Now I am reading a book called Awakening Kindness: Finding Joy Through Compassion for Others, by Nawang Kechong. In the exercises at the end, he suggests living a day devoted to kindness, and describes the many ways we can be kind. Last night I decided to adopt this idea today.
There aren't many of us awake around here this Monday morning - Natasha and me. It is mostly easy and natural to be kind to her; she wants a cuddle first thing when I get up. She wants her canned food when my cellphone alarm goes off at 8:00 a.m. and I take my Neoral. Sometimes she doesn't recognize kindness, of course, as when we give her her two daily doses of liquid antibiotic. She doesn't even know that her baseline exam at the Vet's cost $125, nor could a cat understand the concept of money.
After the cuddle, the first kind thing I did was put the teakettle on and get the water hot to defrost the birdbath. I haven't seen any creatures use it yet, but I have faith. I like being kind to the birds, especially now that it's been so cold and wet, the remaining berries covered with snow. Then I noticed myself throwing out Tashi's water from last night to give her fresh, and a little thought crept into my mind, This is not kind to the earth. That water can be put into the little watering can for the indoor plants.
Gratitude to the earth preoccupied me as I reheated some fried potatoes we'd brought home from a restaurant, imagining the human hands that planted these, or ran the machines that planted and harvested, the semi that transported them here, the roads it ran on. . . . I thought it might not be hard to get one of those sacks they sell now to plant potatoes in, maybe that would be kinder, take less resources. Wishful thinking; we don't have a full day of sun except in the front yard. The sack would look peculiar out on the lawn. I'm working on this.
But the most striking thing was realizing kindness toward myself. How many little things I want to do, need to do to have a more peaceful life, like get my new purse calendar filled in. Do my small finances for the month. Put a second coat of nail polish on, to keep my fingernails from breaking and peeling (effect of the immunosuppressants, I guess). Get a second pair of rubber gloves on the grocery list, to protect my fingertips from cracking. All things that mitigate against having any grand aspirations.
I also had thoughts about how following impulse is often really not so kind, if it means these other things don't get done and ba-a-ad karma ensues. Nevertheless, I know I'll make time for a game now and then of Color Junction. A game or two between tasks, not thirty. Hey, it relaxes me from all this discursive thinking.