move. smile. release. Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!

Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!

the kindness project

Kindness has been a bit of a buzz word of late - the Wake Up Project’s Kindness Cardsare showing up all over the place and Spiritual Leaders everywhere are agreeing kindness is the glue that brings philosophy into practice.

One of the studios I work at has just begun a 30 days of Yoga & Kindness Challenge. The idea is simple enough, you are challenged to come to class every day for 30 days and practice kindness in 3 ways - the first 10 days are kindness to self, the next 10 days are kindness to others and the final 10 days are random acts of kindness. I got on board, as you do, to show solidarity in the work place, and, to encourage my rehabilitating husband to get back into his Yoga practice (you may remember he broke his collar bone 2 months ago). 

Here’s the thing; I practice Yoga every day any way, and, I’d like to think that on any normal day I’m generally a kind, considerate & generous person, with the occasional wobbly moment thrown in for good measure. I signed up for this in a nonchalant way - as if it wasn’t really going to change much in my life…I’m here to say now “I WAS WRONG!” It’s day 5 as I write this, early days for sure, but I can honestly say the experience so far has been profoundly moving, even life changing.

When it comes to kindness I guess I used to believe that I do what I can, I give what I can, when I can. What I have noticed these last few days is that what we believe we are capable of is so far removed from the truth. What I can actually do, moment to moment, is infinitely more than what I believe. And the more I open up to kindness the more opportunities to give it, and receive it, arrive…almost like magic.

Perhaps the beauty of kindness is that it is such a simple theme that it can be applied to every tiny aspect of life - The Dalai Lama nailed it right on the head when he said “Be kind whenever possible, and it is always possible.” I mean, you can make someone a cup of tea in a way that is more kind than the way you made it yesterday! In any challenging situation you have the choice to respond with kindness or react in another way. Ultimately it is you who will feel the effect of that choice.

Here’s what I’ve done of note, so far, in no particular order:

  • I’ve listened with more attention, to everyone who is speaking to me.
  • I’ve smiled at EVERY person I see, even more than normal.
  • I’ve gifted away a car to someone who needed it more than me.
  • I turned my face instantly from grumpy to smiling when I walked in on my 2 year old drawing all over the wall, and then gave him some more colours.
  • I’ve gifted 3 places on my Women’s Retreat instead of 1, because it felt right.
  • I’ve given way more attention and affection to my dog (the one who caused the collar bone break).
  • I have learned 2 new songs on the ukulele (playing is a way I give myself kindness).
  • I’ve immediately squashed all negative thoughts from my head about my husband sleeping in every morning (some people are just not morning people are they?!) and enthusiastically gifted sleep ins like an act of kindness. Only parents with young kids will understand this one!
  • I’ve created big boundaries around when I run my business - e.g. no emailing after sun set for starters.
  • I’ve given 100% of the proceeds of 2 Yoga classes to the campaign of two 11 year old girls who are shaving their heads for the Leukaemia foundation, because I think they are ace and need to be supported (you can support them here too).
  • I’ve had a bath when I should have been making dinner…because sometimes you have to put your own needs first to be kind.

It feels as though I’ve shifted the gear box of my consciousness ever so slightly to the frequency of kindness - whilst kindness can be an action or a behaviour it is also a quality - the quality of being friendly, generous & considerate, and it is as a quality that it infuses itself in every thought, every habit and spreads like wildfire throughout your life.

I have done all of these things with absolutely no thought of anything in return - the essence of kindness is probably just that: giving without any thought of being repaid. However, the miracle of kindness, like love, is that the more you give the more you get back. It doesn’t necessarily come back direct from the source of where it’s given, but somehow the Universe acknowledges your frequency and reflects it right back to you. In the last few days I have received infinitely more than I have given: aside from general warm, fuzzy, peace, harmony & laughter in all aspects of my life I’ve had opportunities crashing down my door to expand what I do in new and exciting directions. Coincidence perhaps? I tend to think not...

I can’t believe it’s only day 5 - I am intrigued to see what happens over the next weeks!

I have a place to give away at this Sunday’s Yoga for Deep Healing in Fitzroy - to snap it up just write to me a few lines about your experiences with giving & receiving kindness - simple! I’ll let you know on Friday late afternoon if you have won.

 the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention


ps - I've extended the early bird offer for the Thailand Retreat for another 10 days - I totally can't wait to be meditating on the beach in the sunshine!