• Are We Kind of Kind? 8 Paths to Authentic Kindness

    (3 minute read)

    “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

    It would seem today there is more than one kind of kindness going around. There’s choosy kindness where we are kind to those like us and dirty rats to those not. Then there’s opinionated kindness, where we are only kind to those who share our opinions and loathsome to those who don’t. Then there is the worst kind; those who declare themselves as the epitome of kindness yet when pressed they are revealed as charlatans. Yes, indeed we are full of pompous kindness.

    Deep down all of us love kindness. We all can agree the world needs more kindness, but how do we make it authentic and not just some political phenomenon or catch phrase we use to sway people in our direction or worse yet banish them to outer darkness?

    Here are 8 Paths to Authentic Kindness:

    1. Talk less and listen more. Stop listening to reply and listen with compassion.
    2. Stop being too busy to be kind. Kindness takes time.
    3. Smile. Some of the most tense and awkward social situations can be dissolved by a single genuine smile.
    4. Look up from the screen. Open your eyes to others. There are opportunities for kindness surrounding us every day. A kind word, a small deed, a helping hand, and once again a smile are all simple ways to dish out kindness by the bucketful.
    5. Humble yourself. We are a proud bunch of people. Pride is the predecessor of unkindness. Pride makes us think we are right with no chance of being wrong. Education level, geography, religion, and political stance can all be pillars of pride. Be careful when you start thinking you are smart, unkindness will be close behind. Who are the smart ones anyways?
    6. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Realize everyone has a reason behind how they live, what they say, and their opinions. Seek to find out what their reason is. Chances are they are wrapped tight around their wounds, fears, and heartaches.
    7. Learn respect. Respect is a lost art these days. For you see respect does not equate with love, agreement, or support for ideas, or behaviors. Respect esteems another because of position. Whether that position is ruler of a nation, owner of a company, or as one of God’s creation.  In effect, if we are to be authentic in our kindness we will have respect for all; for all have a position in this world worthy of our respect.
    8. Do not express complex thoughts in blips such as texts, emails, social media and other forms of pseudo communication. There is no availability of further detail, and no tone of voice in these techniques. Therefore, there is no chance for two or more people understanding and sharing an idea, the point to be made will be misconstrued every time. Instead, seek to have long, deep, personal conversations with those who differ in thought. Of course you want to apply all the paths to authentic kindness to such a conversation.

    Agreement is not required for kindness. Indeed kindness is always possible. However, it is not probable without taking the time it takes, having respect for others, and being humble in heart. Have the courage to be kind.

    He who at all times agrees is weak minded and cruel. He who sometimes disagrees yet is kind is a true friend. – Jamie Cearley, PhD

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  • Grief

    When Grief Makes You Feel as Though You Have Lost the Living

    (2 minute read)

    My dear mother in law left this world on August 31st of this year. My grandma is under hospice care with terminal lung cancer as I write. Both became critically ill at the beginning of 2016. I love them both. I have not had a great deal of experience with grief so close till now. Some things I expected; the feeling of something missing, a hole, a void of sorts. Sadness, lack of enthusiasm, and a general pondering of what matters in life are all presumed consequences in my mind. Yet, I am blindsided by the aspect of grief bothering me most; there is a real sense in which I have lost those who remain alive.

    How can this be? It is clear to me how much my husband and father in law miss my sweet mother in law. They will often comment on how they miss her. As a rule this happens during unrelated conversation and neither of them has commented for some time. In other words their minds have wandered far away from the topic at hand; they have not been listening for quite some time. When this happens my first thought is always how much I miss her too, yet my thoughts continue beyond where theirs end to missing my husband, my father in law, my mom, my dad, and my gram because they are all so diverted they are in essence absent. I feel alone; as if I am invisible.

    How do you cope? There are several ways I have sought to cope with what I hope to be a sabbatical from life on the part of my living loved ones. I am not a grief expert. Nor do I recommend or suggest all these to be healthy or effective ways of coping. They are just my attempt to share my experiences, in hopes someone is listening. First, you cry alone. If something needs done, just do it yourself. Take charge of affairs you can do. Don’t ask questions as you are unlikely to receive an adequate answer anyway. Take advantage of friendships and associations outside of family. Spend time doing something you love. Find what provides you with a mental and emotional escape and immerse yourself. Be it music, horses, knitting or any number of other activities requiring focus, let yourself get caught up in it. Find a way to laugh. Serve others with acts of kindness. Try to be a “yes man” for just a while, even if it isn’t your nature. Avoid conflict as much as possible. Have never ending patience. Forget about self, knowing they cannot focus on you now. Trust they will return someday.

    How do you think this will end? I expect a punctuated return. Periods of time where they are able to focus on life and on others will become more frequent and longer in duration. Until then, I will continue to love them all, those gone and those still here, I will miss them, and I will wait.

