“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Let's Make Kindness Cool Again

The other night, in the middle of the night, I received a message.  I know, I know, I should switch off my phone when I am sleeping. All those radio waves’ll mess with your brainwaves. 

But WiFi was on when I fell asleep and the phone was right there next to me on the  pillow.

“\get the fuvk ouy of my life!”

I imagine they typed it drunk. Or maybe with the hurried fingers of someone who’s angry, or who knows they’re doing something wrong ( like using  someone else’s facebook account, maybe?) and wants it over with before they're discovered, or before they change their mind.

3 am
Thanks for that.

Whatever rationalisation I would normally have brought to bear on the situation was useless at 3 am. I spent the rest of the morning awake, reeling, anxious and, frankly, just damned sad.

My story is that this sort of nastiness floats around waiting for somewhere to land, until it is projected onto the next person. A sort of free floating energetic wave of bile. Mindfulness helps us dodge it, to duck,  or gracefully to circle out of its way. 

But when it lands, it sticks.

Whatever was going on in this person’s personal energetic orbit ( and they had their reasons I guess) they had no right  to throw it in my direction. But throw it they did, and it landed.  

The reason I am bringing it up is because I was already feeling into this idea of the free-floating unkindness. When I showed the first draft of this blog to a friend, she struggled with that concept that "unkindness" was a thing. Maybe so. I get that. But if we recognise kindness as a thing, then by unkindness, I mean that which is not kindness. A spectrum from just not very nice, to downright nasty. 

I started running with this thought as I  watched several conversations on social media descend into the kind of meanness that I last saw in the school playground. Bear in mind, my social media is populated by yogis and healers and “spiritual” people who should, frankly, know better. Now, we can forgive eight year olds for getting it wrong when they are just learning how to be in the world of people and words and feelings. What happened? When did the very people who are teaching others about kindness, forget how to be kind?

The energy of unkindness is pervasive and catching. It feeds on us like a parasite, it grows and infects and becomes so normalised, so much common currency that people seem to be unaware that they are even doing it. It  feels to me like a deep fear of exposure. The yogis and healers talk a good game about vulnerability but actually it terrifies us. And this propagates some serious projection. What terrifies us surely has to be someone else’s fault, right? Something that other people are doing wrong. Not simply a feeling that we have, that we all have.  The social media that brings people and communities together so creatively, at the same time has us going for each other’s throats. The Instagram filtered seeming perfection of everyone else’s life, job, dinner and sunset is all just so visibly, seemingly BETTER than what we have!  

Bring them down before they  bring you down?


Kindness is utterly at the core of how I choose to be in the world.

I want to make Kindness cool again. 

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