“I’ve had a lot of clouds. But I’ve had a lot of rainbows in my clouds.”
You want to grow your courage, confidence and presence? Maya Angelou suggests a practice that does just that. In a Youtube video she talks about how, when she had to go on stage or do something challenging, she brought with her everyone who had ever been kind to her. They gave her the strength and support she needed.
After seeing this video, I started collecting memories of people who’d been kind to me.
- Just last week, Scott, a customer service rep for Quickbooks took my frustration seriously, stayed with me, and totally solved my tax prep problem….so patiently.
It became almost a game! There are too many to count!
- Ray Miller, my boss 40 years ago, paid my full salary for 10 weeks while I had mononucleosis and was unable to work. For a single parent with two kids, this was huge!
I looked for unlikely kindnesses.
- For years I focused on the thoughtless things Roger, my ex-husband, had done. Now I remember a time he drove many miles, without being asked, to check on something that mattered to me. So kind.
I began to think of strangers I could take with me.
- When my late husband Hal was in a wheelchair, countless strangers opened doors, or helped him up. Many women in public restrooms assessed the situation quickly when I wheeled Hal into a ladies’ room….smiling and helping me in what could have been an uncomfortable situation.
There truly are too many kind people to count.
- When I had cancer, my daughter Lisa flew here for my surgery, my then 13 year old granddaughter Ruthie came for a month and helped me out of bed, cheering me on when I had to give myself shots, and my son Gordon and friend Dona orchestrated and entertained me through chemo.
So many, many kind people. Isn’t it sad that we often focus on the times we’ve been slighted, when these moments of kindness are so close?
Maya Angelou’s practice is empowering. Call on those people who’ve been kind to us when we need strength, courage, confidence. This help is always available. Just as people who have passed away live in us, so do the people who have been kind. It is a bolstering treasure each of us carries inside.
Besides, as Maya Angelou suggests, bringing all these people with us prepares us to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. To be a blessing to somebody. Truly, there is no greater satisfaction.
- Collect memories and current happenings of people who are kind to you.
- Write them down.
- Revel in the reality of these people in your life.
- Take the kind ones with you when facing any challenge.
- Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.