I've stopped reading newspapers and watching tv one year ago. Sometimes I fell a little stupid when talking with others not knowing the newest news, but I feel right better and luckier. I focus on me, my family and my community as much as I can and it feels also right. And kindnes is a very big deal of hapynes.
    x Jutta

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  14. Sometimes life gives us a "do over". I think that some people FEEL more deeply than others and it sounds like you are one of those people. It's a double edged sword because you are more compassionate, kind, and caring. Because of these qualities you can hurt deeply when others are hurting. I know my limit on the news and world tragedies and I do turn have to it off sometimes. It's okay and it's healing. Do be kind to yourself and take some time to focus inward. My faith helps me and to be perfectly honest, I have been on an antidepressant for years. I used to be so embarrassed about that, but with it I am a better version of me. Depression is a very real thing that shouldn't be ignored. Bless you and your family!

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  15. Beautiful post, Kate. I think kindness is one of the most important things too. And I still think you can be effective in helping in the wider world without reading about every bit of bad news. Thanks for sharing your journey. I love your blog! fiona x

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  16. It's the beginning of the rest of your life. Such a lovely, positive, inspiring post. I need to be reminded of these things too, and I completely understand what you say about being emotionally drained by the constant stream of bad news stories. We need to hear positive, uplifting things as well. Stories of people overcoming adversity and doing amazing things and living lives of goodness and kindness. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I've found them truly inspirational. I hope that you succeed in feeling spiritually better as well as physically better. CJ xx

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  17. big kind love back to you Kate, xxx i too take on the worries of the world and decided a while back to not watch the horrors i can do nothing about,,,one step at a time, hey x

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  18. Beautiful post. Kindness is definitely my life mantra too. Xx

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  19. a great realization. Be kind to you. Practice self-compassion. Easy said than done! it sounds like you are on the right path now. A lovely post. Heather X

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  20. thank you kate. i liked this post a whole lot.

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  21. oh Kate you have no idea how much your words are my words! i was so ill, hospital tests were booked and specialists said scary things! at that point the unkindness i had been surrounded by forever really became evident as lack of support and actually more than that...pure cruelty.....became i pill i couldn't swallow any more! Heck i thought I was dying and yet even then people couldn't let up! and so i began the new year with much fewer people in my life and a quest for kindness as well! YOUR WORDS ARE SO MY OWN! health results came back clear and shocked doctors began to say stress and anxiety! But as i search for kindness the symptoms are going and i feel better. i would also add into your words that creativity can help. I began A YEAR OF DOLLS AND ME project, it just began out of all these feelings and now creating is like air to breathe! you are such a creative soul i know you will understand! Never underestimate the power of creativity for good in your life. Your girls calling their schol 'kind' fills my heart with joy. I send you so much love and fresh hope for your quest/our quest towards kind xxxxxxxx

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    1. It is astounding that it sometimes takes severe illness to force us to take stock of our priorities. I can relate to your comments above. I am certain that stress - emotional and physical - will manifest as physical illness if we do not address it. There is too much anecdotal evidence around for me to believe anything else, however I do not necessarily believe that stress alone causes illness but it certainly will bring on any latent problems.

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  22. I was just talking about this with a friend today about switching off from all the bad in the world and "make happy" for myself, family and community. Doing little kind things like baking and helping out at playgroup, school or friends in need. I am joining you spiritually so to speak. xx

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  23. Oh yes - I switched off the news a few years ago. It effected how I perceived my world. Everything was sad and tragic and my heart hurt constantly, I aam already a worrier and it wasn't helping.
    I realised that reporters must find the most sensationalist version of events and that we live in a far more global context in which we receive news the moment it happens on the other side of the world. I don't think the world has gotten "worse" - I think we have more access to the information.
    Lovely words x

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  24. Such a touching post, it brought a tear to my eye!
    Jak x

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  25. You are such a fantastic writer... You capture me every time. Kind is good. How I wish I could be more kind too. Don't we all do? But it is hard to be kind when you are overwhelmed, drained and stressed. So somewhere we have to start by peeling all that off... But how? I just still haven't figured it out. I come back from a lovely vacation where life is small and uncomplicated, fits in a travel bag more or less and every day is improvised. I feel good and strong, energized and focus. And I think to myself lets bring this feeling home to every day life. And I try. Oh my do I try hard... Until a few days have passed by and the house is a mess, the chores are piling up, the responsibilities of everyday life functioning sneaks upon me and than I crash. So my unhappiness and unbalanced soul very much lies in just that... It breaks me. I feel overwhelmed, drained and stressed... Again. And I can't stop thinking that maybe we should just peel it all off. Live small and live more day by day than stressing away in teh future... But how? It is almost like society won't allow us to live slow and small... Just a thought. I'm not sure if you or anyone agrees but it is a thought...

