Look outside, what do you see? For most of the world you will likely see melting snow. Frost’s sting has faded, the chill winds have calmed and warmed. The sun is becoming brighter, and the days, longer. The life that lay dormant beneath the white felt blanket has begun to wake. Slowly, we will hear more chirping birds, see more fresh paw-prints in the mud, and smell fragrances amongst budding flowers.
Now, look inside yourself, what have we learned from our winter of kindness? I promised you this winter would not teach us how to be kind. Nor did I promise it would allow us to measure a person’s actions. What I did promise was a journey. Some times when we journey we do not go from one place and end up somewhere else. Sometimes we end where we began. Our journey orbited kindness and cruelty, and they pulled us when we were observant or blind to our ethics, mindfulness and will to improve.
On our journey we learned kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, an awareness of the impact of your actions, and a desire to better yourself and others. And on our journey we learned cruelty is the result of blind behavior or malicious manners that erodes good will and fosters suffering.
We learned about kindness on our first week and that it is a gift we give to others and ourselves. We learned about community on our second week and that mindfulness is a core aspect of improvement on a large scale and small. We learned about how we travel on our third week and that it is an extension of kindness. We learned about storytelling on our fourth week when we dared the courageous decision to be the heroes of our story. We learned about morality on our fifth week that empowered us with the free choice to understand the consequences of our actions. We learned about leadership on our sixth week and that we should all live for ourselves and uphold the values important to us. We learned about history on our seventh week and that we have more control of our lives, and our capacity to find fulfillment, than we realize. We learned about love on our eighth week and that we must love ourselves before we can love others. We learned about deeds on our ninth week and that our reasons for kindness do not matter, as long as we have the right impact. We learned about archetypes on our tenth week and that as long as we have the right perspective, with eyes to see and ears to hear, we will never stop learning. We learned about perspectives on our eleventh week and what kindness means to us. We learned about cruelty on our twelfth week and that it exists because we fear death. And we asked what if questions on our thirteenth week to explore how we are all flowing energy, which has come from nothing.
We shared this journey for ninety days. These written words and you reading them will not change the world. This shared philosophy will not start a movement to end the cruelty we know. An unstoppable force will not erupt from this exploration to create an indelible impact for human kindness. And what we did here will not echo in time and history.
Or can it?
What we do will be forgotten. A thousand years ago we only have an idea of how we lived, how we fought and how we loved. A thousand years from now our ancestors will only have an idea of us now. What matters isn’t the revolution we start. Instead of dreaming of change, we simply ought to be. Our children’s, children’s children may never know the impact of our kind deeds, but our fellow brothers and sisters, living today, will. And yes, we are all brothers and sisters, from every family member, to friend, to acquaintance, to stranger, to enemy. We may differ in values and views, we may agree, debate or combat, but there is no denying our fate is shared…and we are all made of the same things…of beating hearts, of heaving chests, of arms and passion to lift us up, of legs and will to carry us, and of stardust. And that stardust all came from the same thing…nothing.
That is the true magic of it all. We do not know how we got here. We do not know how this story will unfold, nor do we know what happens after the final page has been written. All we can control is our behavior now, in this moment. Let’s make the best of it and become kindness. It is a simple proposition, dare to be happy, dare to create happiness, and dare for kindness. We have nothing to lose but time, and we have a lifetime to learn what that means.
May your spring of kindness last you the rest of your story. Thank you for spending your winter with me, for allowing your light to shine and be part of this way of being. Hopefully it was enough to melt snow.