A kind of kindness (Ten for Today)


We’re in the car. I muse out loud, “I want to carry into the world the kindness and caring I feel when I do yoga or when I write about the garden I peek at sometimes through the fence separating our yard from the neighbor’s or when I’m baking apricot and garlic spread into baguette then topping it with sun dried tomatoes that have soaked in Greek olive oil a good long while, for our dinner guests.”

The one in the front seat is silent, but the wise ass in the back seat, snarkily asks in disbelief, “You?” Then she shakes her head slowly and says, “Nah.” They both laugh.

I laugh. She’s a quick witted funny kid. But as we drive a way into the silence, a momentary pause in conversation, each with our thoughts, I frown inside. 

I meant it. The kindness does not extend far beyond the mat. I don’t want to manufacture it for myself by motion and feel-good-pat-on-the-back exercises and readings. I want to exercise it, stress test it in the throes of messy, even horrible existence, in the battles on the streets, on the road, in the supermarket, and on social media. 

This election circus distracts me (a Trump funk), foments mental terror and pulsing anger that requires the quelling by kindness, everyone’s. But mine is especially important in my world, to the people I touch. Hiding inside words, playing nice with language won’t do. I won’t be jailed by the surrounding toxic vitriol. I vow to melt it, laser it with the heat of my passionate dispassion. 

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love…

Searching for the light switch in the dark

SingleLightswitch

“If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current — how can he help others across?” – The Buddha

I am that man. Some days, at least. Absorbing the toxic words and actions around me in the news, on the roadways and in my own home, I swell with anger or fear so plumped that I could not pull myself out of the fast flowing river of popular roars and rants if there were a thousand outstretched helping hands lined up along the banks for miles.

 

And yet, I know the flip of the switch we all possess to alleviate the suffering that comes from the world being too much with us. Choosing not to allow the inflow of water or to let it pass through prevents the swollen suffering.

Detachment isn’t a synonym for tuning out, more so tuning in while refusing to participate. The only way to survive this volatile time on the planet and at home is as the scientist examining the world and my responses to it under a bell jar, watching with dispassionate interest the outcome and culmination of all the forces I choose not to be swept up by, like that river that I can fall in and under or navigate with the vessel that allows safe passage–for me and you.

There is a switch we can all turn on that allows us not to react to the chaos and frenzy around us but to observe it without attachment. I keep looking for that light switch in the dark.