So far today, I have not try to put any order to my office. The day is hot. The neighbour’s music is loud and insistent. I cannot think. My blood sugar is low and I am getting cranky. I put on Pavarotti & Friends 2 on my portable. I put it on the deck and crank the volume up. I like to see how she likes it, she who wants to hear the birds sing. So much for kindness and compassion. My words are not going according to my intentions!
It is a little later. I am bolstered by some crackers and walnuts. I am a little mellowed by a glass of wine. Pavarottie & Friends are done but the beat is still going strong next door. It is all right. Everything is copacetic. I am done with tit for tat. There is no satisfaction in it except deafness. And I cannot afford to lose any more hearing.
I am being kind to myself, not going down or up the spiral staircase of anger. I no longer hold any feelings of irritation. I really do not want to hurt others in the same way that I am hurt. That is what compassion is. It is not an easy thing to practice. So often I want to give the other person a taste of their own medicine. There, you take this or that! See how you would like it.
I am remembering Karen Armstrong’s talk on compassion. The beat is going on louder next door. Ahhh, human frailties! We so crave for attention and love and yet we do not know how to love. I am so happy to have seen Karen’s talk. Otherwise, I do not know where I would be.
I am looking at the flowers before me….pastel colours of pink, blue, yellow and white. The flowers came from a genteel woman’s celebration of her 90th year. She holds the key to the United Church in Maidstone, Saskatchewan, Canada. I guess you can guess what kind of woman she is. The colours of the flowers soothe and calm me. Sweet pastels!
Kindness is such an easy and hard thing. It is in your choosing. Have you been kind today? Enjoy this poem on kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye. It is truly awesome.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
The music next door has stopped. Sweet peace!