    I often use the phrase, “Press on” as a salutation. I have found it to solve just about every situation presented to me. I think it will fare well in this one as well.

    Press on my friends. Press on.

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  • Three Reasons to Live This Side of Sensational

    Quotes to Contemplate – August 6, 2016

    Three Reasons to Live This Side of SensationalWe are spending countless dollars trying to one up the last thrill we purchased. See how to find joy in life long after the thrill is gone.

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  • 3 Reasons to Live This Side of Sensational

    3 Reasons to Live This Side of Sensational

    (5 minute read)

    A rich life is more like a porch swing than a party — Jamie Cearley, PhD

    Have you noticed how sensational life is these days? I mean have you seen the spectacular birthday parties three year olds are having? Each one must have a unique theme chosen by the child no less, leaving the parents to work magic to make the imagination of the child a reality. Then there are the breathtaking proposals; followed by fairytale weddings. Did you see this one where a guy climbed a cliff in California to propose by cell phone? She said yes; ah sweet success. But no, he was later found to be not only stuck high on the cliff but also high on drugs. He was rescued by a pricey helicopter ride to jail.  Ever heard of a promposal? Nowadays asking a girl out in the school parking lot or with a piece paper folded into a football are out. No, you had better come up with something original and it had better be Hollywood quality, or else. I am horrified to think what having one of these girls as a wife would be like. I mean how long can you keep coming up with even more grand and glorious ideas to impress her? Then there’s Christmas. It comes earlier each year it seems. Look out for the resplendent Christmas decorations, complete with presents towering under the tree.

    We are spending countless dollars in an attempt to one up the last thrill we purchased. Even worse, most of us pay for these spectacular events on credit. We are still paying interest on the past three thrills we purchased long after the thrill is gone.

    Most of us will even admit to sensationalizing our lives on social media. The color coordinated family photos, the vacation pictures, and the sappy posts about how much you love your spouse are among my favorites.

    We never had coordinated outfits growing up. That is unless you count various obnoxious plaid patterns of button downs as coordinated. Our vacation pictures include such scenes as my chicken pox infestation. I do not feel the need to tell the world how much I love my husband.

    We are a generation who has come to believe fairy tales are reality and reality is, well just a boring, terrible time to endure.

    Now before you click off this post and chalk me up as a bleak bore who just doesn’t think we should have any fun in life, wait. You just might miss the point.

    Life is not a fairy tale. Nor should you want it to be.

    Here are 3 Reasons to Live Life This Side of Sensational:

    1. Living in reality generates serenity. The more you try to avoid reality, the harder it hits. I see many memes these days with a new word, adulting. I know this is new not only because my spell checker doesn’t recognize it but because people used to want to be adults. We were ready to “adult” long before we were independent. Nowadays it is not uncommon for an eighteen year old to have their own car to drive. Yet, they cannot use a lawnmower for fear they will hurt themselves. There is a special kind of ignorance in this type of parenting. People used to grow up craving responsibility, freedom, and the rewards of a job well done. The realities of life are just these; responsibility is a requirement, there are consequences to your actions, and jobs must get done and done well. There is joy in the independence this type of life brings. No it isn’t a fairy tale. Yes, it is hard at times. But yes, a thousand times, yes, it is worth the effort in the rewards it brings daily.
    2. You can celebrate 365 days a year. That is 65% more days than your thrill seeking friends. If you choose to celebrate only special days or events you will waste the vast majority of your life in pursuit of a dream that will never last. Truth is, most days are quite average. Some of them can even be a bit rotten. Most companies recognize somewhere between 7 to 9 paid holidays. If we add to this number 15 days of paid time off and 52 weekends we get a grand total of 128 days. This accounts for approximately 35% of all days in a given year. If you only live for the next holiday or are a weekend warrior you are missing out on 65% of the days of the year you could be enjoying.
    3. All the little things bring joy. As it turns out, life is jam packed full of little things to enjoy. Hugs, warm showers in winter, cold showers in summer, and watermelon on the front porch for example. Then there are long talks with friends, and service to others; both of which swell our hearts with gladness. Many of us are too busy to relax enough to let the priceless little things in life soak in. A life lived in reality has so much joy to offer in its simplicity.

    Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Life has highs and lows. Rather than live for the highs and dread the lows, relish in the middle, for it is where the bulk of real living happens. Create a life that is more serene than sensational. [bctt tweet=”Leave the party and get to swinging on the porch swing.” username=”JamieCearley”]

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  • Quotes to Contemplate – June 29,2016


    Want some ideas on how to get rid of clutter and keep it gone? Read 19 Practical Paths to Less Clutter.

    Start turning your existence into a life. 
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