Developing kindness

Kristina Cavit


 NOTE: This transcript may have been automatically generated using software and, as such, may not be completely accurate.

Well, thank you to everyone who has arrived here in this room. My name is Steve Hickman. I’m a clinical psychologist and I’m the chief operating officer of the Global Compassion Coalition. And we’re happy to be offering this first of a whole series of monthly opportunities to practice compassion being led by some amazing people connected to our coalition around the world. If you’re not already a member of the coalition, we’d be happy to have you. It’s free to join you can simply go to our website at global compassion and sign up. But we can put all that aside for now and to settle into letting go of some thinking and planning and clicking and joining and simply be present in the presence of my new dear friend Christina Kavit, Kavit and her colleague who I will hand things over to to take us through this What will be a monthly opportunity to practice together? So Christina, that’s all yours.

Kia ora Steve, thank you for the introduction. Kia ora tatou. No tamaki makaurau aho. He whangaai aho. Kaori o itte morhi o i toku bakapapa. He kaiwhaka haide at the kindness institute. And he mama aho. So that’s just a greeting. And Te Reo Māori, I’m from Aotearoa, New Zealand, saying a bit about where I’m from and a bit of my background. And I’m so honored to lead this practice session with the Global Compassion Coalition, who are big fans of, and here is my friend and colleague, Christine Russell. Christine is one of the graduates from our program at the Kindness Institute.

So I founded the Kindness Institute here in Aotearoa, where we support young people, particularly Rangatahi Māori, Māori youth and Pacific youth to support their own their mental health and well-being. And we do that through a whole lot of kindness and compassion and mindfulness. So Prosteen, since she was 16 years old, has been giving up her weekends and every kind of free moment she has to come and practice meditation and yoga and really well-being practices with us. And now she’s become a mentor to younger children and now she’s full-time working with us, going around the community, around the country, teaching other young people and Māori communities to support their own wellbeing. So she’s a real example of kindness and I’m so excited for her to share some of her beautiful tape on Motito on Māori meditation. We were going to have one of our young people found on me here today, but she’s actually stuck in the flooding that we’re having here in Auckland. So we’re really excited to have Christine and some of our other young people will be joining us at the end if you have any questions for them. So I’ll hand over to Christine to introduce herself.

Kia ora greetings everyone. I’m going to do greeting, which is an indigenous interaction for Māori people, which is called Pepahā. So kumanga pēko te manga kārādā ngādāwā kōfūro kōfūwaka and that’s kōfūri te iwi kōmei la rāwa, called [INAUDIBLE] because [INAUDIBLE] give the kindness institute called the facilitator. So my name is Christine. I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. And like Christine mentioned, I’m facilitator in youth mental kindness institute. And I’ve been a part of this program for several years now. I started attending when I was 16, and it has been a transformative journey for me. The Kindness Institute has provided me with valuable tools and practices to support my own well-being and mental health. Now, as a mentor and facilitator, I have the opportunity to share these practices with other young people and communities, particularly focusing on Māori communities. It’s an incredible privilege, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here today to share some insights on Māori meditation, known as Motito.

Kia ora greetings everyone. I’m going to do greeting, which is an indigenous interaction for Māori people, which is called Pepahā. So kumanga pēko te manga kārādā ngādāwā kōfūro kōfūwaka and that’s kōfūri te iwi kōmei la rāwa, called [INAUDIBLE] because [INAUDIBLE] give the kindness institute called the facilitator. So my name is Christine. I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. And like Christine mentioned, I’m facilitator in youth mental kindness institute. And I’ve been a part of this program for, I think, nearly five years now, which didn’t feel quite long, but saying that loud. It’s quite long. Been involved since my second to last year of high school. And yeah, over the course of this co-copper learning and experience and talk a lot of people, my family, but just also people out in the community. It’s been a fun time.

