Little Miss Red and I are safe, healthy, and hunkered down alongside a mountain lake, deep in the Colorado Continental Divide. The afternoon wind has picked up, causing pine boughs to dance and the ripples in the lake water to glisten. Paddle boarding will have to wait, but not the Get Well America Tour. It is alive and well, spreading and promoting the healing power of kindness while our country struggles with its footing.
In the most basic terms, America is in the midst of a battle between Kind and Mean. The division is obvious. Will we either choose to be a kind, supportive, and honest people or a mean, destructive, and dishonest people. The stakes are high; the winner will set our course for decades, if not centuries, to come.
To aide us in understanding the battle we are facing, Americans have been given a front row seat to just how mean we can be, just how mean we have been and just how mean we are continuing to be. Today we see meanness increasing in our country through lies, cheating, and corruption. It is increasing at every level of our society, resulting in an increase in public and private lawlessness and violence.
From a personal to a national level, we are awakening to the painful truth about our past. The ongoing economic, social, political, and judicial injustices experienced by so many of our citizens are a planned outgrowth of our past meanness. It exists on a scale that is nearly incomprehensible in its subtle and not so subtle destruction to human life and society. The loss to ourselves, our families and our society is enormous.
Whether we realize it or not, we have all been indoctrinated with attitudes and beliefs about how things are supposed to be according to how things have been in the past. This indoctrination has led us to a present filled with meanness designed to continue the oppression. And now, more than any time in since the Civil War, it is driving a huge division among us.
It should not be surprising that as we face our own meanness, we are facing the Coronavirus. One of the meanest viruses known to man, it hides in plain sight, looking for any opportunity to expand and overtake. It has no regard for its ruthless destruction of human life for the benefit of itself – just like our own painful history…and present.
As we continue down this path of meanness, we must ask why? What is motivating us to be so self-destructive? Have we been infected with a meanness virus? Just as the coronavirus uses our bodies in the most unconscionable ways for its own benefit, the escalating meanness in our country is attacking our lives, our families, and our communities, also in the most unconscionable ways, leaving a path of destruction so devastating that it has the potential to literally destroy us.
Most of us can agree that we are at a crisis point. Many of us feel helpless. Many of us want to do something; few of us know what to do – at least not yet. Fortunately, there are a growing numbers of us who understand that if we want our world to be different, we must be different. If we want a kinder world, we must be kinder. If we want the meanness to stop, we must stop being mean to ourselves and others, plain and simple. It is all about what begets what.
This past spring when we began to collectively face this incredibly mean virus, many among us instinctively knew what to do. Acts of kindness appeared everywhere. Messages from advertisers, celebrities, media personalities and everyday people offered words of encouragement and promoted kindness via every imaginable platform.
We displayed our kindness by expressing our gratitude at appointed hours near the front lines and from our homes, delivering meals to essential workers, sewing masks, displaying signs of gratitude and joining our voices to call for kindness in all our dealings; be it in law, medicine, economics or religion. We found kind ways to let our voices be heard. Collectively and instinctively, we know that kindness is absolutely the best antidote to meanness.
To create something different from what we have been creating, we have to do something different – something very different. A nationwide movement of to develop our kindness from within and extending outward could be that something very different. With kindness as our daily foundation, our moral compass and a measurement of our success, America can become the kind, supportive and honest nation we all wish we were.
We need to be honest about the enormity of our task. Making the shift to kindness is going to take a huge collective effort of individuals practicing and mastering the art – yes, the art – of kindness. Considering our long history of mean, America’s kindness muscle is a bit weak – okay, it is really weak – especially of late, but that shouldn’t stop us!
It’s time for us to discover how kind and mean are playing out in our lives –from up close and personal to far away. Putting our hearts and souls into rooting out meanness within ourselves, however large or small, and replacing it with the healing power of kindness, is by far the most powerful action we, as individuals, can take. Developing our personal kindness will affect how we think, how we speak to one another and how we act.
Self -kindness begets kindness, both inwardly and outwardly. By awakening, strengthening and inspiring kindness within enough of us, we will bring the healing to America that we so desperately need. This is definitely a “WE THE PEOPLE” moment. It’s up to us – to you, to me, to the next guy/gal, one person at a time, to realize that we are voting every day in deciding who we are and how we want to be.
The pandemic is giving us a lot to think about. “What we want our lives to look like?” “Do we really want to go back to the way things were before the pandemic?” Before Covid19, my journey on the Get Well America Tour gave me an opportunity to speak with hundreds of people from over 28 states and every imaginable background. Deeply touched by the Tour’s message about kindness; each and every one person told me how tired they were of all the meanness. Every last one of them expressed hope for something to change so that we could be kind to one another. They – we – are all tired of the meanness.
This is our moment to make a huge difference, one person at a time, until there is so much kindness in the world that meanness simply dissolves. You will love the changes in your life that can only come from increasing your daily kindness quotient while making an amazing contribution to the healing of America!
Note: This blog began on July 8th…took me a while…hard stuff happening in America.
Coming up– Developing the Art of Kindness from the Inside-Out.