Kindness in the Ebb and Flow

Post by Nikki Starcat Shields for the Kind Kindred series.


print by laina briedis© on etsy

Kindness in the Ebb and Flow

You know the type of day. Yes, that one: the important e-mail or expected phone call just doesn’t come. Your intentions are misunderstood, even when you thought you were being clear. You’re sure you can help your loved one who’s in crisis, if only they would just follow your advice. You feel a deep yearning, but you’re not sure what you need.

How can you respond with kindness – to yourself, to others, to the earth – even when things aren’t going your way?

You’re doing your best to be aware and giving. You put yourself out there into the world, again and again. Yet sometimes you’re met with rejection. Or, worse, apathy.

It’s terrifying to feel this vulnerable. On those days, you may wonder why you keep trying.

Sometimes you’re completely crushed. Failure is not your friend. It’s supposed to be a learning experience, but it feels more like a hammer blow to the heart.

Other times, you’re reflective. You let your feelings move through you, and you readjust your course. You retreat, going deep within, re-evaluating, hibernating for a while. But then, in time, you move forward once again.

We all have our natural cycles. Like the seasons changing, birds molting, snakes shedding their skins. Yes, like our menstrual cycles, though that’s not what I’m addressing here (even if, as women, those surging hormones may indeed deepen or complicate our feelings). We each live our own personal cycles of creativity and rest, connection and estrangement, ebb and flow.

When your feelings overwhelm you, you eventually get to a point of surrender. You choose, at some point in the process (whether intentionally or by feeling you’re up against the wall) to let go. That’s when the healing begins. You go within, reconnect to yourself and your source, and then re-emerge, reaching out, seeking connection once again in the outer world. This whole cycle might take hours, days, weeks, or months. With practice, it might take moments, as you learn to remind yourself to be in the flow.

Living harmoniously with your own cycles takes some focused attention. Practice being an observer of your inner life (perhaps keeping a journal or meditating, or finding another tool to help you). Have you noticed your own personal cycles? What do they feel like? How aware are you of where you currently are in the process? Do you move through them with grace and intention? Not all the time, no, but more and more often. Notice how you return, again and again, to letting go.

To live kindly is to get in sync with this organic process.

To allow yourself to be as you are. To allow the world to react as it will. To honor your own tides, like you would those of the ocean. To see the beauty in the movement of your life. To dwell deeply in the moment.

You are practicing your own spiral dance of letting go, healing, seeking connection, celebrating, falling down, trying again, feeling deeply, letting go. Kindness is recognizing your dance, and giving yourself the freedom to express it. Being vulnerable to the amazing energies of the universe and your role in it, even when it hurts the most. Laughing and crying and being awestruck, again and again, at your human resilience and creativity.

Be you. Surrender. Keep on dancing.

Nikki Starcat Shields is a writer, Mom, blogger, Reiki healer, and licensed priestess. She offers her insights, antics, and reverent joy at Starcat’s Corner. Nikki is the author of the forthcoming book “Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living.” She shares her calling at her business, Feline Dreamers.

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