So before we get into our kindness practice, I’ll just share a little bit about our co-copper which is our project or our campaign, what we do down here in our Thulewone New Zealand. So as I mentioned, we support rangatahi, mostly young people. They come and join our program. It’s quite an intensive program where they work with us from a minimum of six months to a year where we really support their own development and growth. And, you know, we recognize that we get taught all sorts of amazing stuff in school, but often we miss out on that most important lesson, how to deal with life when things get hard. So that’s what we’re sharing and learning together and doing it from a Tal Maori perspective. So a lot of our young people speak fluent Maori and actually help us learn about Tal Maori and Maori culture and how we can weave that into mindfulness because we see the two work so beautifully together. And we’ve had some amazing outcomes of our program with a 12% decrease in anxiety, also decreased in depression, similar increases in empathy, compassion, cultural connection and mindfulness. So we’re really excited to keep going, to keep supporting more young people throughout the country and throughout the world. We also run trainings and yeah, our main mission really is to spread kindness. So that’s why we’re so excited about the Global Compassion Coalition ’cause we’re all aligned so well together. And we really see kindness as action, as taking action down here in Aotearoa, and that’s exactly what the Global Compassion Coalition are doing. And we’ve seen a lot of that here in Aotearoa, just to me, just to thank and acknowledge all the people here in New Zealand who’ve been really suffering over the last few days with some significant flooding. Some members of our community, whanau, family, and friends have lost their homes. So we’re really extending Aducha, which is kindness and love to all of those who’ve been impacted by the flooding. And we’re thanking the gods that we made it here today to support you in this practice.

So today, Christine’s gonna guide us through two short practices, one to open. I’ll do one in the middle where we’re gonna cultivate a sense of adhuha kindness towards ourselves and to others and uplifting practice. And then we’ll wrap up with another short practice and karakya, kind of like a Māori blessing from Christine. and then we’ll have some time for any questions or sharing as we go out and we hope this will be a really rejuvinating.

So I’ll hand over to Ehoa Prasim.

So I’m gonna start us off with the karakia, which is a blessing to me and Te Reo Māori and then I will translate into Te O Pa Ke so English. So we’re ready, (speaking in foreign language) [Speaking in foreign language] And a translation for that karakia simply means, “I summon from above, I summon from below, I summon from within, and I summon my surroundings. Let the vitality, energy and well-being in us all be find, be fixed and unified in this intention, was a beautiful way to start off a session as a way to just connect to ourselves, to our surroundings, wherever you are, and to just send attention to come back into the business moment and connect to that.

So I’m gonna guide you all through a short practice here, just a way to reconnect with ourselves, wherever you are. And if it feels comfortable to you, I invite you to close the eyes, so kathya or vatu. Taking a moment to connect to toha, your breath. Aakina, let’s breathe in. Ha, put the, let’s breathe out. Kathya or vatu. So if you haven’t already closing them the eyes, it feels comfortable. If not, by dinner, then it’s okay. You can find a spot on the ground to focus on. (speaking in foreign language) Relaxing the hands, whatever they are, and whatever they feel comfortable to you. Relaxing the shoulders, allowing them to drop, pull away from the ears. Hototika. Make it so, you’re sitting up nice and straight, elongate the spine, just a real alert here. And then again, Onagaki Toha, connecting to your breath. breathing in, parking up, breathing out, half. Breathing in, parking up. And breathing out, half. We’re just going to do a few rounds of breath here, your own pace.

Akina. We then belly rises. Without the belly falls. Akina. We then belly rises. air, balloon, then half breath out, force, arcana, arcana, breath in, half breath out, this time as you breath out, relaxing throughout the your body, breathing at your own pace here, shifting your uddle of focus to the surroundings around you, perhaps tuning into any sounds you may hear in the room that you are in, or perhaps tuning into sounds you may hear outside of the room. All we are doing here is just noticing. Noticing sounds without any judgment is no right or wrong sound you should be hearing in this moment. turning in with the center of touch noticing that kakuru, the clothes on your tinnana, the clothes on your body to some parts feel quite rough or soft perhaps just take notice of the temperature of the room or whatever you are and how that feels on your skin. Because it’s warm, coval. Simply noticing and then letting that go, like attaching to that. Wherever you are, I invite you to shift your outer focus and with checking in with yourself today if you have not already. I cannot breathe in. I put that breath out. Noticing the quality of your mood, your energy levels. How are you feeling in this moment? I’m just noticing that without any judgment, compassion, or curiosity. Noticing the quality of the mind, How does the mind feel in this moment? Does it feel quite busy or perhaps opposite?

Maybe you feel a sense of calm. Breathe in, half of the breath out. It’s really taking this time now to arrive here and this moment to this session, just closing off a sense of gratitude and gratitude to all of yourself for showing up to this practice, to this session, acknowledging all that you to be here in this moment, connecting to your heart center and we’re just going to close off all together with three deep and cleansing breaths. So exhale fully wherever you are. Parking up, breathe in, I’m calm, I’ll put up without, I’m relaxed, I’m safe parking up, breathe in, half of the breathing out, it’s my last one, parking up, and half with the, you’re returning back to your natural breath, no special real breathing.

