Kindness

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.

– Naomi Shihab Nye

Finding Courage

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I recently started reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”. Definitely a worthwhile read for everyone.

I am, by no means, a stranger to fear and insecurities.

There was once a time in my life when I chose to desensitise myself to my inner most feelings. In doing so, I assured myself that I would never step on toes, never clash with others, never get hurt. But I also ensured that I would not gain nor lose (e.g. meaningful relationships). It was a limbo of sorts. I would never truly live the way I should: in the fullness of expression of who I am, sharing it with the world and creating appropriate boundaries in doing so.

There’s just one problem in living that way. Vulnerability.

There is vulnerability in owning my feelings.

There is vulnerability in sharing my feelings with others.

There is vulnerability in loving and being loved in return.

There is vulnerability in accepting others into my personal bubble, my space, my life.

There is vulnerability in openness, in expression.

There is vulnerability in freedom.

Vulnerability is hard. It’s scary. Really scary. Overwhelming, even.

How do I step up? How do I face it? How do I find the courage to allow myself to be vulnerable, own it, and live fully through it? I don’t have the answers but I’m certainly doing what I can to figure it out.