I am cradled today in the comfort of kindness, the awareness that every kindness you ever offer somehow finds it’s way back to you. In the simplest way, this is karma–every action has a consequence. Today, I am humbled by it, my heart softened, opened by the practice of generosity, and the kindness that has found it’s way to me because of it. I feel tender and raw, sad and weepy because of it, but also so joyful and grateful.
Patti Digh is one of my favorite authors, humans. I have learned so much from her about showing up, keeping my heart open, cultivating courage and compassion. She’s given me so much, and there is no way to repay that kind of gift directly or completely.
And yet, at the end of this summer, I had an opportunity to help her, to give what I could give. Her husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer during a time when he had no health insurance and he needed an expensive surgery. The John F. Ptak Relief Fund was created and I was happy to donate, happy to offer some small kindness to a woman who’d already given me so much.
The story doesn’t end there. Just as I was about to make a donation, Mary Ann Radmacher announced on Facebook that the first ten people to make a $100 donation and contact her would get an original piece of her work. She’s an amazing artist and writer. I love everything she does. Her quote “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow” has offered me so much comfort in the past year.
To create my original piece, she asked for my most favorite colors (purples, blues and greens–colors of flowers, the ocean, and the trees), shape (infinity symbol) and most treasured iconic image (lotus flower). When the package arrived in the mail and I saw what she’d made, my heart was so full it felt like it would break.
Holy Wow. I can’t stop staring at it. And that’s not all, she also sent me a signed copy of her new book, Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things. Do you understand, kind and gentle reader? She didn’t have to do that. The book wasn’t part of the deal, a deal that was already super sweet, above and beyond, but she sent it along anyway, added a bonus gift. One generous act beget a kindness that, as it was passed along from person to person, heart to heart, grew so big, got so bright. I have faith that it won’t stop with this.
“Honey is a sweetness, occurring as the result of creatures doing what comes from acting according to their nature,” says Mary Anne in the introduction to her new book. We humans are fundamentally good, inherently compassionate and wise, and this sweetness, these kind acts (Patti giving, me giving to her, and Mary Anne giving to me because I gave to Patti), this infinity loop of generosity and love is, I believe with my whole heart, just that: the result of creatures doing what comes from acting according to their nature.