Noticing how you feel begin to bring back gentle movements into the body, into the tinnana, perhaps wiggling the toes, fingertips. And when you are really taking your time, no rush. Gently come back into the space. You can do this by gently making open your eyes after walking over to the back of the space. Just taking a moment for yourself here. I’m going to pass it over to Christina.

Thank you Christine for that grounding practice. Very relaxing, I hope that you all feel similar. Just a quick courted or a quick talk before we get into our next practice. We wanted to talk to you about adoha and what that word means here and how we try to embody adoha love and compassion in our lives, but starting with our meditation practice. So Christine do you want to tell us about what it means to you adoha?

Yeah so adoha is a kūpumārī, a te rao Māori word and when you break down the word adoha, adoh means to focus heart is breath and I find that it’s a special way to connect with Aduha in your practices, not only because you are trying your best to be focused on whatever it is you are trying to connect to but also connecting with our breath which we know and hello kids all the time it’s our superpower and it’s something that no one can take away from you in a great way to cultivate a sense of calm And when you need energy and it’s a great way to connect to the present moment, I find one of the quickest ways to connect to the present moment is to connect to our breathing and taking notice of how we’re breathing. And you put the two words together, adhoha means love and means compassion and to bring a sense of adhoha into all of our practice into question everyday life. just really helps you open up and be more accepting and more willing to get into the practice in the first place. But yeah, watch your ‘Pakado’ on the kūpura. Kia ora.

I think I am always kind of stopped in my tracks when I remind myself that the word adokha, the word for love, kindness and compassion is made up of focus on teha, focus on the breath. And that I think is how we come to that place of love within ourselves by starting to focus on our breath and calm our nervous system. And before we go into this next practice, I just want to set intention with our Ropu, with our team here, our group today, that we take that sense of non-judgment to our own practice, right? Because when we are judging our experience being hard on ourselves it’s very common and we can get really good at it. We all have these deep habits of not feeling we’re good enough in some way or you know maybe for us at the moment that we haven’t done enough because there’s so much going on in Aotearoa and within the world, and I really believe that the best way we can make change is starting with ourselves. We need to give that sense of kindness and fill our own cups so that we can then go out and support our community. So I believe what we’re all doing here today is actually about being better for our community, for our family, for our country, and for our world.

So I really think as we go in this practice, we know that the good news is we can develop kindness, we can develop self-compassion. We know from Rick Hanson’s work, we can all grow the good. Rick, who founded this amazing organization, we actually use a lot of his work down here at the kindness of two.

So as we go through this practice, I just rarely invite us to have that intention of not judging our experience, knowing that we can’t get it wrong. We can’t be bad at meditation and to bring in that sense of softness in each moment as best we can. And if we get into judgment, KT Pi, that’s all good. We come back, we begin again. So let’s give it a go.

This practice we’re going to send kindness to ourselves through our heart, our breath, and then we’re going to send kindness to others in our lives and come back to ourselves towards the end. So just get comfy wherever you are. Take a moment to soften down through the shoulders, soften down through the hand, relaxing your legs and feet. And if you like, you might want to close down your eyes and just having a scent of your feet maybe connected with the ground and going underneath that to the earth, mother earth which we call Papatuanuku supporting you today. Everything here to support you in this moment.

Taking the time to gently scan up the body, softening the muscles as we go, beginning in the feet, softening and relaxing the feet, the legs, the calves, and the shin. Softening and relaxing the thighs, the sit bones, softening and relaxing any tension in the puku, the belly, softening and relaxing through your chest. Moving to your lower back, your mid back, and your upper back. Softening through the body, relaxing through the whole back.

Taking your time to scan up the arms, starting in the fingers. Slowly moving up the arms, softening all the muscle that you go, softening and relaxing through the neck and the throat, softening and relaxing through the back of the head, the crown of the head, moving to the forehead, softening and relaxing through the forehead, the eyes, the nose, the cheeks, softening and relaxing through the mouth and the jaw. Taking a moment to notice any areas of tension in your tīnana, your body. See if you can send a sense of softening and ease to that part of your body. Really allowing all the muscles in your body to relax deeper and deeper. Really allow this to be a nourishing time for your body and for your mind.

We’re all here because we share the intention of having a more compassionate world, and we know that starts with us, within. So today, we’re going to send kindness to ourselves and to all those around us. Noticing your own heart, your own breath, the gentle rise and falling sensation of your breath. Noticing the gift of your breath. Without having to do anything, our body breathes for us. Ha, kina, breathing in. Ha putsa,.

