The term “gentle spirit” evokes thoughts of kindness, compassion, empathy, refinement, presence and quiet warmth. If I took a survey, I imagine most of us would view this set of qualities as desirable attributes to cultivate. If we delve a little deeper, this question begs to be asked: How come there is so little gentleness of spirit around these days
Anyone who has spent time engaged in the challenges of modern living and the realities of business, relationships, education, government, sales and/or parenting, knows that kindness is often interpreted as weakness.
Compassion freely offered can open the door to unrealistic and unacceptable demands for more. Empathy masquerades as a sales script starting with: “I know how you feel. I’ve felt the same way before and I found that product X will make it all go away…for a small investment on your part.”
No wonder we have turned into a society that feels it is necessary, and even imperative, to be wary of everyone and to teach our children not to talk to any strangers.
Instant, all benefits, no prices, fame and fortune images are sold so consistently that the underpinnings necessary for a fulfilling life have been replaced with expediency. More, bigger, quicker and louder, have become the unquestioned reasons why we take certain actions.
Quality has been replaced by quantity.
Quiet, reflective, peaceful, calm, gentle, tranquil and patient freedoms have become overpowered by a quick, shrill, fire-drill approach to daily living. Is the fast forward button permanently stuck so that rapid, hasty, impatient, over-stimulated behavior is the new norm?
We are able to communicate with each other instantly, nationally and globally, by telephone, Skype, FaceTime, fax, email and mobile phone, but if fast and expedient is the name of the game, the chances of us truly touching one another and being touched are slim.
Slow and steady is the unassuming door that sits ready and waiting, next to the ever-popular automatic revolving door that most of us are conditioned to use.
When we habitually feed our spirit a steady diet of production demands in a misguided effort to grab the illusive brass ring of external validation, we miss the gifts of contentment and connection that come from kind and refined actions.
When we constantly push and prod ourselves, we will also push and prod others. Shoving our ideas, opinions, feelings, needs, wants, and judgments on the significant people in our lives shuts them down and creates disconnection and distance.
The antidote to fierce and voracious behavior is to begin to attend to the cultivation of a kinder, gentler, more compassionate, and warm approach to how we treat ourselves and others.
When we learn to be kind and gentle with ourselves, we can genuinely extend kindness and warmth to others and begin to attract the subtle and satisfying rewards that gentle-spirited actions bring.
“She did not talk to people as if they were strange hard shells she had to crack open to get inside. She talked as if she were already in the shell. In their very shell.” Marita Bonner (1926), “Nothing New”
Susan is a communications consultant and author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Connect with her atsusanvelasquez.com.