Birthright: Loving-Kindness

Hello Beautiful!

I have some amazing news for you! You were born knowing loving-kindness. Not only did you know loving kindness, you practiced it without being taught how or told it was the right thing to do. You were born knowing and living loving-kindness.

How can I be so certain? Because it feels so right to live in loving-kindness. Nothing feels more natural. Being kind is easy. It makes us feel open, light and full of hope. Need more evidence? Watch small children. Watch them when someone they love is sad. Watch them with a puppy or kitten.

Earlier this summer we had a small rainstorm. My three year puts on his boots and grabs an umbrella. As I try and stop him he begins to tell me that “kitty needs help”. I let him go outside, as we don’t have a cat. He goes to my truck and tries to coax out a kitten who was sheltering from the rain.

When I asked him what he wanted to do with the kitten, he told me the “kitty needed to come inside out of the rain.” I then had to spend the next half hour calming him down as the kitten ran off in the rain. A three year old saw an animal without a home, getting wet. He then (independently) took action to care for it. That is loving-kindness.

We are taught that acting in loving-kindness is a weakness. We are taught that people will take advantage of us and yes, some individuals will. Are we wrong to live in loving-kindness? No, those other individuals have chosen to walk a more difficult path that does not involve remembering loving-kindness.

Every one of us will have experiences that pull us away from our innate nature of loving-kindness. This is when we need to be mindful of what is happening. We need to feel what we are feeling, that is healthy. However, we choose how we react or respond to the situation that is pulling us away from loving-kindness.

This is when we choose to feed the negative emotions such as hate, anger, jealousy, etc. or we forgive with love so that we can remain connected to our loving-kindness. If we can stay connected to our loving-kindness, then we can live in alignment with the Universe and create a life that we adore.

We all falter and step away from loving-kindness. The key is to forgive. Forgive yourself for being human, don’t punish yourself. Forgive the situation with love. Forgive the people. Replace those hard emotions with love. Do it for yourself. Do it so you can be in alignment with your greater good. Be the best version of yourself that you can be.

The following is a mantra that you can do a few times a day. This will remind you of what you already know. The exercise will build both your awareness of loving-kindness and your confidence in your ability to live in loving-kindness.

Exercise: Take a long, slow, deep breathe in your nose and then a long, slow, exhale out of your nose. Repeat the following: I know and understand loving-kindness.

If each of us would take the steps to be the best version of who they are. Together we can change the world. Start with yourself and like ripples on a pond, the world will be a better place.

With loving-kindness,
Irisa

Are you part of the problem or solution?

I have begun writing this post numerous times and I am at a loss. The thought that keeps crossing my mind is that the world is going mad. However, the reality is the world has long been mad. The virus and quarantine forced a quiet on the world that made it impossible for people to continue to submerge themselves in their daily lives to the point that they could ignore the madness that surrounds us.

As we looked to social media, news, podcasts and such to alleviate the boredom associated with quarantine. An awareness occurred. I know many people that were not aware of the racism and injustices that occur constantly in our world. People can no longer say that these issues do not exist. People can no longer say this doesn’t happen. Racism is real. Injustice is real. Fear is real.

My children want me to explain why this happening, so I did. After telling them the events that have occurred and watching news and videos they again asked me to explain why this is happening and not because they did not understand what we told them. They asked me to explain why one person would hurt another because of their skin color. I have no answer for them except some people are broken and they make the world broken.

They want to know how we fix things. How we make their friends safe. How they stay safe. We have begun conversations on using our voice and our vote. That is just a beginning. They are looking to me for answers that I cannot give. A fix that I do not have.

Today, my oldest and I went to a peaceful protest. We read signs, listened to speeches, observed and talked. We marched, chanted and regrouped. Both of us were emotional. At one point she was overwhelmed with emotion and saw I was too. We discussed how this should be emotional. We should feel things during this. Then she asked me if the world would always be this way. Would there always be a virus? Would there always be scary times?

My answer. I don’t know what the future holds for you and your brothers. I don’t know what crisis and fights will remain as you grow up. What I do know is that the world needs changing. People and society need to change. All I can do is learn with you, walk with you and do my best to help change the world for the better for you and with you.

What I do know is that if I do nothing I am as guilty as my parents for allowing and supporting racism. My parents taught racism with the slurs used to describe the neighbors based on their ethnicity. Stories of encounters with black co-workers and neighbors were never favorable. The N word was dropped by my grandmother and grandfather. No one corrected the people in my life. No one stood up to them. When I felt uncomfortable with the conversations and questioned them I was told I was naive and didn’t understand because I had no life experience.

I wasn’t naive. I was a person who listened to their heart and soul and knew what was being said around me wasn’t right. It felt uncomfortable to hear people spoken of in that vile manner, especially when we were never hurt by anyone of any color.

I remember being 10 and making myself peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. As I went to sit outside on the steps to eat I looked to the end of my driveway and saw two homeless people going thru my trash cans for food. I made more sandwiches and took them to them. I remember them tearing up when I brought them food and told them they deserved to not have to go through trash cans for food. They were kind to me and went about their way. I went inside. When my parents learned what I did I was punished for months. As an adult I know what happened was gaslighting, but I never understood why I was punished. Shouldn’t all people have food? Shouldn’t all people have a place to live?

I’m one of the lucky ones. I did not succumb to generations of racism and ignorance. Easily, so easily I could be an even bigger part of the problem. However, I did succumb to fear. Fear of speaking out. Fear of using my voice for change.

We are all affected by racism is some way. There is no equality while there is social injustice. End racism. End homelessness. End child hunger. The list continues. Make changes for the better. We cannot have peace until we erase fear. Doing nothing is being complicit.

Sassy Viking Mama