To open a door, to let someone else cut in line, to pick up something dropped out of the reach of another… these can be huge gifts even though they appear like small kindnesses.
Life is a group participation experience. There are over six billion of us walking around this planet and it seems unreasonable to think we are meant to manage life alone. No one need feel isolated if only we dare to reach out to one another. And yet, connection does little if it remains superficial and meaningless or only practiced if self-serving.
We must dare, not only to connect, but also, in order to have the peace we all long for we must learn to be kind.
But has kindness become obsolete? Have we become too busy and numb that we have forgotten how to be compassionate with one another? Life is messy and now moves at such a hurried pace.
Too many men have forgotten the power that comes from tenderness and slowing to truly listen, and too many women have abandoned their authentic nature to survive in the fast paced and competitive game that has long been played by men. Standing elbow to elbow we have somehow created separation by forgetting that control is an illusion, perfection is fleeting, excellence is possible, and love is the answer to every question.
Maya Angelou, a modern day wise women and poet shares her perspective that “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant!” The curves and angles of our nature have remained at odds and have become harsh and resistant to change. We have forfeited our caring and collaboration in order to conform to the speed of life and meet the expectations imposed by others. When busy on the hamster wheel of life where we appear to be making such good time, it is tempting to not to look beyond our feet to ask ourselves “Where are we going? “What do we really want?” and “Who can we help along the way?” Under this pressure we have gotten distracted, living life from the outside in rather than from our insight-out. Meanwhile, what we focus on expands, and we wonder why life isn’t flowing and we feel empty and alone.
There is a growing sense that something has to give. It is time to imagine new possibilities and to blend the paradigms in a fresh and mutually wonderful way. The hard edge of dominance and pressure we have created no longer serves us. We hear the whisper, the ache, calling to redesign our way of being with one another in a more joyful way, reclaim our authentic voice, and reshape our compassionate nature in order to make the difference that is longed for in this hurting world.
is not always easy, and yet essential to our peace. We must learn to trust ourselves again, treat one another with respect, and realize the potential that can be born from a sense of ‘power-with’ rather than ‘power over’. It is women who by nature tend and befriend to manage stress and who know that force is not necessary in order make our way through life.
It is men who are not fully given permission to let this gentle side of them be revealed. Now it seems we are called to embrace and allow new possibilities to emerge. It is by stretching to stand in the shoes of another feeling what they feel from their perspective and by listening beyond their words without judgment that will allow happiness to find us, fill us, and offers a path to peace.
We will not always get to know when we have made a difference, and such small gestures of kindness may feel insignificant. How can a simple smile matter so much? Perhaps we have opened the door for someone who just learned they lost their job. Maybe we let someone cut in line that was anxious to get home to his or her ailing elderly mother. Or perhaps we picked up the ‘binky’ or toy just out of reach of that mom who was sleep deprived and on the verge of taking her stress out on her innocent toddler.
Even if not one of our made up conclusions are true, we must pretend as if they are and act as if it serves a greater good. Ah, civility. It’s like a balm of healing on our weary spirits. We must be kind merely to be kind if deep happiness and peace on this earth is our true intention.
So, how might we extend simple kindnesses to expand possibilities, for ourselves, and others? Just start today and make kindness a practice. Notice places and ways to offer simple kindnesses and you will find that kindness is good medicine, not only for the recipient, but also, for our own soul.
Funny how it works, but to give is to receive… and to give anyway without insurance of a return on our investment is an even greater gift. It’s possible. It’s even fun. Give willingly and receive beyond your wildest imagination. Rest assured, in ways beyond your awareness, you have been a part of a miracle.