Friday, January 8, 2021

Turning Towards Kindness

So many are finally waking up to the malevolent narrative of White Supremacy that infests every corner of the culture. (If you’re still managing to sleep through that story, compare the police response to the white insurrectionists to the Black Lives Matter protest). Changing that narrative is the first — and long, long overdue— step toward healing. 


But there are other sub-narratives that also need revision and here’s one: To be kind is to be weak. To be spiteful, hateful, ignorant, gun-toting, swaggering is to be strong. Amidst a thousand other outrages in Trump’s recorded inciting-to-riot speech was calling out Republicans who refused to go along with the lie of a stolen election as “weak.” Think about how much of his behavior is driven by the narrative, that to apologize is to be weak, to admit you don’t know something (and so instead just make any old shit up and claim it as true) is weak, to treat women respectfully is weak, to be fair in business is weak. Imagine a whole personality built on that shaky edifice. With the added irony that this "strong, courageous man" who told his neo-Nazi posse that he would walk to the Capitol with them went inside and watched it on TV instead. 


While not exclusively a male problem, the old macho image of John Wayne/ Chuck Norris/ Arnold Schwarzenegger was precisely what the feminist movement and the men’s movement alike sought to change. How did so many fail to get that memo? All that posturing is trying to cover up some empty hole where the Soul should be dancing, all that struttin’ and swaggering trying to hide the scared little boy inside. Come on, guys, we can do better than that! It takes great courage to be kind, a fierce bravery to be vulnerable, a daring valor to appreciate beauty, a lionhearted spirit to speak truth. And that goes for women as well.


Today I flipped randomly through a Rumi book and found this poem:


Be quiet in your confusion, and bewildered.

When you’re completely empty, within

that silence, you’ll be saying, 

                              “Lead me”


When you become that helpless,

Gods’ kindness will act through you. 

People of the 21st century— it's time to turn towards kindness.





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