Slow Down And See [on Two Artists Tuesday]

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There is a theme emerging in my posts this week. Substance vs. the appearance of substance. The flattening of importance.

During an exceptionally stressful and contentious period this summer, we streamed the entire run of Parenthood. Six seasons of escapism!  “Let’s go to  California,” we’d say, all too ready for a leap out of reality. And then, in a moment of horror, the episodes of Parenthood ran out. Our escape hatch closed with a bang. In desperation we surfed and landed in Schitt’s Creek. It was a series a bit too relevant to our circumstance and we howled when one of the characters, in the face of kindness, said that she’d been raised to see that “kindness is a sign of weakness.”

“That’s our problem,” Kerri said, “we see kindness as a virtue.” She was raised to be kind.

That night we had a long discussion about kindness and its general absence in public discourse.

I’ve been thinking much about our conversation since we found ourselves meditating on kindness in Schitt’s Creek. This is my observation: mean is easy. It is fast. Like all forms of reactivity and thoughtlessness, meanness and contention are elementary.

We are surrounded by friends who are kind.  They are kind because they cultivate kindness, thoughts of others, as essential to their character. That’s why we are attracted to them. We are the recipients of unbearable gifts of kindness through our friends. They break us open. They make us bigger.

Kindness is a virtue. It is also a strength. And, it takes time. Kindness is like poetry. It takes development and some higher order thinking.

Lions eat zebras for food. People hurt people for a lesser reason.

In a world obsessed with speed, it is all too easy to run past substance in pursuit of the superficial. Slowing down, taking some time to see, exposes all manner of beauty.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about KINDNESS

 

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Let The Mask Slip [on Flawed Cartoon Wednesday]

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There is the public face and the private face. There is what you want to say and what you actually say.

Parents teach their children to be polite, courteous. And, they also stress the virtues of truth and honesty. Often, those two lessons collide. In that collision is rich ground for a funny.

On this Flawed Cartoon Wednesday, a polite nod to all of us who’ve been busted telling a truth that wasn’t supposed to be heard!

 

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www.kerrianddavid.com

 

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blackbird is a goob ©️ 2016/18 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Be A Hypocrite

742. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Apparently, I am a hypocrite. I do not always practice what I preach. Most days I believe that I am my brother’s keeper. Yet some days I walk passed someone in need; I turn my head and pretend not to see them, saying to myself, “This is not mine to do.”

I believe in anchoring my life in love and yet sometimes I enshroud myself in a wet blanket of fear. I say things I do not mean. I judge and run back to my safe place.

I believe in the power of possibility and yet there are days that I fill my cup to overflowing with “I can’t.” I invest with gusto in my disbelief and hide my gifts beneath a mound of doubt.

I preach the virtues of going slow. I believe in being present and yet at times I find myself racing to get somewhere. I tailgate other drivers wanting to “get there.”

I believe in the power of language and yet I have said hurtful things and am often unaware of what I am actually saying.

I believe intuition trumps intellect every time and yet I regularly justify and reason myself out of following my gut instinct. I spend an inordinate amount of time in my head (I call it my office) and talk on and on about being more in my body or in nature. Empty words.

I believe in loyalty and trust and yet at crucial moments in my life have chosen self-preservation; I did not throw myself under the bus to save the other.

I believe in self-love yet have given the farm away more times than I can count. I hurt my self regularly with my unwarranted self-judgments and unrealistic expectations. I hold myself to standards that I would never expect from others.

There are gaps everywhere. I am flawed, flawed, flawed. Accuse me of almost any hypocrisy and I will look you in the eye and admit my imperfection. I am human and by definition that means I am messy and riddled with contradictions. Hold me to a standard of perfection and I will utterly disappoint you. Ask me why I say one thing and do another and I will get angry and defend my belief even as I know that I have betrayed it with service to yet another belief.

What I do not believe is that the world is black and white. I do not believe in absolutes. For me, truth is found in the paradox. Life is lived in the contradictions. I grant my life the same principles that make color vibrant: there’s nothing like a touch of red to make the greens pop. If you really want to see the orange, surround it with something blue. As Quinn once told me, all religious traditions have one thing in common: they instruct us to find the middle way, seek the path between the pair of opposites. It is impossible to find the middle way by eliminating the contradictions; one must test the boundaries to know where they are. As Dan Pink writes, “Clarity depends on contrast.” Given my massive contradictions, I expect someday to be utterly clear for at least one brief moment. In case you expect my clarity to last be forewarned that I will most certainly follow my moment of clarity with wholehearted dedication to some new spectacular confusion.