If you’re feeling disillusioned at the state humans seem to be getting themselves into, how can you stay open-hearted?
With the power of kindness! Kindness can truly be powerful and memorable.
Oskar Schindler ran a factory during the Second World War. He employed Jewish men and women, thus saving them from death. Thomas Keneally’s book ‘Searching For Schindler’, charts the research he did during the 1980s in order to create ‘Schindler’s Ark’ (which was made into the film, ‘Schindler’s List’).
Keneally interviewed many of those Schindler survivors. One of these was a man named Lutek Fagen who was a teenager during the Second World War. He and his sister were taken in by the Schindlers (Oskar and his wife Emilie) and he worked on the factory floor.
As an elderly man he was obviously thankful for what Oskar Schindler had done for him. Yet he related two small kindnesses to Keneally that still had an impact on him 40 years later.
His first memory was how Emilie Schindler had taken his broken spectacles to the opticians and got him a replacement pair.
The second memory was how Emilie appeared at his sister’s bedside ‘as she was dying, with what seemed to be a miraculous midwinter gift – an apple.’ For Fagen, these two simple acts ‘constituted one of the major humane gestures of his war.’
You might recognise such small powerful kindnesses in your own life. Perhaps from people in your past, when you were in great need. I know when I’ve been in hospital, feeling vulnerable and alone, there was such a difference between staff who were kind and those who were indifferent.
Or out shopping feeling under the weather, when a stranger smiles at you. These gifts of kindness are such things as a simple smile or sharing a joke. They don’t need to be much more than that.
A thank you.
A small gesture of help or assistance.
An extra moment spent listening to someone.
Remind yourself of the simple kindnesses you’ve experienced. Remember how it felt to be on the receiving end of kindness and thoughtfulness.
And then remind yourself of small kindnesses you yourself have offered towards others; today/yesterday/last week. Keep doing more of them. Again and again. They need only be small in order to have a profound effect.
This is the power of kindness
It’s how each of us can stay open-hearted. It might feel like the toughest thing you can do right now, and yet it’s powerfully simple.
Even if you might feel kindness is missing from the world at the moment. It’s in your power to change that!
Even if you feed the birds, say hello to a stranger or pop some change into a charity tin. They might only be tiny gestures. Be kind – do it – you’ll feel glad you did!
Will you share and spread these simple reminders?
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach