Welcome back to the Creative Life Adventure.
I was recently honored to be the subject of a blog post by Anitha Robinson for her Kindness is Everything blog. Anitha is the author of the Broken Worlds series of books, available on Amazon. The blog post was a brief story about a rescue dog I fostered (and ended up keeping) several years ago.
My point here is not to promote myself (although I’m clearing promoting myself a little), but to comment on the importance of doing things for others. In my case, over the years I’ve fostered a series of rescue dogs and done a little volunteering with other non-profit groups. I worked in healthcare for five years, which I hope served some greater good, since the doctors I worked for always told me it did.
Acts of kindness don’t need to be dramatic, world-changing sacrifices. Something as simple as a smile and a kind word might be all it takes to give hope to another person. Or consuming less to reduce your environmental impact. Voting responsibly in every election. Investing in stocks of socially responsible companies. Buying your friend’s painting/book/music/crafts to support their creativity. Because your creative work is important, but so is theirs.
My biggest frustration with the self help / self improvement / personal growth / leaning / happiness / habits / grit industry is how much it promotes self-involvement to the point of narcissism. Introspection is a good thing, but too much is…well, too much. A variation of this is the tendency among Westerners to reduce Buddhism to self-focused meditation, ignoring, for example, the the Eightfold Path. I’ve sermonized about this in the past, but it’s worth more attention. A relentless focus on oneself promotes a society that trivializes the lives of others – or the life of “the other.” It’s hard to imagine much in the way of human progress if we all sit around contemplating our inner universes.
Maybe the answers aren’t inside us at all. Maybe they are out there, just like The X-Files used to tell us: “The truth is out there.” It’s OUT THERE, not inside. Research even indicates that your generosity will come back to you in better health and increased happiness. Your kindness will not always be reciprocated. Don’t let that stop you from taking the high road – not to feel superior, but because the more people who travel that road, the easier it is for others to follow.
So ask yourself today, and every day, what act of kindness you can perform. Put some creative thought into it. The world is counting on you.