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Bruce's Blog || Just sayin'. . .

Kindness, Why, Why, Why?, Isn't it Obvious

Posted on August 17, 2019 by Bruce MacNaughton

Good Morning from Prince Edward Island, 

Another glorious day on the Island. (we do need the rain though)

Put the kettle on, hope you have time for tea. Just a quick visit today. 

“The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement.” – Arthur Gray

This summer has been a busy one. Every day I witness acts of kindness between total strangers and it does my heart good.

Habitat for Humanity is a well-known organization for their kindness. It is on display again with people coming from all around the world to help build a home for a complete stranger on Lennox Island, Prince Edward Island. Story here

Whether it is a child’s expression of delight when a butterfly lands on their little piece of orange. The donkey running up to them to say hi. The bunnies expressing their timid exuberance & joy in front of the families. Seeing parents being patient is an act of kindness that will do no harm.
 
"Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is." Blaise Pascal, Writer
 
Kindness starts with us being nice to ourselves. Sure, you screwed up, I screwed up. Everyone screws up at one time or another.
 
Perfection is unattainable, but excellence is. One thought and one action at a time.
 
Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. Mark Twain
 
If we get ourselves to a place where we forgive ourselves and others, we break the chains that bind to hurt and pain. Freedom is attainable.
 
To move forward accepting empathy as a tool in life’s toolbox goes a long way towards peace of mind.
 
Empathy—people’s ability to share and understand one another’s emotions—has declined sharply in the 21st century. If it dies out, technology will probably be charged with the murder. The clues are all there: People in countries with a greater Internet penetrance report lower empathy. Simply leaving a phone between two strangers as they talk lessens their resulting trust. The prosecution’s case writes itself: while apparently serving us, technology quietly poisoned the connections that keep us human. Jamil Zaki
 
Jamil Zaki is an associate professor of psychology at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory. He has written an interesting article in the Scientific Amerian journal. The Technology of Kindness - How social media can rebuild our empathy—and why it must.
 
At their request, tomorrow, I am to speak and share with 50 Buddhists why Shirley and I do what we do.
 
Why the Gardens of Hope? Why the Respite Cottage? Why and how deal with the stresses of running a hyper-active business?
 
Looking forward to sharing my Christian perspective with love & kindness. It is only through this worldview have I been able to personally feel the chains of hurt, guilt and shame removed. But it is not technical, it is not strategic it is relational.
 
We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others. Thomas Merton
 
I hope you enjoy this video. Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
 
Nature’s beauty can be fleeting -- but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.
Thank you for taking the time with me today.
 
Wishing you a wonderful weekend, one where you notice what is good.
 
With love from Prince Edward Island,
 
Bruce
ps. 
A friend was doing a crossword puzzle...
"What's a 7-letter word for 'easily perceived or understood' that starts with 'O'?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"It should be, but I can't figure it out. That's why I'm asking."

Eating Popcorn, Chopsticks and Happiness.

Posted on July 14, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

I write at 5:36 as the sun is cracking the horizon, good morning to all. A new day is dawning, and so many great things are going to happen. 

I was glued to the news this week as I am sure you and the rest of the world were, as rescuers worked tirelessly, methodically and wisely against the clock to find a way to get the young boys and their coach out of the flooded Thai cave.

Our prayers added to the prayers of millions around the world. 

Can you believe they were down there for 18 days, not knowing if they would see daylight again?

The strength of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me.

The kindness and generosity of so many from different parts of the world was an encouraging sign in the time of global stresses.

Kindness and compassion are the birthplaces for joy and happiness and from this new birth comes its siblings of honesty, forgiveness, patience and generosity.

All are foundational to a good heart, and having a good heart is consistent with having a good life.

Being human means being different from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have soul woven into the heart.

This week, I read an interesting article in the Washington Post, "When searching for happiness, try eating popcorn with chopsticks. Read here

The gardens are starting to put on a show, and the rose rugosas are particularly alive and filling the air with their heavenly scent. The peonies are calling it a season and are retreating into being stronger and more beautiful next year. Though we didn't manage to get a photo of the roses, I thought you might enjoy this one. 

Shirley and Katherine, our photographer and graphic designer, were in the gardens this week and spontaneously asked this person walking through the garden to model for them.  So sorry we didn't catch your name but thank you for taking the time.

A big thank you goes out to Valerie and Karen our gardeners this year. They are doing a herculean task with no complaints. We do need help with weeding and if you know anyone able to help, let us know. 

