A Revolution in Kindness in Four Parts

I

Imagine a world where:
Sensitivity was respected above all qualities
Corporates listened to the voice of the workers and created shared knowledge
Education was available to all those that desired to learn
Religion was more about love and less about power
Industry was more about people than profit
A bully thought about how his actions would be felt by the victim
Listening was honoured above all other modes of communication
Respect was the cornerstone of every exchange between people
Kindness was the guide through every conflict

What is it to be kind in 2010?
Empathising with anothers struggle
Compassion for another persons suffering
Thoughtful consideration of how our words will be felt by the other
Warm nurture towards other humans
Putting another hearts needs before our own
Generosity of and freedom of spirit

To walk in anothers skin
To look through anothers eyes
To act with care and consideration of others feelings
To feel from anothers heart
To adjust ourselves to be fluid
To pick someone up when they fall
To let someone lean when they are sad
To allow openness of expression
To allow others to have a voice even if it is different to your own
To embrace diversity
To encourage complexity
To be open to new ways of seeing
To snap apart systems of thought that degrade
To generate a celebration and reverence for life

Kindness is pure – has no impure motive
Kindness is whole – allows for all discordant parts
Kindness is gentle – a tender feather brushing the cheek
Kindness is allowing – expanding not contracting
Kindness is story – the greatest story ever conceived
Kindness is sensitive – full like a compassionate rose
Kindness is love – subtle moving with generous intent
Kindness is strong – courageous like an eagle with wings outstretched

So why then is kindness scoffed at?
Why is kindness rebuked?
Why is kindness considered weak by those who are unkind?
Why is kindness taken advantage of?
Why do kind people break, break down, break apart?

To remain kind in hard toxic environments takes great courage
To remain sensitive as you age and move through pain takes self belief
To remain true to self takes great courage of conviction and awareness

As life can hurt and devastate, alienate and injure our hearts.
It takes enormous courage to face the wound and to allow the healing.
Denial diversion, distraction will let the wound become a crusty scab.
Deep Healing will occur when we face the wound and allow it to heal.
Kindness to self allows the healing and opens up opportunities to be kind to others.

II

In love with the notion of kindness, appalled by premeditated cruelty, repelled by thoughtless undermining from those who refuse to do the work to heal their wounds.
Those who do not heal wounds wound others.
Place kindness on a pedestal of admiration followed by active honesty.
Not anything more beautiful to me then a soul who speaks from the heart words that are encased with grace and kindness.

I asked a number of friends a year ago their thoughts on kindness and was deeply inspired by what they had to say. I was working my way into writing this piece when was struck with acute appendicitis and had rush surgery. I had to turn my kindness on myself and through self care heal my wounds back to recovery.

Yet kindness still calls me to her shores. She haunts me during my waking hours and makes me believe to receive true kindness is to receive a gift of the gods and goddesses.

Have you ever met a truly sincerely kind person?
Have you ever witnessed them interact with other people?
What makes a person kind?
How do we define kindness?

Social Justice.
Generosity of time and spirit.
Compassion that is without expectation.
Empathy that is not frigid with condition.
A feeling that allows the giver and receiver to blossom in their own light.
Love that seeks no rewards that is motivated by the smile another face.
Heart that is courageously open in a turbulent labyrinth.
A mind that seeks clarity in the face of seductive compromise.
An attitude of self love that is not narcissistic but looks out beyond the self to ask questions of other.
A mind that is curious.
An intention that is intense.
Kindness is not just a feeling it is a practice a way of being.

So many advocate tough love.
’You’ve got to be cruel to be kind.’
‘Hurt someone and they learn.’
‘That to learn we must feel the pain.’
‘Who ever said that we need to suffer or feel the pain to learn.’

I would like to argue we learn so much more through love than we do through pain.
Learning through pain means that we are thrust into survival mode and defence so that we have to deal with pain and the healing. It is a long process.

We have to heal the wound to move forward.
With love, we learn in an environment where the learning is direct and immediate and we fly with wings outstretched. When we are loved, we love back, there is nothing more important then to love and be loved in return. A feeling of emotional safety and a space to be who we are.

III

Kindness is different to being nice -
nice is a mask – or an end result of being kind.
Kind is holistic and works form the inside out.
It is layered, nuanced it acts without thought of return. kindness is the antithesis of self absorption.
To be truly kind takes courage and intelligent intention. It is not something that is stuck on.
What a wonderful world it would be if leaders were kind.
Driven by compassion and not greed.
Kindness is not weakness as some people often label.
That person is kind – is a soft touch.
Many aspire to kindness,
pretend to be kind and wear it as a false mask but what drives their kindness is something other. Something quite different. True kindness is rigourous and tenacious and does falter and stutter in the face of adversity.
Kindness becomes stronger when challenged by others.
Kindness is something to be admired and nurtured. It is a conduit to true connection that bridges the difference.

Why do some shy away from kindness? Cringe and try to bring down a person who exercises kind behaviour? Why is kindness attacked and scorned and scoffed at?

Personally I crave for a world that is more kind. I am completely drawn to a person who demonstrates kind behaviour. Someone who expresses a kind smile spreading through their eyes and across their lips, smile lines and runs of warmth of a loving soul.

