My friend Aggy of DreamExploreWander, whom I’ve tagged here several times, tagged me on an instagram challenge a few days ago. I was supposed to post five pictures on five consecutive days, all connected to the theme „KINDNESS“. While I loved the theme from the start, it turned out difficult to put it in pictures. There is lots of symbols for faith, or hope, or love. Travel is easy to visualize, as is home. But kindness?
Difficult as it was, I tried to capture kindness in pictures to post to my instagram account every day. And the beauty of it was that it made me much more aware of little everyday acts of kindness all around me.
On the first day, conveniently, I received my mum’s yearly Christmas package. If there is anyone I learned kindness from, it is my mother. She sends me my advent wreath every year. I have the decorations ready and set it up on my couch table on the fourth Sundays before Christmas – and then one more candle is lit every Sunday. It isn’t advent without this tradition, and it makes my home feel more cozy, friendlier. It was in this moment already that I realized that kindness would only be visualized through a connection with others.
On the second day, my singing teacher sent me the final recording of a song that I wrote myself. I have been writing music for a bit now, but I cannot really do arrangements. I am going to learn that in the near future, but the arrangement on this one is my singing teacher’s. He spent a lot of time getting everything done, just because he is nice that way. And now I have my own song. I never thought this day would come. If you would like to give it a listen, you can do so on my soundcloud.
On the third day I had a late lunch and some good coffee at my most frequented deli close to work. The place is often overcrowded at lunch time which is why I try to come in late, have a quick chat with the staff and enjoy the soup of the day (which is always delicious!). The guys who work there know the way I like my coffee, and they notice when I’ve had my hair cut and ask if I’ve been okay if I haven’t come in for a while. Genuinely kind, good people who will brighten up my lunch hour considerably. Bad service can ruin my mood. It never happens here.
On day four, I had to go back to my mum’s Christmas package and post a picture of my advent calendar. 24 little gifts for each day in December until Christmas Eve finally arrives. Not only does this remind me of my mum’s infinite grace and kindness every day, it also makes me feel a bit of the childish excitement Christmas used to be about when today it is more about stress and getting things done. I like getting up in the morning and knowing there is something small (or not so small – what might be in that big red package I get to open today, on the 6th?!) to look forward to.
The fifth day had me turn to my dressing table. My friend sent me little notecards for motivation and reassurance this year for my birthday, and I set them up next to my jewellery so I will see them every morning. This card says: „Do only the things that are salutary to you.“ Salutary – „heilsam“ in German – is a particularly pretty word, and it refers to things that will heal your wounds. In other words this means: Be kind to yourself. Often we are not, we don’t take care of our needs enough. We should be kind to each other and ourselves alike.
While I don’t know if my pictures sufficiently mirrored the topic, this little challenge gave me much joy. It felt good to look for things that would symbolize kindness to me every day, and it animated me to be kind, too. Write a text to that friend who has started a new job to wish her luck. Call my sister to let her know that I miss her. Go after that lady who nearly left her scarf at the restaurant at the table next to us. Hold open doors for other people. Get in touch with someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Maybe it’s also the Christmas spirit talking, but honest: If you’re kind to people, kindness will come back to you. And it feels good.