In these tumultuous times, I have been reflecting on what I can do. The challenges we face are complex, with a myriad of perspectives and needs. It’s easy to question the impact of individual actions, wondering if they are just drops in an insurmountable bucket.
Many of us grapple with how we can make a meaningful difference in our workplaces, families, and communities. One simple yet valuable response we can each embrace is to be compassionate and kind and to spread a sense of connection rather than feed polarization. We can take an Open Stance when we want to close down.
We can acknowledge our shared humanity and that most people are doing the best they can based on their unique life experiences. Life is laden with challenges, but it’s also a canvas for growth and transformation.
A useful practice is to pause, focus on, and slow down our breath for a few moments. We can put attention on our heart. As we do, we can bring to mind someone or something we appreciate or care about– a child, a friend, a tree, a pet, or a serene place in nature. In this moment, allow feelings of compassion and kindness to grow. Then, turn that sense of compassion and kindness toward yourself. That’s right. Be kind and compassionate toward yourself, too. Experience this expanded state of being.
With this openness, we are ready to extend the same warmth and consideration to those we encounter as well as others across the globe. We can lend an empathetic ear to someone undergoing a challenging time, contribute our time or resources to a worthy cause, or simply share a smile and a word of thanks with the barista at the local coffee shop, a neighbor, or a colleague. In our mind’s eye, we can envision a ripple of kindness and compassion radiating to other drivers on the road or people strolling along a path or in another part of the world.
Indeed, our efforts are tiny drops in a vast ocean of need. However, from our place of openness, our kindness touches others and spreads the enlivening energy that is so needed.
In times of complexity, the simplicity of compassion and kindness is a force of power. Clear intention and even little acts can create a wave of positive change. It is something each of us can do now–even when we don’t know what to do.