Monday, October 27, 2014

mindful monday: kindness

spot for this week's writers' retreat

Bonjour from Ulster County, New York. 

I'm gearing up for a 5-day writing program with Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder. You may recall his podcast interview here many moons ago on the writing life.

We're staying at the Mohonk Mountain House--a 145-year-old hotel complete with a fireplace in our tiny room and a tea and cookie hour. I feel at home. The mountain is filled with vibrant yellow, orange, and red leaves that beckon us to settle in after weeks of moving quickly. 

It's the perfect reset button as I tie a bow around the Anthology (going to print tomorrow, fingers crossed) and return to my memoir-writing dream.

During this summer's mindfulness training with Jon Kabat-Zinn, I got chills when he recited a poem titled "Kindness." When my mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher also shared it, I knew I needed to post it here. 

It's by Naomi Shihab Nye and here's an interview with her on the making of the poem. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
  
Wishing you a week of kindness. Toward yourself and all other beings. Bisous. x

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
- See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/kindness-naomi-shihab-nye#sthash.gqFvJfI5.dpu

 photo sig.jpg

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