Only Kindness Ties Your Shoes

This Wednesday’s practise is about inviting kindness into our experiences, and is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye’s poetry “Kindness”.

Duration: 23 minutes

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Andriyko Podilynk, Unsplash

Kindness, Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Clearing With Kindness

Ruxandra Mateiu, Unsplash

Poem written and read by me as part of Calm in Chaos meditation series.

Lying among daffodils

Basking in the golden sun

Feeling its warmth spreading over

Clearing us for sure

Shining into the cavities of the mind

Releasing thoughts from a bind

Freeing the heart

Of envy and rut

Undoing the knots of self-judgement

Lodged in the pits of disappointment

Soothing the nerves 

In the tempest of anxiety.

The sun, our steward

Does not desire reward

Clearing us with kindness

Not demanding to be finest

Departing when it’s time for rest.

Take cue from the sun

Who wants to go, let them go

Who wants to stay, welcome them

Who leaves footprints, let them be.

For to know courage

Is to have let go off someone’s hand

To know connection

Is to have held someone’s hand.

To know kindness

Is to be like the sun

That knows its rhythm 

Letting go when time is up

Yet always there, giving, never holding back.

Noelle L, 29.05.2020