A friend and guide has recently encouraged me to claim what I know. It’s a little bit of a challenge. But not the machismo kind. Claiming, so as to be able to clarify. Claiming, so as to be able to offer with others. Claiming, so as to be able to grow.
I know that one of my GoTo’s with claiming is beauty. Beauty (sure, in the eye of the beholder) stills my inner world. Like these ducks on a pond from a recent walk with a friend.
I’m also aware that claiming knowing can be rather scaled. I’ve filled 2-3 flipchart pages a time or two, making visible a few essences of knowing. Let’s also be clear that this is knowing that is mostly from the belly. I tend toward principles and practices, seasoned with facts, rather than the other way.
One knowing I want to highlight, to claim, is this simple statement — kindness matters. What does that even mean? Remember, principles and practices are the aim here. The energy of kindness matters. The disposition of kindness matters.
Kindness to what?
Well, one, to self. I actually think it starts here. There are many of us that have become very good at kindness with others, but simultaneously neglecting kindness with self. In the end (I think this is true), there is a ceiling of the kindness that can be extended to others if not simultaneously committed to with self.
Kindness to what?
Kindness to other. Yup, “other” matters. Whether that be a person, a group of friends, a family, a team, a pack of strangers, a community, an organization. I keep learning that even in difference held with vehemence, kindness is possible and needed. Kindness grounds. Might be pretty close to respect here.
Let’s keep building shall we. Kindness with self. With other.
And, kindness with circumstance. Most of us live in enormously complex worlds, inner and outer. Sometimes the inner overloads the outer. Worries. Fears. Anxieties. Sometimes the outer consumes the inner. Fires burning. Injustice. Blind commitment to outdated systems. Despite the complexity, there is a kindness that I believe remains important and essential.
Yes, qualifier — kindness is too often made synonymous with “nice.” That may be connected but feels different to me. We aren’t looking for hollow gestures that scrub life of its complexities and contrasts. Rather, I’d say, we are looking for kindness that further enables us to encounter life more fully with its complexities and contrasts.
Circumstance. Other. Self. Self. Other. Circumstance.
Claiming. Kindness. As awareness. As practice.