Maybe life is a journey into the heart of kindness. Most definitely a theme that returns in my life. Maybe one has to be hurt and wounded and seen the dark night of soul to appreciate the radiance of the tender beauty of a kind person. To see the sadness, embrace the pain of life and reach beyond it towards the light. To treasure the layers of grey to ride the waves transforming the nightmares that seize us to reach always towards a kinder way of being.

IV

2011 was a year of disruption. A year when the earth groaned, she screamed with violent victory, a horrific wake-up call.

A snapping out of patterns and breaking away of free spirits from the toxic hands of control governed by outdated fixed binary systems.
Where being a Ferrari with a handbrake on was no longer an option for me.

Gadaffi, asuma ben laden, Saddam Hussain GONE!
Egypts great uprising in the name of Freedom.

The rhythms of the earth, of the universe urging us all to make change. And if you do not make the change threatening forces were at play. A calm still voice saying within two years you will not know yourself.

Self care is paramount and listening to instinct becomes a powerful voice that can n o longer be silent. You may walk away but you can no longer pretend that you do not know.
As the earth flooded, cracked, groaned erupted we were urged to examine not only what we value and treasure but our own humanity.
Make change make change make change to keep up with the change.
An endless chant that whispers in our waking and sleeping hours.
A struggle endless with a language inadequate to depict the speed and convey the new nature of our change. Reaching for ways of expression that fills our sleep with night terrors.

Amidst this whirlpool of unease a heart cries for tenderness, so subtle so nuanced that only poetry can ease the hunger for solace. Art that strikes at the boundaries of resistance against the notion of post modernism.

Modernism is dead. Binaries only cut the soul of life and polarise our minds good/bad, light/dark, male/female, right/wrong turning our terror into undefined night.

Post Modernism for all its multiplicity in perspectives, power relationships, pulling apart binaries and deconstructing language is dying by degrees as we head beyond the post. Sitting inside our own little bubbles in our virtual kingdoms we struggle to express and define our Cyborg Realities. As our human heart struggles to still beat under the heaviness of the glass screen our iPhone, iPad, iMac which all so artfully revolves around the I in this I generation. Have you noticed that i is the beginning and the ending of so much.

But they say that the first ingredient of love is to see the other.
Locked within the I we touch the iPhone instead of touching the other. Voyeurs of beauty we see on the scream we fantasise in an intellectual way the connection with the screen, yet we ache to feel the warm softness of a human touch. The Facebook creator said that his agenda was to make the virtual world more important to people than the real. Has his dream become our realities?
Though no matter how hard we wish it to be Facebook cannot kiss our lips, it cannot caress our minds and hold our bodies. A tool to see photos of nieces and friends and highlights it can provide but friendship, love, connection can it do that?

A revolution in kindness has been brewing inside my head for 18 months. I have thought deeply and written copious notes. Yet I feel all that have written are just fragments of a momentous theme. How can such an important passion remain still undefined.

Revolution and Kindness are strange partners. An awkward yet profound juxtaposition. A marriage of apparent opposites but a necessary connection if we are to bring about change.

My head is heavy with stories from wounded, vulnerable lives. Lives I have been sent to repair, to empower. A new job where again the key ingredient is kindness. A revolution is a sharp, dramatic and can be painful change that brings about a completely different discourse. A breaking of control and societal structures that no longer apply or speak to our sensitivity or sensibility. To ponder this too much can make one teeter on the sharp edge of sanity. To free think and to challenge is a radical and confronting state to those that take the road most travelled of mass mentality. Conversation and communication dries up and disappears to those who actively strike at the truth daily to live a life fully.

A Ferrari with a handbrake on is an unattractive metaphor for those who have the courage to soar in the open sky. It is a year for the other to emerge and thrive and carve a new reality ‘closer to the heart’ (as my favourite band Rush said). Good to reach out and find others that come completely from the heart and no longer require the approval from systems of thought that no longer work or apply. I have been told that there are Roses to be found for all those that have the courage to journey through the dark night of the soul to the light at the other end.

A revolution is not always nice and neat. It can be disruptive and messy turning your world upside down. It can break apart the security from the existing systems before one breaks through to the other side. Yet this revolution in kindness is more a journey of hope then anything else. Hope is powerful force that can free us from our struggle and enables us to dream dreams of joy and raw celebration. Ah to visualise and restore a society that functions on the values of sensitivity and care of others and encourages people to ask questions and to truly engage in conversation that can create new knowledge, shared knowledge that is not just a rigid monologue that is born completed from set patterns. A conversation where to connect, to touch to truly know and honour the other is something that I dream of. To be so secure in our “I” that we can see and be there for the other, for each other as we hold hands and join the peaceful, but potent Revolution in Kindness.

© Anthea Slade 11-11-11

A Revolution in Kindness in Four Parts

Anthea  Slade

Carlton North, Australia

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Artist's Description

I wrote this on 11.11.11 but have never posted in its entirety – only first and the last section. It is a work in progress but as it is my birthday today 9 June 2014 and I am busy studying for 3 Law Exams (10, 12, 17 June) I have no time for art, writing or even to celebrate my birthday so I thought I would share this with my dear RedBubble friends.

I am hoping to have time to create art after 17 June and be more present here.

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