“My mission is to show others who are suffering with chronic illness that they can live a meaningful, purposeful life.”
- Tae Lynne
“It became an eight month journey of getting out of bed, going to a doctor's appointment, or having blood work done, and trying to figure out what was going on with my body,” Tae Lynne, the Kindness Junkie, shared with me in our interview. “It's a diagnosis of exclusion. That's what they call it.”
Tae used to be a Type-A, vivacious woman dedicated to her career, volunteering at animal adoption locations and with the elderly. Running, canoeing, exercising, and reading filled her waking hours when she wasn't at the office. Everything changed in 2009 at the age of forty-four.
“I figured it was the flu...and it would pass in time. I was wrong.” Eventually she was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, severe fibromyalgia, migraines, gastroparesis, congenital kidney issues, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and
Life shifted into an existence of spending the majority of it asleep. Doctors told her they could ease her symptoms; however, she would never be cured. She was devastated. Depressed, on disability, and feeling alone in her chronic illnesses, Tae was at a loss and felt she had no purpose and no reason to exist. In her mind, she was a failure.
In the darkness of nightfall, crying and consumed with felt she had no purpose and no reason to exist. In her mind, she was a failure.
In the darkness of nightfall, crying and consumed with despair from years of being debilitated, she heard a feminine voice say, “You're loveable as you are. You are kind. You are compassionate. You're giving. That's what you're here to do. Go out and spread that message.”
A sensation of calm and peace that she hadn't felt in years encompassed her. Looking back, she knows it was a pivotal moment. She once again felt that she had a purpose: to share kindness.
Tae made a conscious effort to brighten the mood of at least one person each day. She expressed a genuine interest in the individuals she came into contact with, knowing that people want to feel acknowledged and that they matter to someone. She started practicing simple interactions - like asking the stranger in the grocery store aisle, the pharmacist, cashiers, the receptionist at the doctor's office, “How is your day going?” She began to connect with the world outside of her pain, and in so doing, ‘relieved’ some of it.
Prior to Tae's diagnosis, she was in the process of changing careers and attaining a certification in Gerontology. Once her symptoms began to affect her daily routine, it became increasingly difficult to continue as a volunteer at the animal adoption center and assisting the elderly. Tae was no longer physically able to actively participate in the future she had envisioned.
In 2011, Tae’s desire to help the elderly during their time of transition encouraged her to earn certification as a Hospice volunteer. Scheduled for one to two hours a week to meet and sit with a patient was not only beneficial to the caregiver, Tae felt better about her situation.
Postponed appointments and the inability to get out of bed proved to be too difficult to maintain her patient-care commitments. Again, Tae had to adjust to the limitations of her body. Determined to be of service, she trained with Hospice to do follow-up calls from her home (at times from her bed) to grieving loved ones after a Hospice patient passed away.
For those unable to leave their home due to various reasons (ie: chronic illness, cancer, injuries), especially if you live alone, depression and anxiety often times set in. “Life can become bleak when you're laying there day after day thinking what can I do, what do I have to contribute to society?” Tae stated.
Tae found a connection with the teachings of Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and other individuals sharing the concepts of Law of Attraction. Making positive affirmations made a difference, and it anchored the impact that practicing acts of kindness had on herself and on others. The transformation from merely existing in a continuous state of fatigue and despair into a life of purposeful meaning took years of dedication. The daily commitment of writing journal entries recorded her acts of kindness and validated the perception that good things surround us when they are sought out.
It didn’t take long once Tae decided to expand her reach to individuals in similar situations. She established the 60 Seconds to Kindness Facebook fan page in April of 2015, along with other social media outlets, and focused on posting messages of kindness. In July, Tae wrote and recorded the voiceover for her YouTube video titled, “Kindness Changes Lives.” A month later she founded 60SecondsToKindness.com to write about her journey of living with chronic illnesses with the intent to give others hope.
Take a moment to explore www.60SecondsToKindness.com. You will find a wealth of information including the ebook Tae created entitled “Ten Simple Ways To Make A Difference” (free download on her website). It’s a guide offering practical tips on ways to implement kindness into our daily lives. Personally, I would like to congratulate Tae. Her “Green Smoothies to the Rescue” is scheduled for release on July 26th and “Color The World with Kindness: 50 Ways to Brighten Someone's Day” (Balboa Press) will be available for purchase late this fall. Tae is also a co-author in two collaborative books: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul (November 2015), and 365 Moments of Grace (June 2016).
Her message is clear: Being a “kindness junkie” isn't just for those who are chronically ill. It is for everyone wanting to make a difference and change the world one act of kindness at a time.
Cindy (C.K.) Kochis is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who transformed her coaching practice as the foundation of Elements For A Healthier Life. She is providing a community space for people to share their personal stories, professional knowledge and healthy eating options. Cindy is a coach, virtual assistant, author, grandmother and sassy redhead. She self-published “Get A Compass Not A Clock” and “Unleash Your Inner Story”. For more information about Cindy’s services, visit ckkochis.com.
This article was originally published in the July 2016 edition of Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine.
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