    All the best and good luck. Love to read. Love to see your pictures. I might not comment often but I am really enjoying your corner of the world.
    xxx
    Annette
    My Rose Valley

    PS News... I haven't watched news in probably 15 years. My husband does. He reports when there is a Tsunami or a 9/11. But me, no... I just can't. I'm way to emotional and sensitive to really take part in the big big world. I focus on my little world right here right now and that is hard that too at times.

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  26. Just like all of your posts Kate...we can all take something away from this. To be kind and gentle is something we all need to remember, well, I do anyway! x

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  27. I've been so fortunate in that I haven't had to face a life threatening illness but I have close friends who have. All agree that their perspective has changed - one said it was as though someone had given her glasses a good clean and she was able to more clearly see the things that were important to her. This has allowed them to focus and ultimately feel happier with what is around them - appreciating every last drop. It sounds as though you are doing that and your life - and that of those around you - will be all the richer for it. Take care x Jane

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  28. I don't watch the news very much but it still finds it's way into your life. The awful stories filter through to those of us who cry for humanity and want to rescue every child yet can't.

    My little secret, is that there are a gazillion ways to 'give' and be kind to people and to make a difference, from being the person who washes the coffee mugs in the work kitchen (no one ever does this) to doing class room help at school, donating items for raffles, bidding on fundraisers, sharing stories on my fb page for people, doing a survey for a research student, remember the special days in the lives of your friends even the bad days (especially the bad days). These things won't save the children being abused, the people being diagnosed with awful or save the world, but when we all do them, we get a step closer to better than we were the day before.

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  29. Kate, I honestly think you are one of the kindest people I've met and have the kindest blog I love to visit. But being kind to one's self is probably harder to do in practise I suspect. I tune out from all the horrors in the world and find whilst I feel ignorant, it doesn't weigh me down. I used to work in Child Protection and see so much abuse, then drive home to my "normal" life. I would cry and be sick that I couldn't just collect all the kids in my magic bus and drive them far far away from the cruelty they were living. It was gut-wretching. The day I walked away from that job, was a game changer. I don't take the small stuff too seriously, but I cannot imagine what your illness would have done. I may have missed some posts if you have delved into it further, and I am hoping that you are ok. Thankyou for such a heart-warming post too Kate. It sounds as though you've reached some clarity. I wish you all the wonderful kindness both inward and outward. May we all take a lesson in this. God Bless xx

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  30. Every time I talk to my grandmother, she tells me all of the woes of the world that she sees on TV. I do not watch TV, I do not have time to read the news on my computer, we do not get a newspaper, and I am not in the car driving a lot, so I am pretty out of touch with what is going on outside of MY world. Once in a while I will turn on the radio in the afternoon to listen to public radio and I do like the stories that they share. But the mainstream media sensationalizes everything and is so repetitive, without actually saying anything new. And as you said, what can we do about most of the situations. Some would say that I am sticking my head in the sand and running away from reality, but I would rather focus on making my life a good place for my family, to make sure that my daughter grows up in a positive environment.

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  31. Oh Kate - I think you have kindness running through you already
    x

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  32. I think you're right, Kate - kindness is massively underrated. xK

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  33. Kate, I've been a silent follower of your blog for a little over a year now. I have just loved following the wonderful life you and your cute family live. I kept you in my thoughts as you went through this recent scary ordeal and I was elated to hear that everything is ok. This post really struck me. Especially when you said the date. It was this day, 14 years ago, that one of the kindest people I know, my older sister, died suddenly. I think that your ideal of a kind life is just the sort of thing she would have cheered on with gusto! Blessings to each of you. xo

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  34. Follow your heart, Kate, the outside world can ruin our souls with its continual stream of bad news. My husband has a good take on it--we are evolutionarily programmed to care for and be in relationship with only about 140 individuals and to have knowledge of the entire seven billion people in the world is more than our minds can comprehend and we get overwhelmed, quickly and completely. You are right to pull your world in closer and keep it manageable. I have to take news hiatuses or I become overwhelmed too. I am proud of you for making that choice.

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  35. Hello. So delighted about your good news. Kindness is very important. I try to remember a quote I read along the line of 'you don't remember the words that people say but you remember the way that they make you feel'. I think that is very true. Remember to be kind to yourself also, I find that really tricksy! Best love x

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  36. A wonderful message, Kate! Thank you for sharing and I'm popping in shyly to let you know that I've written about you this evening here in France after MY all clear diagnosis.

    Stephanie

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  37. yes yes yes!!!!
    i know exactly what you mean, i too take on board so much sadness from my surroundings and the internet images etc and they do weigh you down, engulf you in sorrow and make just putting one foot in front of the other really darn hard.
    i cry every single day whilst running this farm animal rescue centre but i also open my eyes each day and feel those same butterflies as i am SO grateful for what we have!
    i sew *be kind be gentle* on to lots of my work, i always have done as i truly believe it is a message that we all have the duty to share and put out there ....
    someone on twitter the other day messaged that *kindness is a superpower* and i am very hopeful that it is one of mine :)
    happy thoughts to you from this farmer in the u.k xx

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  38. Yep, being kinder. I need to do this too. I am fighting off post natal depression (which hasn't taken hold yet) by trying to be kinder to myself. I didn't realise until my daughter was born that I expected myself to be the "perfect" mother. And not just a mother.... wife, friend, sister, daughter, citizen. It's mental. I'm finding it hard to be kind to myself, and I guess some days will be easier than others,but I must try.
    And I don't watch the news much. Too much heartache. I'm even struggling with some movies at the moment... I'm extra sensitive for some reason.

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  39. Do be kind and do accept the compliments as you do deserve them :) I like the quote in the comments by Tracy "kindness is a superpower"...

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  40. With you one hundred and ten percent. This is the question I ask my kids the most, 'is it kind?' And what I want them to grasp more than almost anything. Fantastic post. X

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  41. Thanks for the reminder xo. I need to be kind too.

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  42. I cannot even express, how much this post has touched me and stopped me in my tracks. And even less, I know why, but feeling a bit miserable this morning. You are absolutely right; it is all about kindness. If we do not follow that path, where will this leave us? Thank you for these words!

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  43. I read once that this is Stephen Fry's mantra - be kind. So many problems in the world could be avoided if only we practiced kindness.

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  44. I think that your post makes a lot of sense to a lot of people as you can see by the number of comments. It's really easy to do kind things by thinking about how you would feel in that situation. I moved house 3 years ago on my own with my 2 kids from my then marital home. Moving house at the best of times is exhausting let alone from the result of a bad marriage. My sister (Lisa) took a week off work to help me unpack and get sorted but more importantly on the day of the move she was scrubbing the bathroom toilets, pantry etc at my new house while I was still at the old house with the removalists. I had two other friends with me on the day as well providing lunch, getting take out coffee etc to keep us going. Then one of these friends moved house and I put aside the whole day for her. I took a home made banana cake, lunch and helped her pack the final things into the car and took the phot of her and her hubby crying (emotionally leaving a house they had raised their kids). They were moving to acreage. Wile we were at her old house and the removalists had gone I swept and mopped the house for her because I know how exhausted she would have been. I know how much it meant to meant during that time and I was there with bells on when she was moving. Her's was a happier occasion of course but it's still emotional and exhausting. There's lots of things that can be done without spending money and giving someone your time. We can all do something for someone. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  45. I Love this post. Life is hard and lonely sometimes, even when you are surrounded by family and friends. Kindness is underrated all the time and sometimes seen as weakness, but I think it is actually very powerful.
    Many years ago, there was a billboard campaign along the major highways that said: Commit random acts of kindness. I think it was a play on words from the phrase "random acts of violence". It stuck with me, because I realized we have a choice, a powerful choice to be destructive or to build something in ourselves, in other people, in our community. And it gave me this image of how different the world could be if more people took the time to do kind things, like a secret society of kindness ninjas that look average on the outside, but commit random acts of kindness when no one is looking. I know it's weird, but I think that image is what helps me remember.
    I can think of times in my own life when a genuine smile from a total stranger made all the difference. It seems so simple and hopeful. Thanks for writing about this, and all the best to you in your recovery.

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  46. I really want to say something here Kate but it's not easy. I understand your feelings of despair that the news generates- sometimes it's worse than others and recently seems to be one of those times. I too have to make the conscious decision to switch it off- or at least mute it until certain stories are finished. When it gets particularly upsetting I actually tell myself that I really have no right to be getting upset about it, seeing as it's not happening to me. Does that sound harsh?- I don't mean to be. I think the best we can do is to live a caring life and be what we can to those we know and love. Being kind to ourselves is the place to start (very easy to forget though!).

