Choosing Ways to Support Another

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.

—Kahil Gibran

When a good friend of mine and yoga teacher received a cancer diagnosis, I found myself struggling with the ways I wanted to respond to this new challenging reality. I grieved the end of the 10 years of the almost every Wednesday evening ritual of attending her yoga class and worked to process the shock of her diagnosis knowing my reactions paled in comparison to her harder, scarier, courageous road ahead.

She had dedicated herself to teaching, to working with us individually, and as a group. Kimm brought a gentleness mixed with a firm, flexible spine, new learnings from recent trainings she attended, and a wonderful sense of humor to our class. We had bonded with her in much joy and appreciation. Several of my classmates had actively participated in the preparations for her second wedding to a wonderful and loving man. I didn’t consider myself one of her closest friends, but definitely a good friend.

We met when her daughter and my son attended the same kindergarten class. For such a petite person, she stood erect with enviable posture and a radiant, loving presence. Her smile and laugh could fill an entire room with warmth. I quickly learned that she taught yoga classes. Up to that point I had been a yogi dabbler.

In the aftermath of Kimm’s diagnosis and my confusion about how to be supportive, I called a really close friend. In the space of our conversation, I realized that I could send Kimm notes and cards. When I recognized that I could choose a slightly different expression (no casserole deliveries or walking of her dog or being with her during chemo treatments) and one aligned with ease and joy, I became unburdened by what felt like a looming guilt attack or the unthinkable choice of not doing anything.

With much passion, I mailed beautiful cards and notes to Kimm. As a weekly ritual, I enjoyed writing these notes of happy news and finding a fun, colorful, sometimes humorous card. I consistently included good wishes and love.

One day she called to thank me for these notes that I’d been mailing her. We had such a wonderful conversation that only briefly touched on her cancer journey. We shared about our children one mom to another mom. I shared about training for a half marathon and how I still did the “rolling bug” movement she had taught us in class. Our conversation helped me realize that she had not become cancer. A disease had invaded her body. I also wondered where in the world I had latched onto a belief that people become their illness. Kimm remained my friend, a devoted mother, and wife, an exceptional woman. She continued to be multi-dimensional, loving Kimm.

When she and her family relocated to a condo, I joined a team of people in packing, driving unwanted magazines to yoga studios, libraries, and unloading items into their new home. I continued mailing cards and notes. When I learned from a mutual friend that her situation had taken a hard turn with a tumbling fall down that dark shadowed path, I took her food, greeted the hospice person, and helped Kimm eat the food she had specifically requested. While her body had completely altered, her spirit, her twinkling eyes remained those of my dear friend. In many ways, our final conversation felt quite ordinary in that we talked about our teen children. Her daughter and my son share similar “old soul wisdom” and both were navigating different challenges. I shared briefly about the concluding stages of my divorce and how my daughter thrived in college. I let her know how much I loved her, admired her, cherished her. She let me know she loved me too.

I wept the entire drive home.

When her husband called a few weeks later, he asked if I would read “What I Love about Kimm” at her celebration of life. He shared that she had specifically asked that these words be read at her service. I took a breath as I had forgotten, then quickly remembered writing this for her to celebrate Valentine’s Day. With a choked voice I said, “Of course. I’d be honored.”

Staying connected to a friend who’s going through a challenge can sometimes be tough because we may not know immediately the actions we want to take or have the time to take.

What can we handle in our hearts and stomachs? While some situations appear to reveal a “no brainer” path, other situations do not reveal obvious choices. I know a beloved husband who couldn’t take his wife for chemo treatments, but a woman friend of theirs could. He supported his wife in all kinds of other meaningful ways.

We often place expectations on ourselves that may or may not match our capacities. All of us are vulnerable and strong in different ways. Often there are no right ways or wrong ways, there’s simply the unexpected ways, the adapting ways, and the accepting ways. Expressing love overrides worn-out rules or expectations.

I have not ever regretted what I have done for love from that expanded place in the heart. Only you know what this is, where it is, and the ways you can express the love that’s there, and it can be as simple as a heartfelt prayer or a silent wave of loving energy sent through the ethers. Love always finds a way to love.



Four out of Seventeen

  • Your voice—speaking, chanting, singing, laughing. After almost 10 years of classes with you, I can access your fabulous voice in my head at will and find gentle guidance, coaching, and love.
  • Your beauty that shines from your whole self.
  • Your smile, laugh, twinkle in your eye.
  • All our conversations after class, on the phone…knowing I can share pieces of my life with you in honest ways. Your ability to listen and share with such compassion, honesty, and presence.  How safe and comforting it is to be with you and talk with you.



Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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    • Thank you so much, Lynn, for your observation about the soul of my writing- as it took me years to see this sweetness. I had been confused and sometimes believed other important people’s distorted perceptions of me. I honor my dad and my Grandma Hope for being people in my life who embodied the gentleness and kindness of souls which allowed safe haven for my own. I appreciate your kind words very much and suspect these words were written from your sweet soul to mine. Thank you. Hugs.

