Peace of Mind. It just might BE the best present we can give ourselves – at Christmas – and at any other time. It’s surely a gift I desire for myself this holiday season – and writing this blog is one way to deepen that peace, give that gift to myself - and - offer it to you.
In August I’d published my first blog in Moorestown Patch – about The Courage to be Ourselves. I cited Mister Rogers as one of my inspirations. And then I lost my courage. I see many nasty remarks in response to columns and opinions posted online. I didn’t want to subject myself to the possibility of such attacks – and it’s a whole lot simpler to NOT put in the time and effort to be expressed - so I silenced myself.
As a mental health professional I am acutely aware that how we treat one another – and ourselves – matters deeply. We each need a safe place to be heard, to explore our thoughts, and to find new perspective, inspiration and courage for action that’s congruent with our highest values.
In 1996 I’d made a commitment to The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to “do what I could” to grow kindness in the community where I live. I’ve kept that promise - and in the last year or so - only by a thread. Valentine’s Week is fast approaching, and that’s when our traditions around kindness have been focused. What do we want as a community for 2013?
In the wake of heartache in Connecticut, it seems all the more appropriate, and even urgent, to re-awaken the kindness conversation here.
Kindness is certainly nothing new – to Moorestown or anywhere else. Varying levels of kind activity have been occurring since life began. We need one another, plain and simple. In the years since our first annual Mayoral Proclamation of Kindness, in 1996, and our first kindness banner, The Office of the Mayor, Community Link, Moorestown Schools, public and private, Senior Centers, Moorestown’s Ministerium, the Moorestown Business Association and, of course, the community itself, have all played various roles. There’s a strong undercurrent of kindness here.
Two years ago, the NJ Legislature mandated an October focus on anti-bullying in NJ schools. Between cutbacks in funding and increasing workloads there was only so much that our schools could manage. I was in the midst of selling my house and downsizing. We were all stretched beyond workability. The mandate was eventually rescinded because of a lack of funding, but The Kindness Campaign in Moorestown had lost momentum.
The history informs us. What matters most is –
Who we will be – and what we will do going forward? What are we FOR...?
I know full well that, given my personal and professional interest in how we treat one another, I can do more to encourage dialogue and decision making about this topic. If there are those who criticize me or think I’m naïve, so be it. No more excuses from me. I’m going for it!!
What do YOU think? Who can we be for one another – ourselves – and coming generations ?
How shall we move forward? How shall we recognize Kindness Week – February 11-17, 2013?
And how can we best keep kindness in our awareness – and our actions - all year round?
I invite you to share your thoughts here – in this blog - and your experiences – and your ideas.
I pledge a peaceful pause to THINK before I express myself – and ask that of you as well.
Holly Myers, Joyful Living Specialist, www.HollyMyers.com