I invite you now to bring to mind someone who the moment you think of them, you feel happy, safe or at ease. Someone who brings a sense of joy or calm to you. It might be a friend, someone in your family, It may be a child, an animal or even a pet. Bring that person or animal to mind now. See their face. Imagine them here in front of you. how you feel when you have this person in mind. Maybe there’s a slight smile. Maybe there’s a sense of warmth through the body. A sense of relaxing.

With this person in mind, we’re going to begin to wish them well. Take a moment to say whatever feels meaningful to you, whatever you wish for this person. And if you like, you can follow my voice, repeating these phrases in your mind. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be safe. May you become and filled with ease. May you fully love and accept yourself. May you be filled with gratitude. May your heart be filled with peace. May you be filled with adho haa, with love, kindness, and compassion. May you be filled with adho haa.

You may choose to join me and take one hand to your heart to can help to strengthen the connection of adulha, of kindness, calm, and ease. Seeing this person’s face in front of you again, noticing how you feel within here. have a sense of wishing them well, standing that adho haa from your nāko, your heart space to them. Haa kinna breathing in. Haa putta breathing out.

Now I invite you when you’re ready in your own time to bring to mind another person in your life who you love who fills you with the sense of happiness, safety or ease. And imagine them here. Imagine their face here in front of you. Notice how you feel. Begin to wish this person well. Saying whatever feels meaningful to you. Having the sense of Aduha from your heart, moving to their heart, filling them up with kindness and ease. May you be filled with love. May you have a peaceful heart.

And now I invite you to grow a circle of Aruka around you, keeping these two people here by your side. Take in any of your loved ones who bring you a sense of joy, safety, or ease. See their faces surrounding you in a circle now. Moving through their face one by one, each loved one in this moment. You might invite in the people you live with, family or friends, animals, children. You might invite your tupuna, your ancestors. You may know what they look like, and you may not. Kte pai, that’s fine. Just having a sense, a feeling of your tupuna, of your ancestors here in the circle around you, supporting you and guiding you. Ha, kina breathing in. Ha, putta breathing out.

Feel this whole circle of loved ones, of ancestors around you and by your side strengthening you and guiding you. Everywhere you go, we begin to wish them all well, thanking them for their adoha, for their love and support. Wishing them all well, sending adoha and love to our whole circle in this moment, saying whatever feels meaningful to you or following my voice and repeating the phrases. May you all be happy. May you all be healthy. May you all be safe. May you all be filled with calm and ease. May you all love and accept yourself just as you are. May you all be filled with peace. May you all be filled with adho ha. Ha kina. Ha pitta. Breathing in and out.

That the circle of Aduha is always here for you. These loved ones and ancestors are always guiding you and this feeling of Aduha, of love was created by you and you can access it at any moment. Haa kina breathing in, Haa Putta breathing out.

Now I invite you to send the same adhuha towards yourself, knowing that we cannot give it to others until we give that sense of kindness to ourselves first. Again, you may like to have one hand to heart. You may even like to give yourself an affi, a hug, or just have a sense of yourself. We’re going to repeat these phrases in our minds. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I be filled with gratitude. May I have a peaceful heart. May I fully love and accept myself just as I am. May I be filled with aroha, love, kindness, and compassion. May I be filled with Aroha. Ha Kina, Ha Putha. Breathing in and out.

Having a sense of softening through your whole heart space, relaxing through the whole heart, expanding out the whole chest now, softening and relaxing the chest. Setting an intention today to allow more kindness into your heart. Haa Kena, Haa Putha. Maybe relaxing your hand if that feels good to you. Scanning down the body one last time. Softening all the muscles in the body. Kia tō te tinana. Kia tō te wairua. Kia tō te nāko. The body softens. The spirit softens and the heart softens. Relaxing the muscles in your face. Your whole back, arms, chest, and belly. Softening and relaxing through the feet and the legs, feeling the feet, grounding, the ground underneath and the earth underneath that, having a sense of Papatuanuku, Mother Earth, guiding and supporting you in all that you do today. Mōdi orte te farmo.

When you’re ready, you can gently bring some movement back into the tēnana if you like, like a gentle swaying, the movement of the ankles or the wrists, staying here as long as you like, otherwise opening your eyes when you’re ready, coming back into the space. Kyo-Dead said, “Banla, thank you everyone for that.” As you go on your day, just hope you can remember that there is no small act of kindness. Every act of kindness has a ripple effect. And although we might not all have a lot of time or resource on our side, we do all have this ability to let in a little more kindness and softness. So kia ora tatou.

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