That little act of kindness in the midst of chaos

They are simple words, however they can really mean a huge amount to someone!

I have had what many around me have described as “a very tough week”. I know that the week has had an effect on me… a couple of sleepless nights, a couple of headaches. There has been some fairly extensive active reflection going on in the middle of these circumstances, ensuring that I’m being consistent with my framework for how I wish to live my life, and that the actions that I am taking around the circumstances are in the best interests of everyone involved in them.

One key observation I can make is that while intellectually I’m pretty sure I’m in an OK place around the circumstances of this week, the physical symptoms are telling me that there is definitely a gap between where my head is at, and the realities of the stress that the situation is creating. Being aware of this is invaluable, because it is a reminder that I have to look after myself in the middle of all this, and that I’ll know when I’m back in balance.

You are probably wondering why though this post is titled “that little act of kindness in the midst of chaos?”

The week has been filled with contact points with others who know what is going on and have looked out for me, and enquired about how I am going in the circumstances. That type of support is always appreciated. However it was another little act of kindness that really hit me in the midst of this weeks chaos.

A  firefighting colleague, who is no longer in the firefighting industry,  who I have not seen or had any real contact with for a LOT of years,  reached out on Linkedin by endorsing me for some skills. A little random act of professional kindness, which I immediately sent a thank you message for…. but that was not the powerful act…. it was what followed.

Several minutes later my phone rang, and it was that  colleague who reached out to say thank you. Initially it was a thank you around the story of how I got here on this blog and the work of the Samuel Morris Foundation. He let me know that via a completely unknown connection he had been informed of the impact that our work in the drowning prevention space had on this unknown contact, and he wanted to say thank you for those efforts and the difference they make, to that person and to the broader community. Then he went further, and he referred back to some ancient history of us as fellow firefighters and a particularly traumatic set of circumstances that he had found himself in professionally all those years ago. He acknowledged that one night in the midst of his own little piece of chaos I had picked up the phone and rang to check on his welfare and he wanted to say THANK YOU for all the difference that made to him in that moment.

There is no way that this colleague could have known about the circumstances of this week, or the impact that his little act of kindness via an endorsement and a phone call would have on me today in the midst of my own little piece of chaos. However, those little words that he started and ended our conversation with THANK YOU have had a big positive impact on my day.

My question to you  is…… how often do you say THANK YOU with some real meaning? Is there someone you can think of today, that reaching out and saying THANK YOU for something they have done for you (even if it was 20ish years ago!) would be valuable (because you never know what might be happening for that person right now!).

THANK YOU, for taking the time to read this post…. now go say THANK YOU to someone who made a difference for you!

Silence

Silent monkey photo by Thousan on Flickr

Silence…. a theme that keeps popping up in my mind, how many times have you asked for shhhhhh, thought about the silent gaps in time, watched and thought about the application of silence as a tool….. thought about the process of Monkey Mind and it’s constant chatter, chased silence, endured silence, loved silence, avoided silence… then this question always emerges.

Silence

Why are you afraid
of the gentle caressing
sound of pure silence ?

A…… Day

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A day of meaning,
and a day of menace.
A day of cultural arrival,
and cultural denial.
A day of celebration,
and a day of decimation.

A day to unite,
that also divides.
Where history is spun,
we are many, but one.
When much of a brief history is spoken,
yet the history of thousands of years is forsaken.

One boat people denying others,
opportunity to join us as sisters and brothers.
When “patriots” drink and brag,
wrapped in the symbolism of a flag,
that carries the flag of another nation,
the seven pointed star of federation,
and the great emblem of the Southern Cross,
that many have tattooed into their skin, embossed.

YES, let’s celebrate this great southern land,
the glorious gift, temporarily held in our hands,
but let us do it so that every day,
for ALL our people, really is Australia Day.

Interests

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Business interests,
Banks interests,
Retail interests,
Industry interests,
Mining interests,
Economic interests,
Governments interests,
Department interests,
Companies interests.
but who is governing for yours or my bloody interests?

Always ask in whose interest?
But, to do so YOU must be interested,
Sure, be disaffected, disappointed,
hold them in disdain, or wish they were all arrested,
but you cannot afford disinterest.

Open your eyes, your ears, your heart and your mind,
look beyond the impress of main stream press,
you might just find that there is plenty of interest,
in whose interests
are being served, by those who proclaim an interest
in your interests,
while making interest
out of your disinterest.

Show your distress, make a noise,
write an email, a letter or post,
stand up, hit the street, protest.
Never lose sight, of yours, your mates,
your neighbours, your communities interests.

Think,take time, give time, help redress,
the imbalance of interests.
Deciding who will govern best,
before you cast your vote, put it through this test.
Whose interests,
will they serve best?

Then take your vote, and invest
in those that will serve the whole of your communities interests,
not just the narrow power or profit interests
of those who previously made their interest
out of your disinterest.

Be interested in interests!

An eternity one second at a time.

As another new year approaches, I could give you tips about making new years resolutions, or give you more tips on how to guarantee you fail at those resolutions… but this year I want to focus on presence.

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An eternity one second at a time

The sweeping
ticking
second-hand,
marking
the
steady
passing
of time.

Eight
Six
Four
Zero
Zero
times
a day.

Each tic
pregnant
with
promise
or pain.

Each
tic
a potential
beginning
or end.

Each tic
separated
by silence.

A brief
emblem
of the
infinite
nature
of time
yet
impermanent
nature
of being.

Each
tic
providing
a place
to panic
or
a place
to rest.

My wish for your new year and mine

For your new year I hope that each of those brief silences is an opportunity to rest, not panic. If troubles do befall you, I hope that you can learn to sit with your sadness and rest in the silence, and that you are surrounded by people who will help you to be resilient and deal with whatever the circumstances are. Overall, I hope that the new year is one of happiness for you and your family and friends.

I want to remind you of the gifts mentioned in my xmas post

To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, an example, and to yourself, respect.

I’ll be concentrating on being more present in each and every moment and trying to give these gifts throughout the year….. what will you be doing?