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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 03/02/2006

Hats Off…to Kindness

By staff writer

I have a habit of responding to a question with too much information. I know this because of the response I get sometimes from the person asking the question. My husband for example might gently say, “That is much more information than I needed.” On other occasions, someone interrupts me, and sometimes in not so gentle fashion.

The other day a woman called me at home and asked me if I had a minute or so to answer a question. I said yes but just a minute as I was getting my grandbaby’s lunch ready. She proceeded to ask me her question to which I began answering. In the middle of my sentence she yelled into the telephone, “Be quiet. If I have only one minute then I don’t want to listen to you. I want you to hear what I have to say.” Needless to say, it took a great deal of courage to not react to her rudeness.

Author Susan Salzberg, in her book, “The Force of Kindness, Change Your Life With Love and Compassion”, encourages others to develop attitudes of kindness. Quoting the Dalai Lama’s most famous quote, “My true religion if kindness,” Salzberg gives us three practices to follow: 1. Whenever you have the chance, thank people for what they have done for you; 2. Do not speak ill of others; and 3. Really listen to someone you find irritating or annoying. Daily practice of these attitudes will change your life.

And so I took into consideration the circumstances surrounding this woman’s life, wheelchair and home bound, dependant on others for help, I chose to ignore her behavior and do what I could. As a friend once told Salzberg, “You really want to be a rebel: practice kindness.”

My column a few months ago on the new CVS created some interesting conversations. I must admit that on average the majority of responses were those who disagreed with my opinion. But a few said I had given them a different perspective of the situation. But everyone who responded was kind. And for that I am grateful. When we as a community show kindness and compassion for each other, we are reflecting to the wider community the love and pride we have for each other. This takes courage and practice but the results are worth it. I hope you agree.