Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What She Taught Me---Kindness

"Wild: From Lost to Found on the PCT" by Cheryl Strayed

If you are looking for some literary critique you won't find that here. Today I thought long and hard about what it is about a writing that makes it universally more legitimate than others. For example, if you read the critique of the 50 Shades trilogy, they are rough. Her writing is characterized as sloppy and other mean things. I thought the books were great! Guess I don't have an eye for "good" writing. There are food snobs, literature snobs, music snobs, wine snobs, food snobs etc. These people have what they consider to be a superior knowledge or appreciation for the "finer" species of these things. I am simple. I like what I like and I don't what I don't.

Now for Wild: The book was good, it was not a page turner and I was not deeply or emotionally moved. At least not more than in a superficial way. I could relate to Cheryl wanting to escape herself and being her own worst enemy. And that is about it.

The sweetest part of her book and the reason I kept reading was her encounters with humanity. People at their best. People who offer help and kindness to others for the simple reason that they are human. It's rare that you get a moment to reflect on those millions of little kind gestures people offer you in a lifetime. Being kind is so undervalued. We say, "Do one kind thing a day." blah blah blah. Do you really do it?

When you have nothing else to occupy your thoughts and you are hungry, cold, tired, and helpless the very smallest gestures of kindness mean the world to you. This reminds me of my airport issues. I hate airports because I absorb everyone's feelings. If I see someone crying, my eyes water, its a burden and a blessing to be so empathetic. Obviously my sensitivities are exactly what make me such a tortured soul but at the same time when something good happens it ignites my soul in a way others may never feel in a lifetime. So with the sadness comes a profound appreciation for life, love, and human nature. Be nice to each other. Slow down, be patient and remember everyone comes from a different place.

Sometimes just smiling at someone with a genuine understanding that we all have our own demons and we have a story. Look someone in the eyes and let them know that you hear what they are saying and you are not judging them. Don't be afraid to be taken advantage of---

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