Let’s make the radical choice to be kind to ourselves.

I love going to pop-up events and markets. Something about the chaos feels familiar to me. Maybe in a past life I packed up my wares and went to market, where I bartered and cajoled with passers by. I simply enjoy the whole experience of meeting people, hearing their questions and watching their expressions. I also learn a lot about myself at these events, because more often than not, people surprise me.

Now that the stage is set, I want to share with you an experience I had at one of these events. The story contains a message about how to use the May You Know Joy and Seeds of Intention cards. It also contains a life lesson that I also need to learn over and over.

At these events, I always have open card decks with me. I invite people to pick a card (some people are too scared but, that’s a blog post for another time). I always learn something from the conversation that ensues.

On this particular day, a woman picked the “may you know nourishment” card and immediately started beating herself up. She told me she has a very bad diet and wasn’t happy with her weight.

At first, I was disappointed. I did not create these cards so that people would get down on themselves. I wanted to say: “When I hand you these cards, I’m not handing you boxing gloves. You’re not allowed to beat yourself up using them!”

As we spoke amidst the flow of people, I realized this woman’s initial reaction is probably a common one. Even I, the creator of these cards and their greatest cheerleader, sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction to a word, an immediate thought that doesn’t benefit me.

But these cards are an opportunity for expansion, even if it’s slight. Pulling a card is a chance to find a moment of relief from the mind’s habitual put-downs, should-dos and must-haves.

I explained to the woman that initial reactions are natural, but that we can go deeper in, beneath the pre-recorded stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. It’s what we hear our hearts whisper after these initial reactions that can create change in our lives.

Let’s decide to be gentle. Let’s decide to be kind. Let’s go exploring. Where is there room in my life for greater nourishment? How can I nourish my body? My mind? My spirit? What small thing can I do today that is nourishing?

The cards are an opportunity for self-love and for self-kindness. They’re ,, Ask yourself: How can I open up to this? How can I create space for this?

I see the need for self-love in myself. A certain e-mail will appear in my inbox, and I assume the worst. My mind applies several worst-case scenarios, and soon I’m stressed. Before I’ve even opened it!

How ridiculous the initial response can be. But what if I went into everything curious? What if I didn’t make assumptions? What if I saw each thing as a possibility and an opportunity for growth?

Easier said that done, I know. But, try it! Be curious. Be kind. Love yourself. Create room for possibility.

It’s definitely a practice. Developing the joy habit certainly doesn’t happen overnight and all at once. But for one moment in the day, when you’re pulling a card and responding to it, you can try out a new way of thinking. Over time, the new way will become the new normal.