The week 2 prompt of the Kindness Challenge issued by Niki of The Richness of a Simple Life was:
Observe the kindness around you.
There’s so much kindness in our world. There really is. I think we’re often discouraged from seeing it because somewhere along the line we made a collective decision that focusing on fear and lack and meanness was a lens that somehow served us. Certainly our news skews in that direction, and as we become ever-increasingly plugged into that matrix 24/7, we’re basically steeping in energy that says we live in an unkind world and everyone is out to harm or take advantage of us.
I don’t believe that though.
It’s true I feel very blessed. I live a mostly quiet and gentle life, and kindness is a frequent visitor. I am grateful for this. But I also believe we have considerable power in shaping what we’re touched by. I hold what I consider to be pretty healthy boundaries. If you’re mean, you’re not welcome in my personal world and I don’t feel obligated to have a relationship with you. I limit my exposure to news from sources I consider toxic. I do my best to monitor my energy and vibration and course correct as I’m able.
The world is not always a beautiful place – don’t misunderstand me and write me off as a Pollyanna. There is pain and sadness and inequity and there is much, much, much that needs and should be done to rectify things. But I do know life is better when we keep our hearts and eyes open to the genuine kindnesses that are there. They are a balm that soothes and helps keep us able to return back into service and our commitment to be a positive force in the world instead of contributing to hardship and separation and hurt.
I saw all sorts of demonstrations of kindness all around me this week. And the best part? I think noticing them and being appreciative ramps up the positive energy and helps it linger longer. It delights me to think that there are dozens of us participating in this simple challenge of paying conscious attention to the kindnesses we see all around us.
While most of the kindnesses we see and experience are small and simple things, I suspect we’ve all be recipients of kindness that is profound and we can hold in our hearts forever. Although all these things happened in the past, I will never forget the nurse who came to sit with me when I first understood someone I loved was dying. Or the gallery owner who gently mentored me when I was barely able to call myself an artist. Or the stranger on the train who first modeled for me behavior that helped me learn to speak up for my rights when I was too young to know how to do it. There have been countless others who have blessed me, and I think we all have the potential to do that as well. So let’s never underestimate the power of kindness, nor dismiss how much it adds to the joy quotient in the world that vastly needs more joy.
I encourage you to take a moment and read this poem, In Praise of Small Kindnesses by Siri Liv Myhrom.
Doesn’t that inspire you to be in the world a bit differently? With a bit more kindness, a bit more compassion, a bit more love?