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'Infectious as well': We need to be practising kindness

'If we could truly take this surge of kindness to heart and practise random acts of kindness all the time, it would be balm for healing some of the difficult situations we face.'
Sun shining through the Bowen trees in 2020
Sun shining through the Bowen trees in 2020

I had wanted to write an article about kindness for some weeks when I heard that Feb. 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, suggested it be a week, saying “Kindness is infectious as well.” 

Dr. Henry is well-known for her mantra “Be kind, be calm, be safe,” when she gives us current COVID information. For some of us, it may have become a little irritating with the difficult news but it certainly feels like there is a great need for kindness. 

The Dalai Lama has always said “Kindness is my religion,” and he is full of compassion. Jacinda Ardern, on the day that she was sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand, said to an interviewer who asked her what she wanted to change, “I want the government to bring kindness back.”

If we could truly take this surge of kindness to heart and practise random acts of kindness all the time, it would be balm for healing some of the difficult situations we face.

For those who have been forced to spend extended time with one another during this pandemic, often stress has caused random acts of unkindness or even violence. Remember help is always there if needed. This is no time for secrets.

Sadly, I started to write this the day they started felling trees in the area of the proposed fire hall. I live just across the road and was in the middle of a guided meditation when I heard the sound of the chainsaw and then a loud thud. The guide was saying “be witness to life around you, listen to the sounds.” The recording was made in a meditation hut and the sounds of birds singing could be heard outside at the same time as I could hear the tree falling. The shock went right through my body and I felt strong feelings of grief and sadness. Nature has been solace for me in these difficult times, and this desecration was so close to home. 

 As I started writing I brought my mind to the many acts of kindness I have received here on Bowen this past year. Fresh baked bread has been brought to me and meals have been delivered to the door. Small repairs have been made in my house and I have been driven to places I need to go. On the day of Random Acts of Kindness, a pot of narcissus and a card was handed to me. 

I wondered how kind I am and as I went out to see how many trees had come down, I had a strange feeling of acceptance of things that I cannot change. I was sad but not angry. I wondered if this was a way of being kind to myself too. My final wish is that not one unnecessary tree be taken down. Kindness to all living things, especially nature is necessary for the health of our planet. 

 And perhaps one lesson to learn, as well as offering acts of kindness to others, we need to be kind to ourselves for the sake of our mental health. 

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