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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Dec 13, 2014

JenniferFischerRather than making a New Year’s resolution for 2014, I selected a guiding word for the year, and the word I chose was “compassion.”

The selection feels even more appropriate now. At the start of the year, I embraced my guiding word with a “14 Days of Loving-Kindness Challenge” on my blog.

As the year wraps up and I contemplate my guiding word for 2014, I decided to revisit that challenge.

The challenge included prompts for both myself and for my sons. I realized that starting the challenge again on Dec. 18 would allow me to complete it on New Year’s Eve, so I’m going to revisit the prompts with the boys soon. But I thought I’d highlight the 14 prompts for myself here – the daily prompts include one person to focus on treating with loving-kindness. So, here are my prompts and how I plan to move forward with them.

1. Self – This one should be easy, but so many people often are hardest on themselves. Right now, I’ve been struggling with getting enough sleep and healing some physical aches and pains, so the loving-kindness I want to show myself is rest and relaxation.

jf121214a2. School Counselor – Barbara Gruener is an amazing school counselor whom I’ve met virtually through blogging and writing about acts of kindness and service. This past May, she published a book, “What’s Under Your Cape? Superheroes of the Character Kind.” I haven’t purchased it yet. The challenge seems like the perfect time to do so.

3. Collegue-Peer – As an independent filmmaker, an important way to show loving-kindness to my peers is to support their independent works and share their work with others. I recently attended a great crowdfunding-indie filmmaker event hosted by Seed and Spark and have committed to checking out and supporting projects on Seed and Spark’s awesome platform.

4. My Children – Enough said.

5. Someone Who Has Hurt You – This one is a little personal, so I won’t share the details, but I will say that when I did this earlier this year, it proved to be the best of the 14. Showing kindness to someone who hurt me deeply and focusing on forgiveness really helped me to heal.

6. Teacher – I plan to put together a great thank you gift with my oldest son for his kindergarten teacher.

7. Someone who is homeless and hungry – We recently made Homeless Care Kits with friends and keep them on hand in our car. I also have some extra items (shampoo, soap, etc.) and will be donating it to Bridge to Home and seeing what else is on their needs list.

8. My Parents – A letter, a phone call, something handmade by the kids – simple, but important and meaningful.

9. A Neighbor – We have a neighbor who always helps us out in numerous ways. I am trying to come up with something perfect to do to thank them and extend loving-kindness to them this holiday season. What’s your favorite act of kindness for a neighbor? I need some ideas to make this one really good.

10. Someone Who is Elderly – In our community, there is a much older woman who is always so happy to see my sons and me. We keep meaning to visit her but never do. This holiday season, I’m making it a priority, especially since it’s the first Christmas since her son died.

11. A Veteran – My mom’s wife is a veteran and has a passion for photography, so I’m going to brainstorm with my husband about something cool to send to her to support her photography.

12. Someone Across the World – I’ll be supporting the Educate Haiti Fund of Hope for the Hungry. This fund helps provide education for children in Haiti.

13. Spouse-Partner-Rock – I love this one because I think so often we take those closest to us for granted. In my case, date nights are so few and far between for my husband and me, but I will be prioritizing the two of us having some time together without our kids to truly enjoy each other’s company.

14. Author-Writer-Librarian – The SCV Bookmobile librarians are awesome, and they like cookies, so we’ll be giving them cookies.

I’m looking forward to closing my year the way I opened it, with this 14 Days of Loving-Kindness challenge. I think beginning and ending my year focused on love and kindness toward others sounds pretty good, and I plan to continue working toward my overall goal of showing compassion to all. As such, I’m closing with an Albert Einstein quote I read recently:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

 

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

 

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