“Three things in life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” Henry James

Kindness is the theme for March. It’s a virtue, a strength, a behavior, all in one. When we are virtuous, we’re showing that we have moral standards. And this requires strength. Strength, because often it may be easier to act or react with an unkind word or gesture when up against others who may be unkind or situations that frustrate us. It takes strength to maintain a behavior of kindness expressed through generosity and consideration. That others are worthy of attention and affirmation. Everyone wants to be recognized. See me.

“My religion is kindness.” Dalai Lama

There is an undeniable mind body connection to the practice of the virtues. When you do good, you feel good. Studies back this up through neuroscience and social science research: kindness changes and charges the brain by the experience of kindness. Not just thinking or talking about it, but demonstrating it!

“Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

And as always, this practice starts with ourselves. Can we be kind with our inner self-dialogue and how we care for our own bodies? I’ve had to make a concerted effort when, for instance, I drop and break something, forget where an item is, or just generally “mess up.” Instead of blurting out a string of expletives – yes, I’ve been known for a “sailor mouth” – I stop, breathe and say, “Oh, silly me, look what you’ve done. So sorry.” Or, in the case of a lost or misplaced item, I send up an immediate prayer to Saint Anthony or Saint Jude – both good guys to turn to when you can’t find something or are in desperate straits. Hey, I’m not always successful, but I’ve become more aware of how I treat myself. This even extends to my choices of activities and in particular, food! My own practice of kindness helps me take better care of myself and supports the disciplines that keep me healthy.

“A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Saint Basil