A JOYOUS International Women’s Day to all women and girls (and the men and boys who love them)!
My heart is bursting with joy and gratitude tonight and–on this the eve of International Women’s Day (IWD)–I must share a little story about kindness and how kindness changes the world. Please know that while this story is something I was a small part of, this story is NOT about me: this story is about the power of community responding to suffering.
International Women’s Day is March 8th every year — a day to celebrate and honor the gifts and talents of every girl and woman around the world. I was blessed to be part of a local gathering organized by A Place for Women to Gather (where I sometimes offer some special playshops for girls and women), in Raleigh.
Last year the Sisters at A Place for Women to Gather invited me to come up with a creativity project that we could breathe collective creative love and kindness to during the IWD occasion. I had a few ideas but nothing that had especially called me. One night I was watching NOVA’s documentary A Walk to Beautiful. It was a very emotional program describing the shunning of women in Ethiopia; women who suffered a traumatic injury during childbirth, called a fistula.
The program described a life-changing organization called Abraham’s Oasis and Grace Village, where women are taken, given a corrective operation, and then taken on a spiritual journey of healing.
My breathe was stolen. I couldn’t sleep that night. I kept thinking about the women enduring unfathomable loss and ostracism. I didn’t know how or what could be possibly done to support them, and I didn’t have any money to contribute to their healing.
A few days passed and I remembered the Sisters’ request for a proposal of a creativity project, and remarkably a lightbulb went off. I thought about different simple things we could do and make that could honor the women, and how we could send our love over the ocean through a small, inexpensive–but thoughtful love-infused–gift to lift and raise them in their power.
I visited NOVA’s web site and researched the healers in the film. I was able to locate Ruth Kennedy and get in touch with her to investigate if a kindness creativity project would have any value to the women. This delightful woman guided me to determine our gift and Blessing Bead Bracelets were to be made.
Blessing Beads are what we call paper beads that we’ve made with our hands and with an intention in our heart. Last month the Sacred Kindness Circle made beads that contributed to a growing bead pool.
I got in touch with many friends, put out a notice to my neighbors (some I know and some are new friends) about our intentions and needs for bead donations.
We collected THOUSANDS of beads.
Today, during the IWD event, we strung the beads on stretchy thread, making a simple yet powerful bracelet. Each bracelet was garnished with a personal message from the maker, saying “Gobez” meaning strong and brave one on one side, and makers wrote personal messages in English on the back side.
We made 90 bracelets, meaning that the 65 women who are about to graduate from Grace Village support program will receive a beautiful blessing bracelet on her graduation day. (We also have a few bracelets to gift to a local organization InterACT of Wake County–caring for women recovering from domestic violence).
These bracelets were completely co-created by women and girls across my community who saw an opportunity to reduce another woman’s suffering. This experience has completely flooded my heart, and blown my mind.
When my daughters and I returned from the event today and we gathered all the bracelets made by IWD women and girls: I was overcome with emotion–especially as I thought of all the women and girls who contributed so many different things to the pile of kindness. I’ve been touched by kindness before, but something about this experience literally flooded my being–like a love tsunami, washing over me. I was moved to tears for quite some time, as I allowed the love and collective kindness to permeate my being.
We don’t need money to make a difference. We don’t need anything except to feel compassion and be led to action–from our self and then to expect the same from others.
Through television, I experienced a disturbing situation. I reacted. I googled. I expressed my concern to friends and neighbors …. collected all the supplies and created a sacred space for creating, and LOOK WHAT LOVE and CREATIVE KINDNESS has done!!!!
Now to pack these beautiful blessings up and to get them to the post office destined to celebrate and honor some courageous women in Ethiopia!
Never ever forget the power you (yes YOU) have to make a difference in the world. You can and DO make a difference. Feel, investigate and respond. That’s it! The secret to deep joy in life is reducing someone’s suffering.
in profound gratitude
♥ becky jaine ♥
One thought on “kindness is … responding to suffering”
I love to think of these women, who have been through so much, sliding bracelets around their wrists and knowing people far away are respecting what they have been through and are sending their love.