There’s been a lot of talk lately about the great need for kindness. 18 plus months into the pandemic with a deep societal desire to “return to normal” with no “normal” in sight, we are losing patience, we are frustrated and taking it out on ourselves and others, and we are deeply in grief over the loss of so much.

In the population that I serve this has manifested itself as an increase in alcohol use and substance use, and an incredible and heartbreaking increase in overdose and overdose death. Additionally, we have no place for people to go who are seeking housing and no beds in addiction treatment facilities. This vulnerable population is struggling. This vulnerable population is suffering. This vulnerable population is beginning to lose hope.

Amidst all of this, I ran into a member of the unsheltered population doing outreach last week. This person came up to me and simply said “thank you for always being kind.” Kind. I wonder what would happen if we all experienced more kindness, more acceptance, more compassion, more meeting us where we are, more understanding. Spiritual wounds are caused by broken connections or lack of connection with self, with others and with a Source bigger than ourselves. Could something as simple as Kindness be the balm that we need to begin to heal? Could kindness towards self reduce guilt and shame? Could kindness from others reduce feelings of not-enough-ness? Could kindness towards others increase our capacity for compassion? Is it that simple….be kind? What would that look like? A smile? A nod? Looking someone in the eye when you thank them? Taking a breath before reacting to an annoyance? Being willing to hear an honest answer when you ask “how are you”?

It doesn’t cost anything. It isn’t particularly risky. It doesn’t take much time. Why not try kindness as a healing balm. Let’s start a grass roots kindness movement where we simply are mindful of being kind to self and others. Let’s scatter kindness like wildflower seeds and see what blooms, lets see who blossoms.

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