Think back to an early memory, a happy one. Where you were a young child and you felt safe, protected, and heard. Think about how it felt, visualize it.
Maybe you can picture a person, someone who was responsible for how you felt. A parent, or a teacher, or friend.
Now look at why you felt the way you did. How did that come about? It happened, and you still feel the way you feel about it, because that special person showed you kindness.
After all this time, you still haven't forgotten it, either; that moment is still etched in your memory.
Now fast forward to this moment right now. What can you do today, right now, to pass on that same feeling to others? How can you give that away? Give away some kindness, and make sure that when someone - maybe some kid, maybe someone vulnerable, maybe someone who doesn’t yet have that special memory fall back on - thinks about when they felt safe and protected and heard, they can think about the act of kindness that you are about to do.
I love how the idea of kindness helps us relate to each other, regardless of age or how we identify ourselves. I love how it unites the vision of the kind of people I want to be surrounded with. It’s the easiest and most reconcilable way I have of creating a circle in my mind of the people that make me feel good, and it’s how I envision inviting people into that circle with an act of kindness.
I have often seen myself as an introvert, and I normally have trouble in crowded spaces, but when I think of a group of people as a set of individuals with whom I can have a potential relationship with founded on an act of kindness, I have a totally different outlook on interacting with those folks. I can breathe, and I can relate, and I can speak and act much more freely. I can be myself when looking for ways to be kind.
Today I will be spending time helping a group of folks get a musical theatre production polished and ready for the stage. This is one of my hobbies, but it’s where I learned how to relate to other folks with all my actions rooted in kindness. As a director, we have the opportunity to build up our team and nurture the best possible performance capacity from each member of that team - including actors, musicians, techies, whomever. We also have the capacity to fail horribly, and to hurt someone who has made themselves vulnerable by taking the kinds of risks that create great works of art.
I work with folks from under the age of ten all the way up to nigh on a hundred years old. I task each person on the team with performing at least one act of kindness during a rehearsal or performance. Today, knowing I’ll be hanging with these people for more than ten hours straight, and on a holiday, I’m ver much looking forward to the chance to give someone a memory they can look back on as a great experience.
I recently started working out of a WeWork space with Agility, and I have been amazed at how the atmosphere is different from a place where only one company occupies a floor or a suite in a building. It's like a honeycomb of companies striving to make a go of it, with an energy that buzzes with intent and the will to survive.
In the communal space, the kitchen and the hallways, we pass each other and smile. We reach for the coffee cream at the same time and have awkward pauses outside of the washrooms. It's a community that would have scared the crap out of me when I was first starting out, fresh off the farm.
If I've learned anything in the nearly twenty years since I drove a tractor and shovelled manure to pay my way through university, it's that the room full of people aren't too different from me. We all look back in time and squint our eyes and see a scene that's maybe a little fuzzy around the edges, but it's warm and bright and reminds us of something happy or safe.
I like the idea of a world where we are looking to create experiences that others can look back on with that feeling. That's how I feel about kindness.