Tag Archives: kindness

In The Thick Of It

Life. Gritty fucking life.

Life is the thing that connects us. It is what makes us the same. The agony of tragedy, the sweetness of joy, the grey nothingness of  less than average but not awful and the level contentment of okay. Life is fickle. It doesn’t care about your dreams and plans. It is here to thrive and sometimes shit gets real to enable growth, think of a fire turning everything black then rapidly spawning new life.

We don’t always know at the time why tragedy happens. Why we face the worst. Why the world we operate in is suddenly shaky, unpredictable, frightening. Why loved ones suddenly pass from this world, a pregnancy fails, a cancer diagnosis, we lose that job and our livelihood, a car accident changes everything. We don’t know why it happens but we know there must be a reason right?

Tragedies don’t happen for a reason. They are simply hard luck or natures way. You were in the line of fire. It sucks. And we’re human so we want it to be for something. Surely our suffering must serve a higher purpose. It must because we have reasoning brains and opposable thumbs and are no longer living in the thick of mother nature at the whim of the seasons, the wind, drought, floods, fire. Except that we are. Furthermore, our “seperateness” from nature makes our tragedies less survival and more personal. Its no longer “natures way”, no it must mean something more.

It doesn’t mean anything. Your personal tragedies, and mine, as extraordinary as they were or are did not happen for some higher purpose. But we can make meaning of it in our lives. We can make our losses count for something as we move forward. Let’s start with compassion for others who have lost as we have. Maybe we could be kind first and foremost and not judge each other so harshly. Maybe we will be first to help or speak out. Maybe we will work to be better than yesterday, to contribute, to connect, to be a useful and helpful member of our species. Maybe we will begin to appreciate that this life is fragile, it is fickle, it affects each of us in the same ways as we hope and love and lose and we will realise that we are in the thick of it together.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Kindness doesn’t cost a thing, sprinkle that shit everywhere. ~ Author Unknown

The new age of friendship

There once was a time when friendships had the space to grow apart then close again as the river of life flowed and ebbed. Those days are gone. Well, I hope they haven’t vanished altogether but there is an insidious presence that is like a virtual skin overlaid on our interactions that causes us to feel closer and more entitled than we perhaps are.

Of course I am referring to social media. In all of it’s wonderful expressions, the soapboxes it gives us access to, the humanitarian causes it deposits right in our hearts, the news and nonsense it barrages us with daily. Among the noise we observe each others lives.

We feel intimately close at the birth of your child, we celebrate your birthday from afar, we experience the highs and the lows, the rages and the celebrations. Without any interaction required. Then we forget that we need to reach out…

We may feel so close to someone that we feel hurt and confused because we weren’t invited to a celebration; we may be offended by how passionately, violently, extremely someone expressed their views; we may even just have seen enough of the copious amounts of any particular thing someone is sharing… and we can delete them. The future present moments that might have been shared, sacrificed for a moment of self righteousness misplaced.

It is a savage and brutal state of play that we find ourselves in when we can literally check out of someones life when we have had enough. Once upon a time, we could drift in and out as life or patience and tolerance allowed knowing that the friendship itself would remain in tact. Part of the joy then was to catch up on all that life had brought during a long intermission.

Now however, it seems like those pauses are suitable only for the special few. The special few who remember what friendships were like. What life is like. Those who can appreciate that there is in fact distance despite the seemingly constant but artificial connection. Those who care enough to be open to the meeting that will inevitably come down that track. Those who might even pick up the phone and say “hey, it’s been a while, what’s news?”. Through it all appreciating that you will reunite with joy and be grateful to have much to share.

When it is us who are cast aside we’ll notice, we’ll wonder and we may even feel sad for a time. But then the world will pull us forward, on to the next pressing thing and sadly, that exit will pass by without fanfare. Life is busy and the people in it are precious. Don’t be too quick to slam the door. Perhaps get to know the “hide” button before jumping on “unfriend”.

“The best rule of friendship is to keep your heart a little softer than your head.” ~Author Unknown

If only I could

I am a bit of a reader of books oriented to making sense of an emotionally turbulent world. I like to make sense of why things happen and why they impact us the way they do. I like to have some idea of what drives us and how we may suffer from our own and other people actions.

The more I read, the easier it is to choose a different way, and the more I wish I had known all of this much earlier. If I had been really aware that we are intelligent beings driven by primitive desires that served to keep us safe in ancient times; If I had realised that my anxiety made me vicious and mean to protect me when  I would prefer to be kind and compassionate; If I had truly appreciated how well we can care for each other, solve problems and communicate our needs from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion; Then there is a very great deal that I would do differently now. For myself, and most certainly for others.

Love is one of our most powerful drives as human beings, besides greed which is really a throw back to our ancestral days needing to secure the most resources to feed our tribe (at a time when resources were scarce- it has been suggested that as a species we lack a satiety button because we never needed one)… Love., I was talking about love. We yearn for connection, to belong, to be thought of in a positive way and cared for. We need it in fact.

Following a strange breakup- which eventually turned out not to be so strange since he had been seeing someone else- a friend of mine and I connected. Because we were on opposite sides of the country at first we had skype dates, and phone calls, and text messages. I mattered to someone and that person mattered to me. Sadly, meanwhile I was hurting pretty bad from the confusing breakup. I didn’t move far from my bed, I didn’t cook and I rarely changed out of my pyjamas. So these skype dates because pretty important to bring some colour back to a dreary and sad world.

A small amount of time went by, a few weeks. My dear friend flew from the other side of the country to see me. It was very exciting and incredibly romantic. No one had ever done something so grand for little old me before and predictably I felt very special. But not long after he arrived, I began to feel inexplicably sad. I wasn’t ready for this kid of relationship. My mind, with it’s scared and anxious thoughts started to make me believe that there was no way my friend could understand that it was just too much to contemplate a romance and let’s just enjoy each others company. Instead it made me bitchy, crabby, argumentative and generally unpleasant. Long way to come to be treated so poorly.

I realise now several things that could have made for a different scenario. I also understand that in the midst of my angst the kindness centre of my brain was somewhat inhibited and I was in survival mode. But what could have made it better would have been knowing that anxiety is an old world defense mechanism. Knowing this defense for what it is I could have worked at communicating my fears from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion instead of allowing myself to act from anxiety. I could have held dear how far my friend had come and honoured his hopes with kindness, gentleness and compassion instead of acting like a cornered and caged animal with the surly teeth-gnashing responses he did not deserve. I could have approached our time together as a whole from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion and allowed us to have fun and forge a lasting foundation of friendship instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater a midst waves of anxiety generated defense mechanisms based in a fear that he would not accept my need for only friendship.

This friendship was/is important to me. If I could have that time again, with the knowledge I have now, I would do so much differently. If only I could.

“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.”  ~Terri St. Cloud

Open the window

Floating along
breathe in the air
calm and center
go on I dare you 
to calm yourself

Open the window
relax your mind
let everything go
be gentle, be kind
you still have a long way to go

Energy you need
clarity too
if you are going
to impact
the way you want to

Bring back your humour
curiosity and patience
apply them to you first
then all other spaces
and joy will return

See your critics eye
return from it’s slumber
applied with finesse
you no longer blunder
a tighter ship sails

The work you spread
is full of good uses
all who hear of it
are happy for a new tool
and you have achieved your end goal

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”  ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris