I have been very lucky this past week to be on the receiving end of lots of kindness as it’s been my birthday! The week started with a little party my friends put on for me before we all went off to a music festival. Michael, my business partner at Create, arranged for my good friend (and cake maker extraordinaire) Mark to bake me “Louise in the form of a cake”! A glittery green handbag with butterflies, flowers and a cat on! It couldn’t have been more perfect, and was delicious!
The cake theme continued on Wednesday when to the networking group I run in Clapham, More to Life, the lovely Karen bought us all some of her amazing guiness and rum punch cupcakes for us all to sample! They were very decadent and scrumptious.
To top off the cake theme, when I popped out to yoga on my birthday my friend Polly whizzed around our kitchen to rustle me up some of my favourite chilli chocolate brownies for me. So it really has been cake all round! I think I will have to return to my raw food diet this week…..
I decided to so something different for my birthday this year with my intention of being kind in mind. I know I said I wouldn’t talk about the acts of kindness I have been carrying out but I am going to mention this one as I think it’s a fantastic idea and hopefully some of you might like to join in too! Action Against Hunger are running an appeal at the moment to save the lives of malnourished children, it’s called Love Food Give Food. Basically you host a dinner party for your friends, set up a Just Giving account and then at the end of it your guests are asked to donate what they think the food was worth. Action Against Hunger hope to raise over £1million per year by 2015 from all those who really love food, 92p of every £1 raised goes to their programmes and services. You can download recipes, invites and place cards, they also suggest different themes for each month.
In line with my trip to India later in the year I chose to make it an Indian themed dinner party. It was so much fun organising it, I had a trip to Tooting which is like a little India in the middle of London. I found bindi’s for everyone there, an amazing sparkly sari to use for a table clothes, Indian coconut and mango icecream and delicious samosa’s for our starters.
This is a photo of us just about to dive into our curries:
All throughout the week another word has been coming up for me, Patience. It’s been written about in the books I have been reading, given as a mantra in the meditation course I am doing and just popped up in conversations with others. Patience with others is another form of kindness, so often we get agitated or frustrated with people being slow or not doing what we want them to when we want them to. I have been thinking a lot about patience as a result of this and aisde from the obvious feeling of impatience you experience when you are in a rush it’s also really about wanting to be in control. When you are trying to control a situation, an outcome or even another person this leads to feeling impatient. Ultimately anything external from us is out of our control, so kindness and patience with others comes from letting go and being more peaceful within, trusting that we are doing all we can do, others are doing the best they can and what ever the outcome will be the right one. Also not everyone has the same agenda as us, the same values, the same urgency about certain situations, so why should they rush?! So anytime I am feeling impatient with people I am practising sending them love instead.
Again I had another epihany in a yoga class last week, we were in that same posture (half pidgeon) as the week before which helps you to release emotions and again the teacher read a passage from a book, A Journey To The Heart. This time it was all about allowing yourself to feel frustrated. Often when I feel annoyed by the way things are going in my life or by a situation I spin it in to a positive and dismiss the negative feeling, but actually it is ok to feel frustrated. Sometimes things are just simply not fair and we are allowed to acknowledge this! Once you accept a feeling it tends to be released anyway, it’s what you resist that persists.
I am continuing to do my little acts of kindness which are very subtle and just pop up when I am least expecting it, just having the intention to be kind helps you to notice opportunities to be it. There have been times when I could easily just carry on being wrapped up in myself of in too much of a rush to want to go that extra mile for someone but just having the intention has forced me just to do it anyway. Each time I do it I feel a fantastic sense of connection with that person, an emotional lift and I am bought into the present moment.
Finally I am going to leave you with a couple of lines from a prayer that a little girl read out in her Sunday School yesterday. I went along because it was my mother’s birthday and she was helping out in the creche there. This little girl had to write and read out a prayer to get one of her Brownie badges:
“Please help me to be kind,
And do a good turn every day”
For my last post on Kindness I would like to share some stories from you on where you have felt touched by someone else’s kindness. If you have one you’d like to share please email them to me at [email protected]. Thank you in advance!