Caring for Myself—And for Others (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Monday, March 6, 2017

Reading this post, three years later, my opinion has not changed. Yoga is marvelous for me, inside and out. (Especially with that exceptional yoga teacher! Who, sadly, does not teach on Monday nights any longer.) I have now gone beyond gentle yoga to regular yoga classes—hatha and vinyasa yoga. Yes, yoga is a wonderful way to care for myself. And, by caring for myself, I can’t help but care for others.

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

Posted on March 11, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, March 10, 2014

yoga guy zacara spot

yoga drawing – Zakar art by Chris Carter

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

I needed to dive right into the week, right off the bat this morning. Work today, running and fetching, some computer work, some necessary telephone calls that needed to be made. Then, I made dinner. At least, I started dinner and asked my daughter to finish turning the chicken in the covered skillet while it simmered. Why the hurry at the end of the day? Simple! I have a one word answer: yoga.

Earlier today I went out of my way to do things for other people. Yes, I did acts of service, intentionally. But I want to focus on what happened at the YMCA. In yoga class. The Y has a number of different classes and exercise opportunities each day. In the pool, in the exercise studios, in the big gym. There are several yoga classes each week, too. I am no expert at yoga, believe me! But the gentle yoga class on Monday afternoons is perfect for me. Yes, there are yoga poses and stretching that challenge me! But nothing is too hard. Nothing that the older instructor has the class do is beyond most people’s abilities.

I’ve been attending the gentle yoga class for about three months, and it helps me! The yoga teacher helps me, too. She has a kind and easy-going way about her. One of the biggest reasons I appreciate this teacher is the open, generous manner she has with each person in the room. She also invites people to leave their worries, troubles, and stresses outside the room. Inside the room is calmness and peace. We can take our time and stretch, and restore balance and harmony to our bodies and our inner selves.

Yes, I realize that there is a component to certain yoga instruction that is rooted in eastern thought and religious practices. Yes, true. But not this teacher, and not this kind of gentle yoga and stretching. I think this is why I enjoy it so much. But—I saved the best for the last. I find this regular yoga class is a superb way to care for myself. I run around most of the week like a chicken with its head cut off. (My father-in-law saw quite a number of these, and he said they were pretty funny!)

Sometimes I am running, or in a hurry, or worrying. Other times I am caring for others—my children, my family, my good friends, those at my work, patients or residents. It seems as if I seldom take the time or the opportunity to carve out an hour to rest, to release the worry and upset of the day or the week. That is just what my kind yoga teacher invites us to do. It’s no wonder I am dashing off to her class each Monday! I need to take the time on a regular basis to allow myself to unwind. And more importantly, to allow myself to become refreshed and recharged—as in this class. I am so grateful to the YMCA for employing such a wonderful teacher. Thanks, YMCA! And thanks, God!


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Epiphany and beyond, into Lent. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

So Simple—Sincere Words. Being Kind.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, December 29, 2014

THANKFUL always something to be thankful for

So Simple—Sincere Words. Being Kind.

Ever have someone say (or write) something that truly moved you? I mean, moved you so deeply? Yes. That happened to me, today.

As I woke up this morning and started my daily routine, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was, “Only a few days until the new year. Only a few more days of blogging for 2014.”

After doing several routine things, I went on the computer. Checked email, social media. Including Facebook. I checked out this blog, as I usually do, to see how many views it received overnight. And, I checked the other daily postings, on Facebook.

Lo and behold, one of my blogging friends—Joan—commented on the latest of the posts on my wall. Her comment was under A Year of Being Kind’s post: . I was quite happy and touched that Joan’s comment was there, and she and I had an exchange over the next few minutes. I thought it was a worthwhile exchange, too.

But—it didn’t stop there. No, I kept those kind, generous words close. Similar to Mary and the striking words of the shepherds and angels, once more I thought about the words of my blogging friend. Her comment, below yesterday’s post? “Lovely. I will miss a Year of Being Kind.”

Initially, I considered it to be just something nice, almost sentimental—for a friend to say. But, the words kept rolling around and around in my head. So kind! The comment touched my heart, warmly and deeply. And, that comment came to mind—repeatedly recurred. Again and again, today.

Thank you, Joan. Your words mean so much more to me than you can ever know. Talk about “being kind.” What a way to “be kind.” Or, even better, “be thoughtful” or “be sincere.”

And, I thank God that people are touched by the words I write, and by what skill or gift I may have. Thank God, indeed.

(I almost forgot! Joan’s blog is to be found at – Unorthodox & Unhinged: Tales of a Manic Christian)


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In Which I was Kind at a Family Reunion

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, May 27, 2014

family reunion drawing

In Which I was Kind at a Family Reunion

I love my family! I love seeing them, which does not happen very often. Many of my family members are scattered to the four winds. However, all six of us siblings and all four of my children were in town for a family reunion today. Plus cousins, and other friends. Wonderful day of conversation, memories, hugs, and food!

So many things to think about from today. So many memories. Talking with my sisters and brothers. Talking with other family members there at the reunion. Looking at the pictures, drawings, and other family papers my sister had collected upstairs at her home. (And of course, just visiting my sister’s huge Victorian almost-mansion is always a treat! Just about all of the rooms are restored to the 1890’s, so she could legitimately have electricity in the vintage lighting fixtures. Other than the refrigerator in the kitchen, even the solid-as-a-brick-house gas stove is from 1900.)

