Kind for the holidays

The holidays are a crazy, stressful, emotional time. That’s the perfect crucible in which to sprinkle some extra kindness and compassion. Maybe you’ve already been focused on kindness this year. It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over. Is it just me, or has it seemed to fly right by?

December is a good month to look back over the year and see how you’ve grown. What have you learned? Have you been able to bring more kindness into your life and your interactions with others? Do you feel happier and more centered than you did when 2015 began?

If not, no need to worry. You’ve got a whole month left in the year in which to embody your goals.

Remember the mysterious power of radical kindness? It will change your entire world, if you allow it. Ready to ramp up your kindness and end 2015 with a delightful glow?

Let’s do this!

How? By bringing kindness into all aspects of your experience. It’s not as hard as you think. First, let’s do a bit of a review.

Start here within your own heart and mind.

Remember that you are part of the Divine. You are made from the same stuff as the stars, the oceans, the grand mountains of this beautiful planet. The spark that keeps you going is the same fire that powers the sun. When your inner voice is critical of all you’ve done or haven’t done, pause and recall that you’re a natural part of this amazing cosmos. You are a beloved child of the Universe, loved unconditionally. Let that sink in for a moment.

Now notice the people you’ve surrounded yourself with. Sure sometimes your family and friends drive you crazy, but you love them, right? Look for the things that you adore about your loved ones. Think of the kindness they’ve shared with you over the course of the year. How have your tribe members been there for you when you needed a helping hand? Make a mental list of all the blessings that have come to you from your family and friends in 2015.

Let the love that you feel for these special people in your life wash over you. Rather than attaching yourself to those good feelings, or wishing you had more of them, just let them warm your heart and flow through.

Next, think about the kindness and love you’ve shown to other beings this year. How do you serve your community? You volunteer, offer prayers for those in need, give to charity, or help others through the work you do. Maybe you took in a rescue pet or baked cookies for a fundraiser. Think about how the kindness you’ve shown has rippled outward from your actions.

Have you taken steps to be greener, more environmentally conscious this year? Eating local and organic food, recycling and bringing reusable bags to the store are just a few ways you might be changing things up. Nothing is too small. Don’t be tempted to judge yourself. Just look at how your thoughtfulness is expressed in an expanding kindness to the world we share.

Think next about your willingness to play and to be creative. What are some highlights of 2015, the things you really loved? A special vacation? Playing in the water with your kids? Writing a poem or blog post that you were really proud to share? Remember all the joys that you’ve experienced throughout the course of the year. Bring them into your consciousness and embrace them fully. Playing and creating are fantastic ways to tap into the flow of cosmic kindness.

What about spiritual practice? Have you taken the time this year to meditate, to take solitary walks in nature or to write in your journal? Think about the ways you’ve chosen to nurture yourself. Prioritizing self-care and kindness to yourself is pretty radical. If you’ve done any of this during 2015, give yourself a pat on the back or a loving hug.

Express your gratitude for all of these things – all of the ways, large or small, that you’ve shared kindness this year.

Finally, think about the areas we’ve just reviewed. What are some ways you feel called to share more of yourself and enhance your connection with the kindness of the Universe? You could add these ideas to your goals and plans for 2016.

Or you could just put them into play this month, right now, today.

Keep it simple. Write some self-care into your schedule for this week – in pen. Tap into your creativity and your love of family by making holiday gifts. Dial back on holiday consumerism by giving the gift of your time, shared experiences, or “adopting” a star or a whale or a redwood on behalf of someone on your gift list. Forgive the person who cuts you off while driving and wish them well. Sit down for a rest and a cup of tea when you get home – dinner will wait for a few minutes while you breathe and regroup. Allow the wonder of a child to fill you up. Be dazzled by the twinkling lights and festive music of the holiday season. Get some extra sleep.

Expanding your kindness and weaving it into the fabric of your life doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. By making kind, conscious choices each day you’ll have a huge impact. Resolve to be kind for the holidays, and watch the magic unfold!

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Nikki Starcat Shields is an author, writing coach and leader of transformational writing retreats. She's also a licensed Pagan priestess. She invites you to a process of unfolding creativity. The world needs your unique wisdom - now is the time to finally take your inspired book idea and bring it forth into the world. Learn more at NikkiStarcatShields.com.

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