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Kindness

Written By: - Date published: 1:38 pm, November 17th, 2016 - 13 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, health and safety - Tags:

kindness

The perplexing thing about this moment is that it’s getting worse.

Emotionally it’s a season of death. Pop stars are such losses because they manufacture and amplify so much meaning for our lives. Their death is a fugue of analogue-reality through metaphor and magic. Stadium-sized musical performance, like sports performance, is the closest we can now get to accepting that modern humans can still share meaning as life-changing moment.

Yet as the analogue world recedes, Facebook, Baidu, Twitter and blogsites connect our memories and opinions with likes minds as never before. In moments of national upheaval like earthquakes and elections, new social synapses allow effective speech.

But that comparison between digital and analogue be-longing is a conflation of meaning with process, agency with structure. This is our year of grieving. Humanity feels like it has gone backward this year. We can name it now.

I think we should take time out from activism at a national level, and come back to things in February. Politics will look after itself. Let’s look our closest people in the eyes and look after each other for a couple of months.

We should simply be kind. Kind most of all to ourselves. Some will work on their gardens, food-forests, bush. Things that let the actual world speak. Others, show kindness to our own health.

We can be kind to ourselves about loss. To work footstep after foot towards solace about those around us very old, or recently died. Of failed politicians, failed movements, failed marriages, failed attempts, failed goodness. There’s so much accumulated damage done to ourselves from the failure around us this year that even the kindnesses we do to ourselves feel like guilty admissions. It becomes hard to be kind. Harder.

Around my huge family, even among the brand new babies, I see plenty of grim smiles as people barely hang on. Middle-class corrosion from minor health reversals that got hard to retrieve, no-pay-rise careers, mortgage debt taking half their income. Around my friends, the same old activist machines chewing people up, again and again. Bruce Springsteen once said “I guess there’s just a meanness … in this world.” He understood this season.

Across New Zealand, astonishing damage and grieving right now, but no electrifying calls from leadership, no moral equilibrium or underpinning trust to give us certainty amidst shock and danger. I know they do their best and they work hard. But there’s no capacity there to lift us as a people.

Sure, hugs cure nothing structural. It’s all about the mahi. But we are human, and right now so many of us are low. There’s no coherence or rationalizing or even language to it. Only kindness.

You decide what that kindness is. Forgive yourself for failing, not progressing, for retreating, for losing. Forgive those who left you, walked out, died, showed no grace to you. If you have energy – only if – give time to someone. It’s the most costly gift to give when you’re low. That is the grace within kindness. You need it. I need it. This country needs it now.

13 comments on “Kindness ”

  1. adam 1

    *Hug* because you need one.

    Can I suggest a gardening there Ad. It might make you feel better, get dug in and dirty.

    There are lots of community gardens in Auckland, with lots of wonderful people working together to produce wondrous plants.

    Here are but two.

    http://www.mountedenvillagepeople.co.nz/tag/community-garden/

    http://www.kelmarnagardens.nz/

    Again *hugs* because you just seem to need it…

  2. b waghorn 2

    nice work Ad. if everyone decided to make being a better person one of their core goals that’s all it would take to turn things around ,

  3. ropata 3

    Just walked my sister’s kids to primary school, then stayed for the assembly.
    The senior kids did a kapa haka, was quite moving. This is a diverse suburb of Auckland, the poi and karakia was led by a lovely Maori girl but there were a couple of Asian faces and one very blonde lass. Also a Pakeha boy with long hair was grinning ear to ear as he went through the taiaha movements.

    Teachers do an amazing job and the values being taught to young New Zealanders gives me a lot of hope for the future.

  4. gsays 4

    Hi ad, good post.
    I would suggest that being kind is still activism, an attractive one.

  5. Philj 5

    Thankyou Ad.
    Poetic and timely.
    Where are the LEADERS at this time?
    GO THE AB’S. LOL

  6. Ad 6

    Aye. Human.

  7. mosa 8

    The modern world in perspective in 2016 with respect to human emotion (or lack of).

    You are right AD about the lack of leadership and the importance that has in conveying a message of care and confidence and direction.

    That has been lacking in this country for some years with a narrow focus on profit and control and greed.

    We can change it.

    But are we strong enough and courageous and enlightened enough to do it.

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