Early spring in my neighborhood in Los Angeles is a heavenly time to lay in bed at night with the windows open. The orange trees in front of my apartment building are blooming. Orange blossoms, while fragrant during the day, become intoxicating at night. The sweet perfume wafts invisibly in on the light evening breeze and collects heavily within my room.
For such a powerful fragrance, orange blossoms are actually very small. One sunny day I spent thirty minutes picking up many of the tiny, paper-thin blooms that had fallen from the trees. Seeing them from below is deceiving. Only when I was squatted on the ground did I truly appreciate how little the flowers are. It takes quite a number of them to fill even the smallest package. But I carried on, determined. Squatting and kneeling under my orange trees, I picked up hundreds of blossoms, cramming them into a teeny baggie until it was bursting. I found a cheerful greeting card, put the sealed package of orange blossoms inside, and mailed it to my mother. With everything my mother has done in life, of all the places she’s traveled throughout the world, she confessed that she had not once smelled orange blossoms.
As I sealed the envelope, I felt the excitement of her surprise at opening the card. Of her wondering for a moment what in the world I’d sent her. Of her opening the teeny ziplock bag, and for the first time breathing deeply, taking in the intoxicating fragrance, the smell of my love for her in the form of orange blossoms.
I’ve learned that acts of kindness provide me deep contentment. Knowing I helped brighten someone’s day makes my heart feel full long after the event itself has passed. Thoughtfulness is the action that emotionally connects me to the people I know and also to people I may never meet.
Early on a summer evening I watched a car pull up and park in front of my home. Without reading the posted parking signs, three young adults got out and walked up the street. Thinking they were possibly visiting a neighbor, I waited a few minutes to see if they returned with a parking pass. When they did not come back, I guessed they had gone to a local restaurant.
Although it was their responsibility to read the signs, I knew how I would feel if I returned from a fun evening to find a forty-five-dollar parking ticket. Instead of having them learn the hard way, I wanted to alert them to the parking restrictions through a positive experience.
As a resident, I am able to receive a special number from the police department that allows visitors to park. I called for the number and taped it to their car’s windshield for the parking officer to see. I also left a note on the driver’s side window that said, “I did not want you to receive a ticket, since there is no parking on this street after 6:00 p.m. without a pass.” A few hours later, the car was gone. All that night and well into the next day, I had the amazing feeling that comes from performing an anonymous act of kindness.
Although we may never meet the people we help, being kind puts us in the position of understanding how others feel. Kindness is having empathy so we become enriched by another’s happiness.
Each day you and I are given countless opportunities to express our good and charitable heart. Regardless of what form it takes, the kindness and caring we give others not only helps them, it also creates positive energy that returns to us in so many different ways.
Kindness connects us to other people, reducing feelings of loneliness and emotional isolation. Caring and generous people attract giving people to them. By being considerate people, we will be liked by others.
Compassion decreases anger and depression and increases positive feelings and our general outlook on life. Being generous, affectionate, and nurturing promotes the release of endorphins that make us happy, calm, and improve our sense of well-being.
Acts of generosity and empathy keep us connected to the emotional warmth of our heart. Not only does being kind keep us heart-centered, researchers have found that kindness makes our heart healthier, too, because emotional warmth produces hormones in the brain and throughout the body which help lower blood pressure.
Today, and every day look for ways to spread kindness. Treating other people as you want to be treated is the foundation of all the world’s religions and spiritual practices. There is a very good reason compassion is so revered. The energy we put out is returned to us.
Photo via: http://appetiteofthesoul.com/acts-of-kindness/ (No copyright infringement intended.)
About the Author:
Regina Cates, a spiritual teacher, transformational author and positivity junkie, inspires hundreds of thousands of people every day to live lives of limitless possibility. Through her Los Angeles–based company, Romancing Your Soul, she guides people to lead with their hearts. Now with her first book, Lead with Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion and Purpose Regina is touching the hearts of a wider audience.Visit her web site, [http://www.romancingyoursoul.com/], or follow her on Facebook [http://www,facebook.com/romancingyoursoul]