We’re all just walking each other home. – Ram Dass
We were so close. My friend Luca and I had hitchhiked over 500 kilometres to that one last road off the highway that separated us from our destination. We were on our way to one of the prettiest – and most remote – national parks in Brazil. We waved to the truck that had kindly taken us till here and started walking. The moonlight was magical, but, ideally, we didn’t want to walk all the way there. Especially since we’ve realised the town we needed to reach wasn’t as close as we had thought: it was 50 kilometres away.
Several cars had passed, very sparsely, but no-one stopped. It was just us and that giant moon, and still some good 45 kilometres to go. Suddenly, we saw two lights approaching. I raised my hand and oh man, Luca and I raised our hopes. An old truck appeared. And pulled over! Two local men kindly invited us, two exhausted foreigners, in. There wasn’t much space and I still remember that ride, with my knees all bent, sitting on my friend’s lap, as one of the most uncomfortable rides I’ve ever had. But it was also one of the most memorable ones.
Coz you know what’s memorable? Kindness.
It’s memorable “both ways” – when you’re the receiver and the one giving.
There’s a lot of talk on how to build our confidence, our motivation, or productivity, but why not focus our efforts on upping our kindness? Not to wait till someone is kind to you, but to go ahead and create it.
Inevitably, we all have those stories of smaller or bigger acts of kindness – whichever direction – that warm our hearts. And oftentimes, they don’t actually take much: a kind word, a silly joke, a helping hand when someone’s carrying a heavy suitcase, a WhatsApp voice message that always gets out of hand and turns into a personal podcast (oh my…). Sharing a meme, for God’s sake.
The good news here, even in a pandemic, is that there are always things we can do. And by doing those things, we make our lockdown days just a little bit more open. It’s…just…that simple.
“You’re only as pretty as you treat people.”
I saw this quote and thought, OH MY GOD, YES. We should be teaching this to kids. Or share it in our blogs.
In the time of ugly sweaters, lockdown leggings (no way it’s just me), an arbitrary schedule of when to wash one’s hair, and weird natural eyebrows, there is no ceiling to our beauty. Not to the one that actually matters.
We’ll talk more about this in tomorrow’s post. Tomorrow’s topic: self-compassion. Kindness unlocks self-compassion.
But first, an actual exercise. It’s the doing of the thing that matters, right? Not the reading, not the thinking, not even the planning. You either do it or you don’t do it in the end. It’s the action itself that makes it a challenge.
Who is the person whose day I could improve, however much, today? Who would really appreciate me showing up for them? How could I do that today?
We’re all just walking each other home, right?
Resource of the Day
Jack is one of the big names out there, “opening for” Dalai Lama, basically (and literally). He got trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of South and Southeast Asia and is known for having popularised mindfulness and Buddhist practices in the West. He also holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, which leads to a truly interesting, refreshing, and beautiful perspective on life that he shares with us. He’s worked in prisons, hospices, mediating conflicts, with gangs, and veterans, among others. Talk about work that matters!
Another big name, Ram Dass (whose quote opened this article), was a good friend – and a colleague – of Jack’s, by the way.
Jack’s intertextual talks – like this one bellow, more fun than you might think! – will make you laugh, cry, and will open your heart. Through that opening, more kindness will inevitably flow.