Rosh Hashanah: Kindness No Matter What

September 14, 2017
Reading time: 5 minutes
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During the month of Virgo, we are given the opportunity to plant the seeds of change and growth. Taking advantage of this opportunity will help us come to Rosh Hashanah, the first night of the month of Libra, ready to plant the seed for our entire year. This is why Virgo is known as the month of change, of restoration. It is our chance to correct the errors of the last year, to decide who we want to be, and to enact that required change within our very nature.

Kabbalah is different from many other spiritual studies in this single, fundamental idea. Kabbalah is all about change. Kabbalah is a verb. It is about transformation and this idea can be simply stated as such: if there is something in your life you do not like, you can change it. But this change isn’t superficial. It’s more than just creating a to-do list and checking it off. In order to truly live the lives we are meant to live, we want to not just act differently or change our ways, but we want to absolutely transform who we are at our core. We want to become like The Creator.

And this means that you can create your reality. It means that you can design the life that you want. Nothing is without, everything is within your reach. It’s a big idea. That everything you desire is possible. I can even feel you asking, “How do I do that? How do I become like The Creator? How do I create what I desire?” Good news, it can be summed up in one word.

This one word encompasses everything. It is my favorite word, a word that many of us think we know, a word many of us would probably use to describe ourselves. The kabbalists even say that if you can actualize this word fully in your life, you can achieve everything you ever wanted. Do you want to know what this magic word is?

Not what you were expecting? It seems so simple, right? How can kindness be the key to achieving everything you’ve ever wanted? Again, it’s something that we all consider ourselves to be or that we see as a naturally occurring thing. However, kindness is more than just being polite. It’s more than being nice. True kindness is very different, and when it comes to enacting it in our lives, we are a much greater distance away from where we need to be than we might think.

It is very easy to be kind when we want to be. But what about when don’t want to be? What about when someone wrongs us? What about when it is a person that we judge as not deserving of our kindness? How kind are we when we are hurt, angry, sad, or frustrated?

True kindness isn’t something that we decide to give based on merit. It is something that we are called to give in every moment, to everyone, no matter how we judge them or how we feel. So often in our lives, when someone wrongs us or treats us badly our first instinct is to retaliate. To stand our ground. To teach them a lesson. While it is important to stand up for yourself, in these moments many of us aren’t likely setting kindness as a priority.

This idea can be illustrated so perfectly in parenting. Our children learn from our actions. They are very good at following what we do; much better than listening to what we say. When our child acts out, breaks a rule, or gets in trouble and we want to teach them not to do this, are we teaching the lesson with kindness or with anger? If we are angry, that is what we will be teaching our child. They are not going to become kinder, they are going to become angry. If we teach our children lessons and do so with kindness, we are not only teaching them about good behavior, we are teaching them to be kind.

This is true of every interaction in our lives. Withholding affection and closing our hearts as a means to “teach a lesson” is never going to create more love, or opportunity, or intimacy. It is never going to bring us the things that we truly desire. Kindness on the other hand, opens every door. Especially in times where we don’t want to give it. When someone wrongs us it is an opportunity to respond with greater kindness. When we find ourselves in situations where we feel reactive or defensive, those situations are the ones that require an even greater level of kindness. The kinder you can be in moments when it feels impossible, the greater the transformation you can see in your life and the lives of others.

There are opportunities every day for kindness. We only have to look around. I was at a frozen yogurt shop with my daughters, ages 14 and 4, when I noticed a group of teenage boys hanging out and refilling their sample cups over and over. It was clear to me they didn’t have spare money to buy a frozen yogurt. It was only when they left the shop that I realized I’d lost an opportunity to be kind. Lost opportunities don’t sit well with me so I asked Miriam to keep an eye on Abigail and I darted out to the street looking for those boys. Thankfully they hadn’t wandered too far and I asked them to come back inside so I could order them what they wanted.

I was given a chance that day to model kindness for my daughters. The boys were grateful, which was, of course nice, and I got mommy points when they kept telling Miriam what a cool and awesome Mom she has, but it was in my reaching for kindness beyond my comfort level that was the true gift. I want to be the person that doesn’t lose opportunities like that because I want my consciousness to be one of constant kindness.

As you move through this month, when you have the opportunity to be kind, be kind. When you have the opportunity to give, give. And I don’t mean simply sharing or giving because we all have the capability to give to somebody and we all have the ability to share. The question is, are you feeling it in your heart? Are you truly wanting to be kind, to give, to share? When you feel closed in your heart, when you are withholding, when you can feel that are holding back, practice opening up. The next time you have the opportunity to give or to share, do it with an open heart, open hands, and full of love, because it is always worth it. And as the saying goes, Treat everyone with kindness even if they are rude to you, not because they are kind, but because you are.

 

THOUGHT INTO ACTION

Every day for the rest of the month, or for that matter the rest of your life, seek out ways to be kind. Look for opportunities to practice kindness in every moment, especially in those moments when you don’t want to give it. Acknowledge that, and be kind anyway.

 

 

 

 

 


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