Today’s Daily Stoic journaling prompt: Where can I show other people kindness?
My first reaction to this one is “We’re good here.” Kindness has, for me, been a bit of a mantra for the last number of years. So maybe a better question for me is “Where am I not showing other people kindness?” I have a vein of sarcasm and, to some extent, snark a mile wide, and it’s taken real attention over the years to learn that when it comes to that kind of sharp-edged wit, I need to punch up, not punch down. Not that I would ever do that sort of thing to someone’s face, but even with friends, quietly–that kind of thing can backfire quickly. But I have to admit the current situation–both in terms of the pandemic response and US politics–challenges even the kindest person in the world. Ignorance can be dangerous–and while I have repeatedly told myself to always remember that not everyone has the advantages I do, or the ability to think critically developed over a lifetime of being engaged in current events and the study of history, in these cases, kindness means persistently correcting misinformation while trying to avoid a “you idiot!” tone of voice or writing, or criticizing appearance, accent, socio-economic status, and the like. “Sarcasm is the protest of the weak,” said John Knowles–but that to me speaks to the punching-up nature of sarcasm, as sometimes the only form of the resistance open to those without power. In the hands of the powerful, that kind of biting humour simply becomes another form of bullying when used against someone with less power.
Evening: One of the things that appeals to me most about some of the Stoic writings I have been writing is that kindness is not seen at odds with justice, courage, and honesty. What that tells me is that there is always a kind way to say needful things and hard things. And since justice seeks to give each person their due, it speaks to looking to find the universal humanity in each person.
It also reminds me that sometimes, the person who it is hardest to treat with kindness, honesty, and justice is myself.
This was one of those significant milestone anniversary days. Three years ago today, I had my first cataract surgery. It literally restored my sight–I was legally blind by then in my right eye. I had the second eye done a few weeks later, and then, just a few weeks ago, I had deposits removed from my lens implants (again, making a rather stunning instant improvement). I’m a little sad I haven’t gotten to shoot archery again since I had that procedure.
Today, for the first time, I managed to play a board game remotely with my husband and a friend. We used Discord for the voice chat, and an iPad version of the game Scythe to actually play. There were a few glitches as we tried to get used to the computer interface (which brokers no do-overs or give-backs), but it definitely worked. I still get a little frustrated and self-conscious when I’m learning a game, but I really enjoyed Scythe the one time I played it a couple of years ago, and after we were done I found out a few things that might have helped me understand how to get things going, and I may try to play another training game before another online game. The Discord server I set up looks like it also might help start getting some further online gaming going for my husband and his friends, which is definitely a win. I also spent some time leveling up my Pathfinder character in preparation for tomorrow evening’s roleplaying session. The one downside is that I haven’t made any progress on my cape yet. I’m finding that I’m not precisely the Energizer Bunny of doing more than one activity that requires thinking per day right now. And there are no deadlines, so no biggie.
I considered briefly not going into the Museum tomorrow, but it’s the last Sunday with flights scheduled, and I’ll get one last look at the Lancaster in the air, provided the rain holds off. Things are still not going the right way for our caseload in Ontario, but museums were allowed to open in phase 2, so there’s hope that even if we had to go back a stage, we could still stay open. The photo above was from several years ago, when I got an opportunity to sit in the cockpit of the Lancaster. Maybe someday I’ll get to take a flight in her.
What an excellent share of power in self-empathy, forgiveness, and the surrender that leads to stronger vision of and connection with the world, Susan. Thank you.
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