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Our February 18 Program: “A Call for Radical Kindness and Fierce Civility”
As a new year commences and we approach our one-year COVID “anniversary,” this is a great time to reflect on what we want most for 2021. For many of us, that would be a return to kindness. Our February 18 speaker is Donna Cameron, author of the award-winning book, A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You, now in its 5th printing.
The last few years have brought us an epidemic of incivility—quite literally: rudeness and incivility have been shown to be as contagious as a virus. But the good news is that kindness is equally contagious, offering us a choice of which contagion we want to spread. If we are going to repair the tone of discourse and behavior in the coming months, we will do it through kindness. While there are people who view kindness as weak and ineffectual, the truth is that kind people are the strongest among us—willing to go beyond mere niceness to risk rejection, judgment, and vulnerability to stand up for what’s right, and what matters.
Donna will share the benefits of kindness (health, business success, relationships, personal satisfaction…), the barriers to kindness (what makes us hesitate to give and receive kindness), and the skills of kindness (most are simple, but not necessarily easy). As she reveals both the why and how of choosing kindness, she will show us how to claim this life-changing—and world-changing—power.
Donna Cameron has spent her career working with nonprofit organizations and causes, where she has seen kindness in action and been awed by its power to transform. While she considered herself a reasonably nice person (with occasional lapses into crankiness), she knew that true kindness was a step above. When she committed to A Year of Living Kindly, she learned that it takes practice, patience, and understanding . . . and a sense of humor helps, too. Her book, A YEAR OF LIVING KINDLY: CHOICES THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU, has been called “Inspired and inspiring … an extraordinary and timely contribution in these troubled times.”
Walking Together in Kindness
By Donna Cameron, Author, A Year of Living Kindly
One of my favorite quotes is the simple reminder from Ram Dass that “We’re all just walking each other home.”
It feels like we’ve sometimes lost sight of that notion, as we’ve become more polarized and insulated in recent years. While there isn’t a magic button we can push to instill a sense of connectedness, the closest thing I have found to it is kindness.
With kindness, we offer the best of who we are, while inviting others to tap into their own kindness potential. Once we see the power of kindness, we want to perpetuate it at every opportunity.
There are some who equate kindness with weakness, or meekness. They see it as inconsequential or trifling. They view kind people as naïve and easily manipulated. They couldn’t be more wrong. The kind people among us are the strongest, most courageous, and often most confident. They understand the strength it takes to extend a kindness, knowing it might be rejected, rebuffed, or misunderstood. They know the courage it takes to stand when others stay seated or speak up when others stay silent.
It’s a strength the unkind and the indifferent haven’t yet learned.
In recent years, science has been paying a lot of attention to kindness and we’re seeing abundant research showing that kindness improves our health and wellbeing in many ways—from lowering blood-pressure, reducing chronic pain, and improving heart health, to improving our sleep and reducing social anxiety. There’s also ample evidence that businesses with kind cultures are more profitable, more productive, and have happier, healthier employees.
For me, declaring a year of living kindly was life-changing and heart-opening. Five years later, it continues to be my chosen path. I hope you’ll consider declaring 2021 your own year of living kindly—the world needs us to make that commitment.
I’m looking forward to talking with you about the power of kindness—as well as the benefits, barriers, and skills—when we meet virtually on February 18.
Until then, wishing you abundant kindness.
Donna Cameron, Author, A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You