Friday, July 15, 2016

Micro Kindness

I needed to say that.

Our world is having a bit of a tizzy.
Actually, it feels like a volcano oozing magma...getting ready to blow.
Insane violence.
Nasty. Mean. Cruel.

I think we've forgotten that there are grandmothers in our world.

Would you act that way around your grandmother?
Or a brand new baby?

We have prejudice.
Institutional racism.
Poor choices.
Pathetic decisions.
Needlessly lost lives.
So much trauma for so many people that it feels like an overwhelming wave.

As Billy Joel once so wisely said,
"We didn't start the fire."

I know that...but what can we do to at least try to douse it quick?


Sometimes, your heart just needs to hear some words.
The universe reaches out and taps you on the shoulder.

My gift came a few days ago with this incredible wisdom from a commencement speech by 
Nipun Mehta, creator of Service Space. 

Read his amazing words here.

There are so many jewels within the speech and so many big ideas to consider...
but the one that has stuck with me for two days...
over and over in my mind the idea of micro-kindness.

Nipun ends his speech with a story of his great grandfather: 

"I want to close with a story about my great grandfather.  He was a man of little wealth who still managed to give every single day of his life.  Each morning, he had a ritual of going on a walk -- and as he walked, he diligently fed the ant hills along his path with small pinches of wheat flour.  Now that is an act of micro generosity so small that it might seem utterly negligible, in the grand scheme of the universe.  How does it matter?  It matters in that it changed him inside.  And my great grandfather's goodness shaped the worldview of my grandparents who in turn influenced that of their children -- my parents.   Today those ants and the ant hills are gone, but my great grandpa’s spirit is very much embedded in all my actions and their future ripples. It is precisely these small, often invisible, acts of inner transformation that mold the stuff of our being, and bend the arc of our shared destiny."

This idea of the tiniest of kindnesses offered freely to the most over-looked of creatures as just a way of living in the world drilled directly into my heart.

How do I go through my days?
Am I intentional, like Nipun's great grandfather?
Do I give every single day of my life?
Do I consider the influence of the smallest of movements...the tiniest of choices?

Where are the anthills in my life?
Are they starving?

I wonder about my ancestors and how they lived.
Did they find a way to feed the anthills?

It feels like Nipun's observations are exactly what is needed right now in our world.

We don't need big, grandiose, lavish goodness...although that would be lovely right now.
We need micro kindness.
I know it's micro but it's a B-I-G idea.

Moments that are seconds long but offer a second chance, a soft place to land, a bit of sunshine.
We need the space...the momentary pause, that is void of judgment...and open to possibility.
Those are the seconds that save lives.
Change lives.
Transform lives.

Today we have a chance to test out micro-kindness.

What have we got to lose?
Not a thing.
Seems like our world could use a whole bunch of people tipping the scale toward kindness.

I want to stand on that side.

Tonight, I'm grateful for the chance to keep trying.