“The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose”~ George William Curtis

Things are buzzing in the shop this month. I’ve been greeting many people each day, and it truly warms my heart to see the smiles on all those faces, which seem to be saying, “it’s good to be back” to our favourite place.

Then there is the look of wonder on those who come for the first time and to watch all their senses tickled to the point of causing their eyes to twinkle and face to smile.

We work hard to provide a beautiful and welcoming experience for those who take the time to grace our doors with their presence. It is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur.

While I write today, I have been listening to the Anonymous 4. I discovered them a few years back when reading about the medieval chants of 12th-century nun Hildegard von Bingen. 

This female vocal quartet is a respected small vocal group specializing in early music. Sample listen here. 

The Origin of Fire - Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen

Be kind to yourself and others. 

With love from Prince Edward Island,

Bruce

Be Kind, Leave it by the Sea

Posted on February 24, 2018 by Bruce MacNaughton

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Earlier this week, 'round the table catching up on life with a dear friend, the topic came to music. She had recently seen and heard an amazing singer-songwriter from Manitoba; and felt I must listen to this artist, I did, oh my you must as well. His name is William Prince. What a voice, what a presence. 

Just a little word taste of his writings.

Leave it by the Sea...

Took the train down to Brampton

This room to hot to sleep

Young love howlin' in the street

And those rainy days in London

felt the rain inside of me. 

I've been carrying around this baggage for too long...

I think I'll leave it by the sea. 

Ruins of my past and worried whispers

I think I'll leave it by the sea.

Best watch him perform it here. Looking forward to hearing him perform in Summerside, PEI this March 15, 2018.  

I feel this song is a reminder to forgive ourselves, accept the forgiveness, and keep going. It's really about being kind to yourself and others.  It is hard to give something away you don't have, start being nice to yourself. This quote by Tagore reminds us to serve others as well.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

The world lost a beautiful soul this week with the passing of 18-year-old Rebecca Schofield of Riverview, New Brunswick. When this young woman received her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, she started a movement, asking people to perform random acts of kindness and share them on social media using the hashtag #BeccaToldMeTo

The world responded. Thousands of acts of kindness have been in her name.

The third Saturday in September will be Becca Schofield Day in New Brunswick. To learn more about #BeccaToldMeTo, visit her website

In honour of Becca, please, if you're comfortable, share a story of kindness in the comment section.

         "Be kind… but in a way that feels right to you." Rebecca Schofield

Perhaps an act of kindness that you received and don't mind sharing. 

          The soul would have no rainbows if we had no tears - Native Proverb

With love from Prince Edward Island,

Bruce

#BeccaToldMeTo
Spreading kindness, one hashtag at a time.

Seasonal Kindness & Mindfulness

Posted on December 02, 2017 by Bruce MacNaughton

The busiest season of the year is upon us. It’s delightful to see all of the orders pouring in, knowing that folks have selected our store from which to purchase items for themselves, or for people they love. Our hard-working staff carefully packs each order with care, and all of us genuinely are so thankful for your patronage. Being a small business, each order means a great deal to us. 


Speaking of care, this time of year looking after your stress is paramount to your well being. Successfully managing it, in turn, enables you to spread your joy. Being free of the negative, certainly makes it easier to act with kindness and compassion towards others. The more of these you give, the more you of these you receive. What a beautiful boomerang! So take more time for yourself in a reflective, mindful cup of tea kind of way. Breath! 

Christmas season can be a hard time for people and was always a hard time of year for me, for each person, there are a variety of reasons. Fortunately, in recent years my personal faith has brought me to a meaningful place, whereas giving to others and sharing love gifts brings such me such joy & peace.

I saw something on social media last week that I would like to share with you. A kindness advent calendar for the month of December.

I just love the sentiment behind this calendar. I may change some of the items to better suit our family, but overall, I really like it. Kindness Calendar

It’s so easy to get swept up in the business of the season, but I do my best to be mindful of the reason for the season. A child was born to help the discouraged, broken-hearted and those living without hope. A lamp for the world. Just sayin...

I’m curious to hear if you’ve already decorated for the holidays? Starting the first of December Shirley has her daily endeavour to add a little tasteful tidbit of decor to our home further enrobing it with love and beauty. My minuscule role is to help get the tree and participate in the decorating.  When the children were home, we usually ventured to a cut your own Christmas tree lot and had fun choosing just the right one. When the season is over, we usually take our tree down soon after New Year's Eve. 

Wishing you and yours a great week ahead! 

With love from Prince Edward Island,

Bruce