The dining room table fairly groaned with the amount of food that was packed onto it! My sister was generous with her home, her hospitality and the food everyone had an opportunity to share.

I was kind in several ways today, but the most significant I remember occurred later this afternoon. While some family members were poring over the collected papers in the front and middle parlors (connected by large, segmented twelve-foot high doors—the parlors had fourteen-foot high ceilings) at my sister’s house, I played the piano. I was playing some of the music my father used to play. Old standards. Jazz arrangements of said standards.)

I’ve done this before. Done this in a number of situations. Praise God, I’m able to offer my abilities to others. God helps me be aware and awake now, as God has many times in the past. Thanks for the encouragement and assistance, God! I hope and pray the same joy for you and your congregation, as I thank God for these things. People. Family. Wonderful.


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In Which I Wait for a Delivery

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, February 3, 2014

LOVE John 15-12

In Which I Wait for a Delivery

As I think about how to show love in deed, in action, waiting for a delivery did not immediately leap to my mind. However, here I sit, doing that exact thing. A friend of mine could not be at home today, but the delivery was all set up. So—I said of course I would be available. Certainly, I would wait for the delivery. That’s what friends are for.

I realize that some people absolutely cannot stand sitting around, twiddling their thumbs and tapping their foot. Waiting?? Gah! Irritating! Gosh, what a waste of time. I’m too important for this. Don’t I have a million things I need to get done? (You get the picture.)

That might have been my attitude some years ago. And could possibly be my attitude now, depending. I am not sure. Regardless of now or then, I must admit—I had kind, generous tendencies. At times. As I’ve mentioned already in previous posts, I do have the spiritual gifts of helps and encouragement This waiting-for-a-delivery would very much be something I’d do for a friend or relative. I just never was asked to do this specific kind of thing before.

Being kind—intentionally—involves all sorts of situations. Things. People. This being the month of February, I wanted to display a specific facet of being kind. Yes, showing love. Not the generic, fuzzy, smarmy expressions of love that sometimes are wrapped up in Valentine’s hearts or Hallmark cards, but a real, down-to-earth, even gritty kind of love. Rigorously honest, true blue, genuine.

A few weeks ago, I found a photo online that said “Kindness is just love with its workboots on.” Just so, I have a feeling that God is going to bring me some interesting expressions of love. I mean, acts of kindness and expressions of love to get involved in, this month. God has certainly given me some interesting, touching opportunities so far this year. I know, I know. I did ask God to send me (at least) one way of being kind, every day in 2014. I was the one to open my big mouth.

It isn’t like I was ignorant of what could possibly happen. No, I have seen God work before, during my few decades of being a believer in God. But here, I put myself on the line. One day at a time, each and every day, I ask for my daily marching orders. And each day, something turns up. It’s amazing, but true. (And it’s only the beginning of February.) I’m not certain whether that’s a brilliant brainwave, or a cockamamie, crackpot concept. Whichever it is, it seems to be working. And, I am continuing to receive gratitude, appreciation, and lessons from the people I help. Sometimes (and I’ve talked about this, too) I try not to let them know I have made an attempt to help. I want to put myself out there and be of service. That is, usually. Some of the time. God, help me to make that most of the time. Please.


Being kind? At the YMCA

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, January 18, 2014

be kind to others

Being Kind? At the YMCA

Week in, week out, I try to keep to some sort of weekly schedule. Not daily schedule, no. For me right now, each day is a little different. Some days have more involvement, others have various meetings or errands, and most days have at least some work-related activity. However, rare it is to find myself at home all day (and all night, too) with no social interaction whatsoever.

Saturday morning is a time I set aside for going to the gym for one of my several-times-weekly exercise sessions. I am fortunate that I don’t find it very difficult to get to the gym. I understand that motivation is a large barrier to some people when they begin an exercise routine. Thank God, not me. I understand the benefits that come from regular stretching and exercise! So, I try to make it to the YMCA here in town three times a week.

Today, I happened to pass S in the hallway at the Y, a lovely woman I’ve known for a number of years. S so often has a bright smile and a sunny disposition. S and I greeted each other this morning, said a few words, and parted after exchanging big smiles. That’s all.  It was only a brief interaction, but I remembered it. Distinctly. As I reflected on the chance encounter in the hallway outside of the women’s locker room, I thought of S’s job. She’s now on the janitorial staff at the YMCA. My town is pretty egalitarian. I’ve found that people generally greet each other regardless of the employment or society position they hold. But the situation is somewhat different for those ladies who work in the locker room.

Sometimes, the denizens of the locker room have no interaction at all. Admittedly, the locker room is an intimate place. Women get dressed, undressed, take showers, dry hair, and a hundred and one other little things involving personal, intimate details. I have been working out at the YMCA here in town for five years, and I’ve noticed. On occasion, those in the locker room don’t even speak a word to someone changing at the locker right next to them. What about the women on the janitorial staff who take such excellent care of the locker room? Who keep it clean, welcoming and usable for the many women who change there on a daily basis? Sometimes these kind, generous women might just as well be invisible. (I observe things like that, especially since I have a personal and professional interest in how people interact in different social situations.)  True, the locker room can be an odd place, due to the emotions, mores, and upbringing of all those who inhabit it.

But for me, I always try to have a kind and friendly word for S, as well as the other janitorial staff who keep the YMCA clean and inviting. What a way of being kind to all of us, who use the place on a regular basis!  I thank God for all of you.