The Power of Willingness

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“Faces of Happiness” photo by Mia McCormick from Colorado! 

Recovering from a serious illness, then facing more surgeries to deal with chronic debilitating pain, taught me a lot about the importance of having willingness in life. How willing would I be to face surgeries and recovery with a strong heart, facing my fears and finding the courage to go on, recover and heal? And then once healed on physical levels, how could I adopt an even deeper level of willingness and openness to life as I entered my “second chance”?

 

Life presents so many opportunities to ask ourselves, “How willing am I right now?” The question could be prompted by a potential job change, by a request from a loved one about a pattern they hope you’ll change, by a realization that things in our external life won’t change until we do. The question of willingness is primary in how we navigate through so much of our life.

 

Willingness to me is a “power” because it can catalyze many dimensions of our growth and evolution.

To be willing to learn

To be open to ideas outside your comfort zone

To be accessible to life – responsive, available embracing

To be flexible, not rigid with life

To be resilient, not hardened

To be flowing, not frozen

 

Many times in my healing journey, I could feel that when my mind and heart were more flexible, my physical health improved. It’s also true that when our responses to life are more flexible, our body in turn is more flexible.

 

Willingness is not just about mustering up some courage to face a daunting challenge. It’s also about having the willingness to experience life with a deep sense of gratitude. Willingness to experience life in all its fullness brings a sense of wonder, which in turn feeds our willingness. When we have a feeling of childlike wonder combined with profound awe, we can find deep fulfillment.

 

Take a moment and drink in the feeling of AWESOME WONDER…

  • What would it be like if we returned to a state of childlike innocence, and could drop the trappings of adulthood that kill our spirit, drown our energy, and dampen our wide-eyed enthusiasm?
  • Childlike innocence is a bubble inside of delight, even over the smallest of things. Identify a time when you experienced this feeling, this portal into the next stage of us. Remember the memory, and call it forth when you felt a feeling of inspiration.  If no memory comes to you about yourself, remember a time when someone you admire or love exhibited this quality.
  • Take a few moments to savor the feeling of freedom and peace that come from willingness to live life.
  • What part of your life would most benefit from this quality you just directly infused your heart and spirit with?
  • What actions could you take to bring this quality into your life?
  • What relationships in your life would most benefit from this quality that could bring greater inspiration and juice to the relationship?
  • What would help you remember and assimilate this experience so that it could benefit you in your work and life?

Enjoy your week!

 

 

6 Reasons Kindness Matters in Work and in Life

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I’m sitting in my study on a glorious almost-summer morning. The coastal fog is still swirling in its morning dance with the sun. “Who will win today?”, they seem to say as they challenge each other daily (I’m rooting for the sun!). My heart is full from the beauty I see from this hillside home perched high above the San Francisco Bay. I am so grateful for my life, and now I want to be kind today. I want to be compassionate. With myself. With friends. With the woman three thousand miles away who has become so important in my life and my heart. And with total strangers.

 

I reflect a lot on the importance of love in our lives, and all the offshoots of love like compassion, empathy, gratitude, hope, inspiration, faith, joy, and indeed kindness. My father was a very kind man. A friend to so many. It was only a tough, hardened stranger who was not melted by my Dad’s warmth and kind heart.

 

I want to be kind today, kinder than yesterday. I want to help people who are struggling in their lives — with a moment or two of lightness, of care, of sensitivity. I want to be kind today. Because kindness matters. Here are 6 reasons to be kind today: 

1. Kindness is a powerful emotion to uplift our mood.  A simple act of care can switch our perspective from dark to light, from hopeless to hopeful, from reactive to creative.

2. Sincere kindness from the heart triggers a cascade of vitality and health-inducing biochemicals in our body, at least 1400, which re-energizes both giver and receiver. Now research has shown that at least 600 genes that are designed to protect our health and longevity are actually triggered to express when we are feeling kind and compassionate. Kindness makes us healthier.

3. Kindness can interrupt a stress cycle so both giver and receiver can reset and move forward. Sometimes we get locked in patterns of reactivity, fear or upset. A kind act can not only defuse the negative emotions, but in that process a window opens for more positive solutions.

4. Kindness slows aging, especially on your face :) Let’s get down to the bottom line here: worry, fear, anxiety, and self-centeredness are all accelerators of aging. Those worry lines that can become deep grooves on someones’ forehead or around the eyes don’t have to be there! It’s in our power to change it. The stressful emotions we all experience separate us from the kindness and love of others. They create walls of a prison we are now the inhabitant of. No one wins. A simple act of kindness can dissolve the worry so instead of aging needlessly we can feel the forward momentum of hope come alive.

5. Kindness creates loyalty. Whether you’re dealing with a negative customer, an irate client, a colleague having a very bad day, or a boss who is overwhelmed, kindness can be that special gift the other person is not expecting, so they never forget. Companies that teach genuine kindness to their frontline staff have happier customers, who want to talk about what a great company you are. Who come back for more of what you have. I love going in any Apple store anywhere in the world as I know without any doubt that my problems and my ignorance of techy stuff will be treated with kindness and helpfulness, bringing me relief, satisfaction, and the desire to go back and tell others. Kindness matters, to the bottom line.

6. Kindness just feels better. Ever faced with a choice to ignore a person in need, like a homeless person with their cardboard sign and a hand out, or someone struggling to solve a problem at work, or a fellow passenger struggling to lift their heavy carry-on into the overhead compartment on the plane. So you stretch out of your comfort zone to lend a helping hand, and the joy and relief on the face of the recipient of your kind gesture just made your day!

 

I want to be kind today. How about you?