These are stressful times. This means that it has never been more important to cultivate kindness in all that you do. We often talk about care for other people when talking about sustainability. But all too often, people forget that small, simple acts of kindness on a daily basis are just as important as caring for humanity as a whole.
We need to recognise the individuals around us, and try in whatever ways we can to brighten their day or make their lives a little easier. We might not be able to meet up with all our loved ones this Christmas. And in times like these, staying away can often be the kindest thing to do.
But just because we cannot meet up in person, that does not mean that we cannot phone, go online, or even write a lovely email or letter that might make someone feel better. Even a smile or a cheery wave at a distance can make someone feel less down.
Capra films are popular at this time of year. And some of you may remember the famous James Stewart line in ‘Harvey’: “In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” Elwood P Dowd’s infectious kind, considerate and polite nature means kindness is at the heart of this sweet movie.
Being ‘smart’ can be important, and we should all take steps to make sure we educate ourselves about the things that really matter. But being pleasant is important too. We must treat others around us with real respect, and cultivate kindness in all that we do.
After the year that we have all had, being pleasant and being kind are more crucial than ever. Permaculture shows us how humanity can be the solution as well as the problem. And small everyday acts of kindness can help us cling on to all the wonderful things about being human, and what that means. It helps us see the good in people, as well as all the harm we have done.