Posted: July 22, 2013 in thriving

If we owned a cat, and it wouldn’t play, we wouldn’t yell at it and threaten it. We would gently win it with a string, an open paper bag, the soft coaxing sounds we use to woo our animals.

If we owned an apple tree, and it wouldn’t apple, we wouldn’t hack on it with ax or saw. We would fertilize and water it, and mulch the soil at its base, humming perhaps as we worked, soothing it with horticulture’s gentle art.

If we had a child who was shy, and she was afraid to promote from preschool to first grade, we wouldn’t harshly command her to do this, but instead we would reason gently with her, take her by the hand to visit her new school before the start of the year and calm her with our softness and our care.

So when we don’t do well, when we break down, when we yell or cry, when we are an emotional mess, when we don’t play or fruit or advance according to the plan, we must not hack at sobbing selves, scold the mess, beat the soul, demand a change. An inner loveliness, the fruit of a healthy spirit, the soul’s own playfulness, none of this will ever be won with threats and punishments and demands unreasonable.

Found in the primer of life, in the preschool’s first lesson of living is the simple wisdom: First learn to be kind to your self.

The famed fruits of the inner life — patience, love, gentleness and kindness — these must first be practiced on our own selves. We are the first ones in need of patience with our own impatience and kindness with our own unkindness. We can never hope to authentically and consistently visit on others what we haven’t first visited upon ourselves.

Woo your own shy soul with tenderness. Gentilize your own degentled self with gentleness. Patience your own depatienced soul with the soft, soothing hum of the seasoned gardener.

What virtue ever flowered that didn’t flower first within, nurtured from seed to bloom by kindness — not force.

  1. Deborah Anderson says:

    Love this- thank you for the gentle reminder of loving ourselves with gentle kindness.

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