As a Story Consultant, I am always on the search for words that add meaning and emotional depth to life experience.  I came across two words that do just that in the book, ZEN HEART by Ezra Bayda, “Being Kindness.”  Ezra writes, “We think that we need approval.  We think that we need to be loved.   But, as usual, we have it backward.  As we mature spiritually, we discover that we don’t need to be loved–, the real need, if you want to call it that, is to love.  To love, or to live from Being Kindness, means that we’re living from our natural being — from the Zen Heart.  But to learn to live from our natural kindness, we usually have to work with what gets in the way, which, in large part, is our deep seated and pervasive need for approval.”  These words have had such a profound affect on me as I experience the rush of the holidays.  If we operate with the goal of being kindness, it opens up a world of possibility and allows us to experience things on a more positive level.

Recently, I saw the true effect of kindness.  I am the Writing Instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge, a diversity program structured to prepare finalists for the experience of being staffed as a television writer.  At the end of our last class, I wanted to leave each of the finalists with a positive thought.  So, I had each person in the room describe one thing they loved about every other person in the room. It was a way to get them to express themselves in an open forum but to also tell each other what their thoughts are.  It was a truly amazing experience.  Seeing their faces light up as they received nothing but positive reinforcement is a moment that I will never forget.

Another great tip mentioned in ZEN HEART to keep in mind for the holidays is the “Three Breaths Practice.”  Ezra writes, “The Three Breaths Practice involves injecting a conscious pause in the middle of our usual state of waking sleep, a pause that lasts for the duration of three full breaths.  Here’s how it works, whenever you ‘come to’ for a moment, you make the conscious intention to stay there for at least three full breaths.  You don’t necessarily focus on the breath itself, but bring awareness to your entire experience in the moment, whatever it may be.”

What if we went into the holidays and the New Year with  “conscious intention” in everything we do?  Whether it’s a meal with our family, a get together with friends, a party or even a business meeting, if we consciously think about what our intention is and how we would like to make the other people in the situation feel, the results could be a lot more fulfilling.  The key to the success of your conscious intention is my favorite two words of the season, “Being Kindness.”