Make love, not war (not in THAT way)

I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend who is going through a period of enlightenment following his father's miraculous recovery from serious surgery. My friend is Hindu, and upon reflection, decided to take a temporary vow of poverty. He's isn't sacrificing his entire lifestyle, but he did make significant changes in three areas of life: he only eats one meal a day (which is a vegetarian meal), he only takes cold showers, and he sleeps on a tikar (mat) on the floor.

His journey is similar to what us Muslims go through during Ramadhan, or some Christians do during Lent. A period of sacrifice to remind us to be grateful and remember those less fortunate.

He said that within the first day, he found himself seeing things from a different perspective. He's become kinder to himself (smoking less) and to others (not swearing any time he gets pissed off). He's more aware of the plight of others, and is more grateful for all the blessings he has.

But really the thing that struck me the most was his observations of the world with his new perspective: he remarks that people can be so unkind.

Why can't we all just hug it out?
It is a simple notion. Something most people take as a fact of life and never question. But, in my opinion, it is a very sad situation that needs to be changed.

The dissolution of my marriage and the painful aftermath weren't the most fun things to go through, but I am so grateful for the new perspective on life that came with that pain. I, too, frequently observe unkindness being dished out. And it's made me very vigilant about trying to be as kind as possible to myself and others.

The anonymity of social media has made it worse. Have you read some YouTube comments lately? Actually, even on the relative non-anonymity of Facebook, I've observed people being unkind, and refusing to take the kinder route of communication. It's really puzzling. Ponder this:

I'm Not A Frog Boiler! 
When you reject authoritarian, coercive parenting in favor of non-punitive, pleasure-oriented parenting, critics and naysayers will warn you that your child won't be able to cope in the "real" world. 
The assumption is that "it's a jungle out there" and we should gradually toughen up our kids and get them used to suffering so they won't be shocked when they venture out into the big, bad world. 
It's like that famous experiment where they tossed a healthy frog in boiling water and it leaped right out. But if they put the frog in cool water and raised the temperature gradually over several days, the frog would be able to adjust and stay in the water. 
The slow boil seems more humane, but that "well-adjusted" frog eventually died from the heat! Whereas the non-adjusted frog's intact sensitivity protected it from being boiled.
Today, look for evidence that your child's sensitivity is intact (i.e., reacting to unwanted conditions) and be grateful for it! Tell yourself, "My child will never get boiled!"
Source: The Daily Groove from EnjoyParenting.Com

This is one of my favorite things to read, and something I read every time I feel bad after someone's been unkind to me, or if I've felt that I've been unkind to someone. It's comforting to know that my "kindness radar" is working normally and I have not "adjusted" to unkindness. These days, I'm slowly teaching the virtue of "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" to my kids. But it seems a number of adults need that reminder too (myself included, sometimes!).

Well, I leave you with that thought as we begin the weekend. Till next time, be kind to one another! (Suka hati je plagiarizing Ellen kan)