I wanted to have a word today about selfish kindness. Now at first that may sound like an oxymoron, but I am a firm believer in selfish kindness. Let me explain.
For three years I ran a non-profit organization called Women Rock. Every year we held a benefit concert to raise money for a scholarship, which would go to a young woman who wanted to pursue a career in music. It was something I was really passionate about, and I thought that maybe I could eventually spin the non-profit into my day job and still make my music on the side. But what ended up happening was that the administrative efforts of running a non-profit, coordinating a major fundraiser event, and juggling all the bands meant that I was spending a whole lot of time doing work that I didn't particularly like. I'm a creative person, and I am at my best, and my happiest, when I am being creative. So after three years of running Women Rock (and managing my own band) I was drained. I had nothing left. Instead of spending most of my time making the music I loved, I spent most of my time being an office manager, web designer, graphic designer, email list manager, etc.
I made the decision to stop running the non-profit, and eventually dissolved the band. Because although I was very passionate about both of them, the thing I was really passionate about (making music) had become subsumed by a host of clerical tasks that took me away from my true purpose and joy.
When my son Gabriel was born, almost 6 years ago now, it was like a wake up call. Being with him I learned what it meant to just BE in JOY. Babies are the best lesson in mindful living you can ever have. And it set the bar for me. I learned that there was a difference between suffering and effort. Because although being a mother often is draining and overwhelming, it never makes me feel the way running that non-profit did. Because I love what I do (OK I could do without laundry and dishes, let's be honest). I love MOST of what I do, MOST of the time.
Now when I am planning a kindness mission, I look at whether I will enjoy the PROCESS, not just the PRODUCT. Today's kind act is a perfect example. Last week I found out that my son's school had a sad state of affairs in the art supply department. And as an artist, I just can't sit by and let that happen. So I made a little trip to the art supply store, otherwise know as my happy place. Getting to pick out paints and brushes for me is like a kid getting to go for a spree in a candy store. I was so high! And then the fun of taking that box of supplies and filling up a shelf with brand new paints... serious joy and satisfaction!
So when I say I believe in selfish kindness, I mean that I find ways to be kind that bring me joy. So if you are thinking of planning your own kindness mission, think first about what makes you really, really happy. Then find a way to do that and make someone else happy at the same time. Then you have a double complete rainbow baby!
Have a beautiful day!