Michael J. Chase is known as "The Kindness Guy." As the founder of The Kindness Center, based in Maine, Chase is an inspirational speaker and author of am I being kind, available at TheKindnessCenter.com. The book has a 100 percent life back guarantee: if it doesn't change your life, you get your old life back, no questions asked. This may be frivolous book jacket fluff but there really are undeniable benefits to a life of kindness and Chase offers a dynamic and easily accessible means of exploring how to choose this way of living.
am I being kind outlines seven personal choices at the heart of Chase's "Livingkindness" philosophy. The choices are no-brainers when simplified thusly: personal responsibility or victimhood, forgiveness or resentment, wellness or abuse, dream big or settle, a life of purpose or life without meaning, positive relationships or energy vampires and a life of kindness or unkindness.
With resolve, these choices are preparation for Chase's five keys to happiness: awareness of thoughts, words and actions, asking yourself throughout the day "am I being kind?" adopting the Livingkindness philosophy; applying the nine elements of a kind heart, and action: performing acts of kindness, particularly spontaneous acts, if not random ones.
The nine elements of a kind heart: attentive, authentic, charitable, compassionate, courageous, enthusiastic, grateful, inspirational, patient. Chase doesn't expect us to be saints, encouraging us simply to be this way in the future more than in the past. His test for answering the question, "am I being kind?" is whether he'd want his child to behave as he is in that moment.
Presenting stories of his own imperfect self and spiritual evolution as context, Chase delivers a simple and digestible message influenced by the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Buddha and Christ (among others), without being cerebral, esoteric or religious. Self-help books tend to reformulate familiar concepts and any given volume may be more or less likely to resonate based on your current position along your own path.
It is not new, for example, to suggest, "Our reason for being is this: service, making a positive contribution, and bringing joy to the lives of others." For me this bridges a gap between attitude and action, advancing my aspiration toward pronoia: the belief the universe is conspiring on our behalf. Rob Brezsny's book, Pronoia, brought me this concept and inspired my own mantra "live to love as much as possible."
Chase brings this home by replacing the typical positive/negative paradigm with a dichotomy of kindness/unkindness, including toward the self. Beyond viewing kindness as the pathway to happiness, he calls it "the vehicle for delivering unconditional love" and "the creative distribution of love." What a great way to proactively bring intention closer to manifested reality.