One Kind Word: Practicing Heart-Centered KindnessFeb 01, 2023 09:00AM ● By Tucson Counseling Associates
“One kind word can warm three winter months.” ~ Japanese proverbBeing “heart-centered” is trending these days. The meaning of this seems obvious, or does it? Being heart-centered can be elusive, so how can we bypass the superficiality of it and act from its wisdom?
You. Yes, you who are reading this right now: rub your hands together, up and down to create friction. Once your hands are warm, place them over your heart center—not the spot over your anatomical heart, but the center of your chest. Close your eyes and, for just three of the deepest breaths you’ve taken all day, notice how you feel.
To come from a place of feeling versus thinking takes the awareness of our bodies. In our modern, fast-paced climate, it is so easy to overlook this, when our minds seem to move faster than our body’s ability to adapt to our surroundings and to the people that we encounter. In Eastern traditions, the heart is not considered separate from the mind, but is considered another type of mind: the “heart-mind”.
Kindness and being heart-centered might come hand-in-hand. To feel what’s going on is to provide compassion and empathy for others and ourselves, even if the feeling is uncomfortable. In this space, we are connected to ourselves and with everyone else, as none of our feelings are so unique that we feel them alone. Sharing these emotions with others, verbally or non-verbally, allows us to feel connected and give others an opportunity to provide support when we need it most.
So, what is kindness? Kind shares the root of the word “kin”, meaning family, and is also connected with the meanings of “natural, native and innate”. So many of us are walking around feeling like we aren’t enough, that we are inherently bad. But if we stopped to really look at why we feel that way—is it not true that at the center of that feeling is a sense of disconnection, to us, our communities, nature, a sense of transcendence? To feel our truth is to be connected with everyone throughout time. And to feel seen and heard in our truth takes it to another level.
When we don’t feel connected to others, it can feel like a life-or-death situation. As social beings, being left out or abandoned can feel like psychological death, as our bodies remember a time that not being connected to our kin meant certain death. On a physiological level, our nervous systems sense the danger and spend all of their energy communicating to us that we need to fight or run for our lives.
If one kind word could mean life or death to someone, might you consider participating in that act more often? Might it be worth it to offer yourself a little bit of kindness? And if you find that you’re moving so fast that it’s impossible to just be with yourself as you are, take one moment to connect. We’re all in this together.
Tucson Counseling Associates specializes in anti-oppressive outpatient psychotherapy services for children, teens, adults, couples and families. They offer flexible scheduling with therapists available evenings and weekends both in-office and via telehealth. Additionally, they facilitate workshops and training for community members and professionals interested in working with clients in queer and ethically non-monogamous relationships, as well as psychedelic integration and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Connect at 520-214-0818 or TucsonCounselingAssociates.com.
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