  1. Deeply touched. Thank you for sharing your heart, your vulnerability with us. You open possibilities that keep us in integrity with ourselves. These words especially spoke to me: “Often there are no right ways or wrong ways, there’s simply the unexpected ways, the adapting ways, and the accepting ways. Expressing love overrides worn-out rules or expectations.” I love the openness and fluidity they invite.

    • Thank you so much for your kind reflections, Vicki. I’m grateful to know that the different ways-especially expressing love ideas resonated with you. So often we place ourselves in some kind of either – or rock in a hard place not realizing there can be all kinds of possibilities. I really appreciate your thoughts and the time you’ve taken to read and offer them. Grateful. Be well.

  2. Oh Laura, thank you for sharing this piece of your life. You are such a wonderful friend and writer. Kimm was as lucky to have you and you to have her.

    Your words touched her so much that she wanted them to be read at her service. You described her in a way that made her feel understood, loved and valued. You did exactly what you wanted to do. Comfort her in a time that comfort wasn’t readily accessible.

    I love how you mention knowing that she was more than her diagnosis. She was still Kimm, she just drew a bad hand. She loved that you realized that as well.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your story.

    • Thank you for all these kind and heartfelt reflections, JoAnna. Kimm lives in my heart every single day. We don’t know what’s going to take us out of the movie, but we have choices about how we love and care for one another as the scenes of life unfold. I appreciate you so very much-and all you’ve offered here.

    • Thank you, Laurie! Freeing ourselves to love people in unique and multiple ways can create an enduring shift-a wave of energy, no matter what life throws at us. I appreciate your comments very much. Some people die without ever really knowing or realizing how deeply they were loved. Kimm was fortunate to know how loved she was and still is.

  3. Oh Laura, this is just beautiful! You filled my heart in more ways than I can express. What a wonderful gesture of love and kindness to send her cards (in a world that all that shows up in the mail these days are bills and junk mail that must have been such a treat!). In writing this piece you have kept her spirit alive – I feel as if I almost know the beautiful woman she was.

    • Thank you, Kimberly. Kimm really was a special human being who I miss a great deal and yet, she’s with me every time I do some yoga poses. Some people stay connected to our very essence even though they have died. I appreciate all your reflections here very much. I appreciate you, my friend. I hope you enjoy #NLV this weekend! 🙂

  4. Laura as always, you show how “real” and “comforting” you are. You remain yourself – such a giving and loving human being full of kindness. I am so happy to have met you but miss seeing you around and having such excellent conversations with you.

    • Thank you so much from my heart to yours, Larry. Your kind words bring tears to my eyes, a lump to my throat. Grateful.

    • Thank you so much for such a kind affirmations, Myriam. You are completely welcome. From my heart to yours.

    • You need to understand that what I am seeing in your words is way beyond the story itself! I am seeing a soul who has learned to free herself from the self-absorption pattern which can only move me to my core…

      Why? Because I’m not seeing that many people who have succeeded in re-writing their invasive subconscious program to make it possible in the first place…

      This makes me think of some story I shared about a coronavirus ridicilous incident a few days ago.

      We’re in Europe in a public train. A woman approches 3 chinese young people and abuses them verbally.

      She doesn’t stop accusing them of bringing the virus and asks them to go back to their country.

      One of them (the girl) answers her calmly in her language, and she was even speaking it better than her…

      Because the insane woman doesn’t stop anyway, the 3 young people leave the train the next station.

      That’s when many passengers started talking to the racist woman… It was too late 😖😣😤😩

      I’m pretty sure you would have stood by their side with all your forces from the very first moment of the agression 💙

    • Oh, Myriam, I completely see this in myself, the shift to that place of non-threatened compassion for other people-as I see myself in everyone I meet. Yes, please know that I would likely have interacted with the terrified abusive woman as I have done this in my life several times from a place of deep love, compassion, dignity, and empowerment to diffuse the abusive behavior. My childhood “Navy-Seal like training” helped create the woman I am today. Wouldn’t wish that “training” on anyone, but it allows me the courage to intervene, to stand in a place of the transformation of my soul, my being from the inside out. The energy vibration of Love and standing as witness from the Seat of the Soul can often diffuse difficult interactions. Amazing that you saw this about me through this piece of writing. I’m incredibly grateful for that means you have cultivated this same transformation inside of you! Beautiful!!!

    • Yes! Beautifully stated, Susan “the love we share…and the gifts, large and small, that we give and receive.” Thank you for this contribution to the discussion. When we shift to what we can do even if it seems small (and it isn’t) rather than burden ourselves with a list of “should do’s” we free ourselves. Enjoy your day, Susan. I appreciate you.