This year, I’ve discovered a new “hammer,” and as often happens, everything looks like a nail to me now.
The hammer I’m playing with is kindness. Bringing kindness to everyday interactions. And particularly being kind to myself.
I’ve discovered immense power in taking a moment and telling that scared part of me “I’m here with you.” When I’m hurt, I acknowledge that part “I see your pain.” Even that caustic, critical part of me deserves hearing “I honor your commitment.”
This new year in particular, I think I need all the kindness I can muster. Fear and hope and anger and pain swirl around and through me. There’s so much possibility and newness, and so much fighting and hatred.
The more kindness I bring to myself, the more that spills out on my friends and loved ones. The more space I bring to my weaknesses – and my strengths – the more I have for the foibles of my fellow travelers.
This week, I’m carrying around a wonderful Tree puppet, who’s standing in for my harsh inner critic. And whenever I catch that voice speaking up, I cast it out to the puppet, and love and acknowledge and appreciate my little friend.
Where would bringing kindness make a difference in your life? What can you do this year to be kind to yourself, your loved ones, even your enemies? What practices do you have for being kind? We’d love to hear from you!
I have two of Flame’s pieces to share. The first, Sweet Slumber, is a perfect reflection on kindness. Such a peaceful scene, with a mountain Goddess sleeping in her favorite spot.
“The meadow was originally inspired by land my sister owned in Florida, a peaceful sanctuary for me. The background is inspired from my time around the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. These imaginary peaks called for a woman in repose.
“This painting expresses my yearning for being out in fields like this, with the soothing sounds of running water.”Flame
I’ll likely revisit Persephone’s Promise a few times. There are so many layers to this painting for me. For today, it’s the perfect piece to explore my inner critic. Rainbow colors turn into a clashing, angry background to a somber, enigmatic Dryad. When the critic is active, I picture it in a world like this.
Deep among her roots, though, are a new generation, new ideas, new goals, new promise. It is because of these that my critic deserves kindness.
“The world can seem so dark and intimidating sometimes. Even at it’s most barren and bleak, there’s life and creativity under the surface, and even on the surface if we look close enough.
“I originally started this painting with fiery spirals under the tree, with the roots growing through them. They were so vibrant and lively, though, that I began to see embryos. They are the promise of life to come in Springtime.”Flame