Caring for Myself—As Well As Others (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Monday, March 7, 2016

This blog post from two years ago is a post about self-care. That is so important for people in caring work. (That was one of the most important lessons I ever learned when I attended seminary. Self-care!) Since we are now in the middle of Lent—one of the hectic times of the year for pastors—I thought this post was a good reminder for all of us. Take time for myself. Well worth the time.

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 in the barnyard, 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!

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a Lenten journey. #PursuePEACE. Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)


 

Human Contractor, or Heavenly One?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, April 12, 2014

God trying to change your heart

Human Contractor, or Heavenly One?

Day Six of the bathroom facelift. After driving around all day—doing errands and going places—I finally got home later in the afternoon. The contractor told me, regretfully, that the medicine cabinet I had bought did not fit the opening in the wall. The width was fine, but the new cabinet was a few inches too high. So, off I went again to the big box do-it-yourself store to replace the medicine cabinet I had just bought a few days ago. But, that’s okay! I enjoy going into those stores. All kinds of hardware supplies and building materials are on display, for sure.

The man in the plumbing materials section of the store turned out to be quite helpful. Conversational, too! I needed to buy a replacement for our ratty old shower curtain rod, and get a few other incidentals, in addition to the medicine cabinet. He made the process of buying supplies smooth and easy. I did not even ask him his name. That makes me sad. But I can pray for him, and wish him the best in his job and in the rest of his life, and wish his family good health and harmony. And, I do!

So, this kind man was kind and helpful to me! He was of great service to me and my family, too.

I wonder: what kind of remodeling job do I need in my spiritual house? I know I need some work, that’s for sure. But I don’t quite know where my General Contractor, God, is going to start work next. I think God has helped me make great strides with my regular prayer time. As I’ve mentioned here before, I could not keep up a consistent prayer time. Even though I tried and tried, I just couldn’t. Until late last fall. God helped me to stay pretty consistent with the Advent prayer calendar I was following. After years and years of prayer about praying consistently, I finally succeeded. (With my General Contractor’s help, in great part.) Praise God!

Dear Lord, thank You for people who smooth the way for me, and show me kindness and service, too. Please, help me to intentionally, consistently show kindness. Service. Encouragement and love, too. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

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

 

Be Kind in a Grocery Store

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

BK kindness is contagious

Be Kind in a Grocery Store

Brand new month. Bright, shiny snow. I went on some errands for a friend of mine today. I needed to go to the pharmacy, and to the grocery store. Wonderful opportunity to be kind to someone today!

After I picked up a few things at the pharmacy, including two prescriptions, I went across the street to the discount grocery store. I do enjoy shopping—it’s almost always a pleasant experience. I entered the store and found some new displays—seasonal items on sale near the doors. It’s so interesting to see what items will be featured at this cut-rate store.

It didn’t take me long at all to dash in to the store, grab a few items, and proceed towards the front of the store to check out. I needed to wait for several people in line ahead of me. In fact, I was waiting in line for quite some time. That was okay. I didn’t mind. But as I was standing there, waiting patiently in line, the older man in front of me said that I could go ahead of him, in line. A bit flabbergasted, I soon picked my jaw up from the floor.

I gathered myself together. Shook myself (almost like a trained animal or something), and said “Thank you! Thanks so much!” I smiled at the man, and walked over to the head of the line. I knew he had been in line there for more of a long time, at least longer than I did. Funny thing—I kept telling myself that I was out of place. Almost subversive, like I was doing an action that felt somehow like I was “cutting” in line. Good thing I had someone like that kind man offering his slot to me. Gracious at last, I did take the older man up on his welcome offer.

Another quirky thing: I had the strangest feeling that I would go ahead and try to pay it forward. I mean, I would try to offer my place in line (waiting for the cashier) instead of focusing on myself, front and center. I don’t want to let things go, paying attention to nothing and no one but myself. I need to think of others . . . and be intentionally kind.

What about you? Have you ever had someone offer you a place in a line—like what happened to me? Has someone been unexpectedly kind and thoughtful to you, so much so that you intend to pay back the kind act of service? I keep thinking that God will send me some interesting thoughts, not to mention some service opportunities. I’ve been praying for them!

As we enter the season of Lent, I pray the same for you—whether you are participating with the calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind, or not. I encourage everyone to pray for service opportunities. And then, don’t be concerned! God will send them your way! I know God has sent me any number of opportunities to be kind. Praise God, get ready, set—serve!

@chaplaineliza

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

Helping Others to Be Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, February 22, 2014

40Days_icon3b

Helping Others to Be Kind

I spent most of my day on the computer today. Not the most exciting of Saturdays, but I got a great deal done. Like the list for my Lenten calendar. Yes, I am going to feature a daily calendar for Lenten observance. 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind: A Lenten Calendar of Service. And in case you were wondering, the sign-up hyper link is immediately to your right (right there –>).

Let me back up a few steps and talk about how I first came up with this idea. I have been working on getting closer to God for a number of years, with sometimes lesser, sometimes greater effect. For the past couple of years, I followed Advent and Lenten calendars and readings with mixed results. Yes, they did help me to get closer to God. Success! However, I wanted something a bit different this time. This put me into a bit of a quandary, but then I came up with it—A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

For those of you who have been following this space since the beginning of January, you probably know this already. When the idea for this whole “Being Kind” concept came to me earlier in December, I felt that it was such a natural for me! I’ve been told a number of times that I often act in a naturally kind and tenderhearted manner. This blog turns out to be a great way to develop those gifts and graces, and to get more facile at naturally performing acts of service and ministry.  I know I’ve said it before, but I want this Year of Being Kind to be a year of opportunity for me. I have asked God-as-I-understand-God for opportunities to help others and be of service.

That’s a long way of getting back to what I’ve been doing today—which is preparing the Lenten calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. For the past week and a half, I consulted a number of other Lenten helps and calendars online. I discussed this concept with several good friends and got a few fine recommendations for acts of service. So, finally I was ready. Ready to compile the list from everything I had rounded up.

I had a few ground rules: primarily, nothing that cost a lot of money. Second, service-oriented acts of ministry and kindness. And most important, I was conscious of older or less-abled persons participating with the Lenten calendar.  I would like as many people to be able to use this calendar as possible!

Another thought came to mind as I compiled this list of Ways to Be Kind; some people might not have certain of these listed items in their local area, or easily accessible to them. That’s okay! They can always pray for those at their local facility, or at the place they just couldn’t go to, for whatever reason. Prayer is always a great idea!

So, that is today’s act of service: compiling the Lenten calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. God willing, many will be assisted in growing closer to God during Lent through acts of kindness, love and ministry!

@chaplaineliza