It starts here. How will you be doing it?

Kindness by Tamara Magnitsky
The picture is from our trip to Vermont. The young woman (in blue) is Sierra, she is an intern at the Twin Ponds Retreat. She was very excited to meet the other ‘redhead’ who was due to arrive, that would be Natasha! They were fast friends and Sierra showed so much kindness in spending time with her; chasing chickens so she could hold one, letting her gather the chicken eggs in the morning, showing her how to infuse cloth with the natural dye from flowers.
So much joyful giving.


Shaman’s Lesson
by January Handl

it starts here” she said gruffly
knarled and bony finger poking me in the chest-
the answer to my questions?

“Fear, betrayal, shame, grief,
All suffering starts here”

I felt the frozen lumps in my chest
like knots on a weathered rope,
dramas of my own making?
It starts here”, she repeated more insistently,
as I tried to use my breath to loosen
the grip of pain and guilt, that now
sank as dense stone
to the pit of my stomach.

“forgiveness, compassion, hope and love,
All joy starts here”

Warmth and strength suddenly spread through my
center and out to my forearms and hands,
out the souls of my feet in effervescent waves
of translucent colors.

It starts here!” she nearly shouted,
“As the water reflects the sky
there is no eye you can look into without
seeing your own journey-
there are no sands you can walk on without
winds sweeping loss and kindness
through the lives of connected stories,
there is no breath that doesn’t take in
the air and sun and stardust
that swirl into the being of each “


Yes it starts here.

And we get to choose what happens next.

As Tamara’s photo so beautifully shows, kindness happily flows out of us and to others.

Last kindness week we concentrated on being kind to ourselves. This week our Bliss Initiative is to share kindness and just like being kind to ourselves it starts here. With you.


  • Smiling and waving hello.
  • Leaving a message on someone’s Facebook page (or send a card) to let them know why you admire them.
  • Inviting someone to join your group. We all have groups we belong to and it is always kind to invite someone new to join the fun!
  • Saying “take your time” and mean it!
  • Giving or loaning books you enjoyed to your friends.
  • Saying “Please” and “Thank you” even/especially to those closest to you.
  • Using your turn signal and otherwise driving nicely!
  • Writing a note of thanks to someone who has done a good job for you… when possible address it to their supervisor.
  • Listening. Really Listening.

How will you be doing it?


Tamara and January are here each Monday to help set the mood for the week!

Tamara Magnitsky

Tamara Magnitsky, a child of the wild blue yonder,
has been an ardent student and advocate for poetry, photography and excellence in general.
She is the mother of a 6 year old daughter and a beloved wife.
She can be found most days.

Bio written by Cary Brosius ~Tamara’s husband  🙂


January Handl

January Handl is first and always a mother, has been a preschool teacher and parent educator for 25 years. She is currently the Director/head teacher at Gazebo Park School, and lives at Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She lives simply in awe of existence.

She calls her photo “hot tub bliss”  🙂

4 thoughts on “It starts here. How will you be doing it?

  1. Jessica Schmaltz says:

    As a stay at home mom, who also home schools, everyday I have to set the mood for the day. My kids light up my entire life. 16 years of marriage, with a 16yr old, 15yr old, 10yr old, and twin 4yr olds, always felt that making a difference for someone daily is a great way to run a day. Being home all day, they have opportunities to help a neighbor, to take time to teach baseball or softball to pre-schoolers. They shine so bright, that I forget just how awesome they are. My day might be horrible, drivers might cut me of, get over charged on items, but my kids seem to show me just how great it is to be nice to others….Now if I can remind them to be nice to each other. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I LOVE your “setting the mood for the day.” That is truly the key to everything! I only have one child so your life in entirely unfathomable to me but if someone with 5 kids and your schedule can “make a difference for someone daily” there really isn’t any reason anyone can’t! Thanks for the inspiration!

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