I was a cowgirl growing up. At the age of 5 my parents got me my first pony-how cliche sounding right 🙂 Her name was Prissy and she was exactly that. As I learned to be more confident on my pony, I soon outgrew her. Next, my parents got me a Quarter horse named Mamababe. She was the sweetest horse I ever had. She loved children immensely. I would bring her carrots and apples and she was happy.
But there was a very different side to Mamababe. The weird thing was, she was terrified of men. We adopted her so we didn’t know the specifics of where she came from but she made it quite clear that someone was unkind to her, and it was most likely a man. If a man came near her, she protested, snorted and made a big scene to show her disapproval. Here was an animal that was not treated with kindness for a period in her life. A sweet, loving and giving creature to her core.
Practicing kindness in a larger, worldly sense means to show kindness, be kind and live with kindness in your heart. Showing kindness could imply enjoying the company of others, or complimenting them, helping them through a difficult situation or time. Being kind means not waiting for others to be friendly, show them how. Say hello first, make eye contact, share a smile. I heard this quote a while back and it really resonates with me. “Everyone smiles in the same language.” It is a universal human expression that any continent, country, state, province, or city understands. It is a huge gift that needs to be shared with the world.
Living in todays world has many challenges. We are faced with unkindness everyday. The person who cuts us off in traffic, the impatient diner in a restaurant, the child who bullies. Everyone has had their own experience of it. I prefer to look at life this way. I have the power to create and shape my world any way I want. I choose to participate, inspire, encourage and support others. It is my choice, nobody makes that decision but me.
Many years later now, I still think of Mamababe and know that I gave her all the love and kindness I could. Now, I don’t ride horses anymore, but that experience taught me lessons about life and treating others with compassion and kindness. I apply those same lessons in teaching our children, teaching other people’s children in Aikido and hopefully through this understanding, inspire others to do the same. To be kind is to know peace.