Megan Murphy lives with open hands. Instead of clenching her fingers around her stuff, her ideas, her time, she greets people palms up, freely giving what she can to help another along the path of life.
Isn’t that a beautiful way of living?
Certainly there are rocks along Megan’s path, but most of them are colorful and filled with inspiring messages of affirmation. And many of them were made by Megan.
Megan is the creator of The Kindness Rocks Project which started as a slow walk along the beach and swelled into a movement that is rocking our little world.
Megan talks with me in Episode 28 of The Kindness Podcast about the advice she got from Oprah and how we too can live with hands wide open.
One message at just the right moment can change everything. Click here for inspiration to create your own rocks.
I was getting out of the shower the other morning when a sharp little pain shot through my right breast. For anyone keeping track, my right breast is the healthy one. It’s the left breast that was removed three years ago after a cancer diagnosis.
The towel caught my skin wrong and I flinched. My mind immediately filled with one thought: What if it’s cancer?
People have indeed discovered diseases after an abnormal pain, but I knew even in my moment of mini-panic I was overreacting.
How I went from a slight twinge to another cancer diagnosis is beyond me, but ask any other survivor and they’ll tell you they do it too. I have yet to meet someone who has had cancer of any kind who doesn’t occasionally wonder if it will come back.
I stood in front of my mirror for a moment while my mind wandered. Cancer… What if…
What do you do with your what ifs?
Do you hold onto them and breathe life into them, allowing those two little words to grow and expand until they overtake your whole brain?
I’ve done that more times than I care to admit.
I knew I had the option of inviting this black cloud to follow me around for the rest of the day… but I knew I also had the choice to speak back to the fear.
That’s what “what ifs” really are you know. Fear disguised as problem solving.
I grabbed some clothes from my closet and replaced the “What if” with “If what.”
Instead of thinking “What if it’s cancer?” I silently prayed, “If what I’m imagining ever comes true, God thank you for helping me handle it gracefully.”
I immediately felt a peace and an ability to move on with my day. I knew I didn’t have to hold onto that what if. And guess what? There’s good news. Neither do you.
What are you doing right this second?
Reading this, right? But really, where is your mind? Are you in the moment, engaged and thinking about each black and white word on the screen?
Or are you wandering?
Research tells us that people are not paying attention to what they’re doing 47% of the time.
Half the time we’re doing something we’re not mentally present! Half the time our minds our wandering!
Here’s the rub about that research… it also found that people are much happier when they are paying attention to what they are doing, even when it’s not something they want to be doing.
Well-being is a skill. We can train the mind to be more present, resilient and kind. In fact, we are constantly training our brains whether we’re trying to or not.
Here’s a scary thought: What we think about most often becomes what we’re going to think about most often.
Are you thinking about how grateful you are that someone has worked hard to stock the store full of fresh, healthy produce? Or are you upset you have to go grocery shopping?
Our present thoughts matter because they form our future thoughts.
Chad McGehee is a researcher on a team at the University of Wisconsin that created a kindness curriculum that has gotten an immense amount of national attention. Even the producers of Sesame Street wanted in on the action and worked with the team to incorporate lessons into their show that would teach children to notice kindness.
The entire curriculum is available for free online at the Center for Healthy Minds.
Chad joins me on the Episode 27 of The Kindness Podcast. You can listen for free on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. So go ahead, spend the next 20 minutes with me. It’ll be good for your brain!