Be Mindful of Kindness

“I have no desire to move mountains, construct monuments, or leave behind in my wake material evidence of my existence. But, in the final recollection, if the essence of my being has caused a smile to have appeared upon your face or a touch of joy within your heart . . . Then in living – I have made my mark.” (Thomas L. Odem)

When reading this quote I recall a person who I had met only a handful of times in my life before he passed over. He was well into his 80′s; I was about 6 when he passed over.

My grandmothers sisters husband Vincent’s legacy lives on to this day. When my old Italian uncle Vincent spoke, no one could understand what he was saying. Every sentence of ‘broken English’ was infused with a giggle or chuckle, and all the words were blended & mumbled together, yet he understood everything. He got it! Except for the driving laws; I’m told he crashed more cars then most, usually smashing windshields with his head! Yet, in the small Italian neighborhood it wasn’t his awful driving he was remembered for; he was known for something more. Something bigger. Remembered for something way better.

I hardly recall this man in person, but in my mind he is alive as ever. He gave me a plant that I thought was so beautiful. It was chickadee plant that sat inside of a hollowed husk/shell of a coconut. He turned it into a hanging plant with some old wires he had lying around, and I felt like the most special little girl on the planet when he said… “Tak-a-homa!” with a chuckle, shoving it into my arms.

I remember the summer days in his fabulously lush garden. He let us children in, and allowed us to touch, and he taught us how to carefully pick the flowers off the zucchini plants, which my great aunt rose lovingly battered and fried to perfection. A bit of heaven right there in the Bronx. As a child, I thought he was magical. Surely no other adult let us tromp through their garden…no less actually touch something!

Throughout the years since he’s passed over, I’ve heard everyone who knew him say the same thing… “Oh! Vincent! Nicest guy you’d ever want to meet! “He’d give you the shirt off his back!”
No one ever had anything negative to say about uncle Vincent – only positive!

Every single story was peppered with the same flavor: if you would say to Vincent ..’ I like that!….’ Or ‘I need a shovel’, or ‘I’m going to buy some plants’… anything in the course of conversation, he would turn on his heel and go get you the very thing that you mentioned. I am sure if you said you needed a 17 purple toadstools, he would some how find them in his tool shed or around the yard, and give them to you in a mason jar… like magic!
So here’s a man who has been dead for more than 40 years, and people *still* recall him with a smile, and a compliment, like it was only yesterday that he touched their hearts.

The day I that realized this, I thought: ‘What an amazing gift!!’ ‘… how many people can we say that about in our lives?’
And I liked the thought of being *that* person in my own life. Being someone who left a mark on someones spirit. My impact doesn’t necessarily have to be life changing for everyone, everyday, but merely trying to have a positive impact was key! At first it was difficult to curb the negative thoughts that rolled in my head throughout the day in this crazy busy world. But after a while of trying, it isn’t difficult, because it brings me joy doing good things!

So I made this mantra: “be mindful of kindness and all of the energy that I send out of myself in everything I do, everyday.”

Imagine if everyone tried to be mindful of this?… to just try to live their lives so that the essence of their beings caused a smile or a touch of joy?

I think we could achieve peace! Peace within. Peace in the world! And, this concept has two sides; this theory flows in two directions. In & out. Out from you, then back into you.  And once that flow is bidirectional with great masses of people then that is when the universe will be at peace on every level. And it will be magical, just like dear sweet Uncle Vincent showed the world.

I welcome your insights on this.

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  1. paula says:

    This was great. This philosophy is my daily work. I teach people how to be with individuals who are marginalized in one manner or another. How to be present, kind, and listen to each other . How can we do this? we have our hands which can convey love, understanding and peace, our hearts which allow us to listen to each others backstage story and understand, our eyes to show we care and our voice to send the sounds of kind words and support. Yes i have a very cool job, and iam very thankful. I practice this daily, and whenever i achieve i feel wonderful! Thank you for the reminder i so appreciate it!

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