Conversations,  Relationships,  Women Over 50

What’s One Thing the World Desperately Needs Now?

A long ago friend calls  to reconnect, a friend unexpectedly drops off a bag of fresh vegetables from her garden, or a young man at the grocery store offers a mom with a tired toddler to go ahead of him in the grocery line—simple, unexpected kind actions that connect one person to another.

These quiet acts of kindness (#quietactsofkindness) are the vibrant sparks of humanity in continual newfeed filled with despair, violence, political dissention and unrest. These big world events disconnected, sad, and powerless. Are you feeling this way too? I sure am.

After yet another round of news blast of crazy and angry headlines, I sat for my morning meditation. As I begain, I asked silently, “what can I possibly do to help the world?”   I waited…and waited….and waited. Patiently, in silence.

Slowly, the answer clear and crisp, bubbled up from the muddy pond of my mind.   Be kind.

Be kind.

That’s it! Not rush to the border towns in support, send money to a specific non-profit, or write my government officials. Of course, I’d hoped for something to do that was bigger and of a much grander scale, ala Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela.

Simple, not always easy.

Since then, kindness has become my driving intention in how I talk and act (most of the time!)

It means I put away my iphone and actually connect and look at people I meet during the day. I greet strangers and smile.

I give a bigger than normal tip for good service, and I thank my servers.

It say please and thank you.

It is expressing appreciation for the little things, as well as the bigger things in life. It a check in call on friends, and not being aburpt when I am irritated by something my husband might say (this one gets me!) . It is picking up random pieces of trash on my morning walk (kindess to the planet). Positive comments only.

It’s not constant complaining. It’s not negative self talk.

As my mom used to say, “If   you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

This does not mean I swallow my truth and tell those white lies, or agree when I really don’t? Absolutely not.

Kindness eliminates gossip, judgment, and harsh mean-spirited criticism of people. This does not mean I agree with the actions, angry rhetoric or behaviors of people around me and in the news. It means I will choose not to respond in like manner.

“Be kind” has become my daily intention. Even though I’m not always perfect, I am striving to be kind in my relationships, with myself, and to the world in which I live.

Kindness is simple but certainly not easy day to day.

One of my favorite ways to research beyond hard data and analysis, I enjoy what individuals throughout history and across cultures have to say about that particular subject.   Here are a few thoughts about kindness.

  • Kindness transcends religion
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness”
—The Dalai Lama (Religious Leader today)
Years ago, I took basic religious studies survey course of most all of the major religious throughout human history. When you go back far enough, they all come from the place of love and kindness. I’m not a religious scholar, however, it seems apparent that power-driven leaders over the centuries highjack the religion far from their original roots, which is seen in so-called holy wars, massacres in the name of religion, abuse, discrimination and horrific actions. Whether you are a church-going religious person, a spiritual person, or not,   believe that kindness exists in   and transcends all religions.
  • Kindness is Unlimited
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness”
                            —Seneca (Roman Stateman 4 B.C.)
In our daily lives, there are unlimited opportunities to practice kindness. Whether it’s a simple act of attentively listening to another person, treating someone to a cup of coffee or meal, acts of service, and speaking kindly to ourselves and of others. Remember “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty “? That started in Sausalito, CA in 1982, when Anne Herbert wrote those words on a placemat in a restaurant. It started a popular trend. Maybe its time to revisit that trend.
Here are 6 ideas to get   you started.
1. Smile and say hello to a stranger while out walking (get your head out of your phone and into life again!)
2. Buy a coffee or pay for bridge toll for the person behind you.
3. Write a note for someone you love. Not an email or text, but a written note.
4. Bring or arrange for a meal or food for new parents or if someone going through a difficult time.
5. Praise someone for something you appreciate and enjoy about them
6. Let someone merge in front of you and smile and wave.
  • Kindness is Powerful
You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.
              ——Publilius Syrus (Roman Writer 85 B.C.)

In today’s news, there is more strutting of force in the news, yet the daily activities and kind actions of people throughout the world go on. So much good is happening that goes unreported and often unseen.

 

Just imagine how different the world could be if we all spoke to everyone with respect and kindness….. Dr. Holly Branson (Medical Doctor, Philanthropist and Daughter of Sir Richard Branson)

 

 

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.