I’ve been stalling.
Almost nine weeks ago, I signed up for my first blogging challenge. I had witnessed a few from afar by reading posts and themes, but I had never before committed my writing to a particular theme or person. I had very little expectation for what this would do for me, beyond meeting new bloggers and just extending my circle in this world a little bit. What I ended up walking away with was so much more.
But still, I’ve been stalling.
The seventh and final week of the Kindness Challenge was to focus on secret kindness, to spread kindness without mentioning it in conversation, to just put kindness out in the universe and watch the natural ripple effect that occurs. For the first time in those seven weeks, I had decided that I would move forward without a plan. I wouldn’t plan how to be kind, I wouldn’t go out looking for the bloggable moment to share. I wanted to just live, and when the opportunities presented themselves to be kind, to do more, to be the best version of myself, I took them. No questions asked. It was, by far the easiest week of the challenge, the previous six weeks had prepared me to live in this way, the most challenging part of my final week participating was that I’m not even allowed to blog about the actual kindness “tasks” that happened. It forced me to even rethink the words I would use to describe the actions that took place.
Of all the words, all the sentences, all the posts that came to my head, it all boiled down to one word: happy. I spent that week being happy, feeling loved by those that I purposefully was kind to, I remained positive when my natural inclination would be to be negative, I was calm, I was helpful, I saw some of my relationships strengthen in a matter of days, I was just happier.
But yes, I was stalling. I was stalling because I wasn’t ready for the challenge to be over. Writing this post and sharing my final reflection was the one thing I had to hold onto and force myself to keep moving forward in this mindset. Once I hit publish, I have no anchor to keeping my focus, no task at hand. I just have to live and keep it moving myself. I can no longer depend on Niki to give me a prompt for the week, to check in with me, and to ask questions that make me think deeper. I had to do all of that on my own and I wasn’t entirely sure I trusted myself to do it.
In the last two weeks I’ve been both successful and challenged in my quest to keep moving forward, acting with kindness. It was obvious to both myself, and those around me when I was feeling challenged by it, and incredibly obvious to me when I was feeling successful. It was now up to me to notice the difference and make the choice as to which road I would take. I will continue to look at the inspirational people in my life that I use as pillars of kindness, the people that have somehow managed to make this a part of their personality naturally. They will be my yardstick for measuring my success, and I will keep moving forward.
I want to finish with my appreciation for Niki, who put together this challenge and did an amazing job facilitating conversation and insight throughout the entire process. I don’t think you realized the impact that this would have on so many people when you had your initial thought to put it together. I applaud your courageousness for doing it, and your engagement with each of us throughout the process. Thank you for spreading kindness.