Category Archives: Lovingkindness
Day of Vesak is a UN recognized holiday to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as Buddha. Buddha lived in present-day India and Nepal between the sixth and fourth century BCE. His teachings focused on messages about compassion, peace and goodwill, lessons we can all observe whether we identify as Buddhist or not.
April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 2009, Victims of Violence Holy Day was established as the 2nd of three Emancipation Days of Respect that honor those who’ve sacrificed to the change the laws of segregation in America as well as supporting those who’ve suffered at the hands of slavery and violence.
While we think of slavery and segregation as something in the distant past, racism and slavery (especially in the form of human trafficking) are all still very real today. It is up to each of us to examine the misguided fear of “others” that we all feel sometimes and remember that we are all more alike than different. We cannot let fear and intolerance overtake us.
In peace and unity,
The gentle soul that was Fred Rogers was born on this day, March 20, 1928. Although he has been gone since 2003, his message of loving acceptance of ourselves and others continues through the work of the Fred Rogers Center and the Fred Rogers Company.
I was born in 1970, just two years after Mister Rogers Neighborhood and one year after Sesame Street began airing, and both shows deeply influenced me. In particular, I loved Mr. Rogers because he never spoke down to anyone and he never shied away from how challenging life could be. But he made it seem like kindness was possible and everything would work out as it should.
So today, I challenge you in even the most trying situations to demonstrate a little kindness and respect for yourself and for your fellow human beings.
Today is Pink Shirt Day (Canada), a day to rally against bullying. Two Nova Scotia high school students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, rallied friends and fellow students to wear pink after another student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school.
Unfortunately, bullying seems to be more prevalent in all areas of our society. So if you see bullying, speak up and stand up.Make a #pinkshirtpromise to spread love, compassion, and other positive energy through your actions and words. We can all take inspiration from Shiridi Sai Baba, “Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? Does it improve upon the silence?”.
Kindness and compassion are not naive or weak; they are what makes the world a better place.
In peace and love,
It seems like the whole month of February is filled with hearts and chocolates and flowers… or at least the ads for them. While I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, I do like the idea of celebrating love. Celebrating our love of others is fine as long as we don’t get attached to the idea that we have to have someone outside ourselves to love or that we are only worthy of love if we have a significant other in our lives.
Madly in Love with Me Day is celebrated annually on February 13 and was established by self-help guru Christine Arylo, author of “Madly In Love With ME, The Daring Adventure To Becoming Your Own Best Friend”. The philosophy behind her message, which is targeted to women but can apply more broadly to anyone in society, is that we cannot truly love others without loving ourselves fully. This is true, too, of compassion, gratitude, and joy — the sources of all of these is within each of us and resides in the true Self. Yoga can help us tune in to the true Self.
Remind yourself whenever you need to today that you can love yourself.
Benefits of Laughter
Laughter does a number of wonderful things for us.
From webmd.com, laughter:
- helps reduce stress hormones;
- boosts the immune system;
- benefits the circulatory system by boosting heart rate, regulating blood pressure, and improving blood flow; and
- lessens stress and depression.
How to Practice Laughter Yoga
I usually close my Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors with a round of laughter yoga, a tradition passed down to me from the previous teacher. It’s really easy and we’re all usually generally laughing by the time we’re done.
- Sit comfortably with a long spine and bring your hands to your heart center in anjali mudra.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your heart center skyward (remember to breath as often as you need to).
- As you exhale, bow slightly and briefly say “ha” eight times as if you’re laughing. Deeply inhale and repeat twice more.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3, replacing “ha” with “ho”.
- Repeat again, replacing “ho” with “he”.
- Close with “namaste”.
Yours in love and laughter,
February 7 is Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day. Whether you are friendly with your neighbors or not, today is a good day to remind ourselves to take note of those around us and give a friendly wave. It could make someone’s day. Or confuse them if you’re usually not very friendly — that can be kind of fun too.
Be kind, my lovelies,
February 1 is National Freedom Day, celebrating the day Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution that would become the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The wording is simple:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
While the Amendment formally ended slavery, it did not end discrimination nor universally change what is in people’s hearts. It did, however, shine a light on injustice.
Each of us has some bias in our hearts — bias that is most often rooted in fear. It is up to us to evaluate our bias to better understand it and deal with it in ways that are not harmful to others. We must do our best not to live in divisive fear but in unifying love.
January 30 is a day calling attention to universal love and tolerance as promoted by two separate observances.
The International School Day for Non-Violence and Peace (or DENIP from Dia Escolar de la No-violència i la Pau) was founded in 1964 in Marjorca by poet Llorenç Vidal. DENIP is observed annually on or about January 30, the anniversary of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. The motto is: “Universal love, non-violence, and peace. Universal love is better than egoism, non-violence is better than violence, peace is better than war”. The day is meant to educate students in the ways of harmony, tolerance, respect for human rights, non-violence, and peace.
January 30 has also been established in several states as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. In 1942, Mr. Korematsu defied the military order to report to a Japanese internment camp and was arrested. He later sued the government over his conviction in the Supreme Court and lost. That decision is, with a handful of other cases, “what legal scholars describe as the anti-canon of American constitutional law — a small group of Supreme Court rulings universally assailed as wrong, immoral, and unconstitutional” (via npr.org and The Atlantic). His conviction as formally vacated in 1983 and he was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. In Korematsu’s own words, “If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up.” Always seek and speak truth.
In love and peace,