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  47. When the TV is on - I know it's a recording. I know sometimes people are acting, I know it's entertainment but I have an involuntary reaction to winking - I wink back at the same time. Every time.
    There is something in me that is so open to the energy of others that it's a battle not to be drawn in. I rarely watch the news because there is nothing I can do, and yet, as humans we need to know of the suffering of others to make a difference in the world. I have come to the conclusion that I just can't do it with any regularity for fear of being dragged under. I skim the news on the web and listen to the radio just so I know what's going on, but sometimes the big stuff still gets through. The Luke Batty story still makes me weep when I think about it. Start with being kind to yourself, and your family then radiate out. Everything is better with a kind heart, but you already had one anyway. Hope you are better soon. xx

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  48. Yes, Kate, Yes! Kindness is the go.
    I've been trying to be "good" but I think "kind" is a much better word to use.
    At present I'm trying very hard not to get sucked into the emotional world of some over zealous, angry school mums at our new school. I calmly and nicely expressed my opinions (which I don't think they agreed with) and am now concentrating on smiling and letting their "stuff" wash over me and trying to do positive things with my kids.
    Your timing with this post is perfect.
    Being kind, spreading kindness and focussing on being good to others is what it is all about.
    Thanks x

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  49. I love your perspective and I am so happy about your great news. i got cancer when I was the fittest of my life, no red meat, sugar, alcohol for years, running 3 to 4 miles a day, but boom cancer. Being fit allowed me to work through it easier and having a healthy body and mind only made the situation that much easier. I am 14 years away from that scare, I celebrate every Birthday knowing I have made it another year, and for that I am blessed. Love your pictures today, so filled with Joy.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  50. So true, it's very difficult when you see all the horrors of the disasters happening in the world on the news and sometimes you feel so helpless ... and harsh as it may seem I find sometimes you do need to switch off if you can't find ways to help...

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  51. This post is perfect, so much is what I want to say to myself. I stopped watching the news too as crying to myself about the worst humans are capable is not productive, far better to celebrate the best and donate to those who inspire. I also an a firm believer that you have to make sure you look after yourself first otherwise you will burn out trying to help everyone else and end up helping no one. All the best on your fresh new page, let's hope we can all be kinder.

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  52. Hi Kate, I have been reading your blog since I found you on your journey around Australia which was just a heart-dream of mine. We semi-realised that dream after a year spent living in Australia when our children were young and we had decided, with heavy hearts, to head back to England and finished our trip off by travelling from Queensland to Melbourne in a camper. Over pizza in a lovely little place in Healseville, we wished that we had our chance again and had found this magical corner of the world before our visa had led us to a part that we hadn't quite felt at home in. Anyway, I never comment but this post really spoke to me, it came at just the right time and I wanted to thank you for all your lovely words over the years. x

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  53. Oh wow, what a wonderful post, and just look at all these responses!
    I sit here in my little world, having been signed off work for a while due to Depression. I've been 'surfing the web' looking for positive and inspirational posts and came across this post via somewhere else. And boy, do I feel normal again. So many people out there feeling the same as me - I don't watch the news either, and my wonderful husband will update me on anything I should know. I can't cope with the big wide world, only my little corner. And it's when you hit the bottom that you realise who out there is really looking out for you. I like this being kind to myself thought, and to those who mean so much to me. All the above comments have so inspired me to be a better me,and ignore those people that hurt us.
    Kate, I'm so glad I came across your post, chin up sweetie, there's a lot of people out here that are routing for you because they see the kind of person you are. I'm starting to find people in similar situations to me a real help, we understand better, and therefore can help support one another.
    I'm so glad I found this post and read all these comments.
    Thanks to all of you :) xxx

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  54. recently i heard that every decision we make is either based on fear or love. i think choosing kindness is definitely the loving choice! and it seems that we cannot fully have compassion for each other until we learn how to have compassion for ourselves first.
    loved your post - its my first time stopping in here:)

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  55. Choosing kindness definitely makes life sweeter, especially kindness to yourself. That's something I need to work on :) Beautiful thoughts-thanks for sharing!

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  56. My goodness how very right you are. At the beginning of the year I read a lot of bloggers who adopted a 'word of the year' but nothing resonated. However, in reading your post I feel almost, ok I am, teary in reading your beautiful manifesto for the word and deed of 'kind' and really feel it is right to join you in making this my word for this year too.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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