And we’re off!
As promised, I have written-up some of my musings on Manor Bridge in Peebles (link here). I was getting all bogged down in trying to do clever things with the website at the expense of just getting it out there.
So, I’m sorry that there are no embedded maps, that the layout of the blog is a little basic and that the references are not footnoted.
But, hey, every journey starts with a first step, and I am proud that we have made ours together – well done you!
I hope you like it. I really enjoyed pulling it together. I learned about national grid references, spandrels, parishes and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland. These were things I didn’t know about this morning so yay to me.
Aside from the exhilaration of getting the first bridge info page online, we also find ourselves at the end of the Mental Health Foundation’s annual Mental Health Awareness Week, with this year’s theme being “kindness”.
Earlier this year, before COVID-19 took ownership of the headlines, we were all shocked and saddened by the death by suicide of Caroline Flack. Caroline Flack was a TV presenter. She presented Love Island, but is best remembered in my house as the first celebrity to achieve three perfect 40 scores in the Strictly Come Dancing grand final of 2014.
There was a general feeling that Caroline, who always seemed to me (from my viewpoint on the sofa) like a genuinely warm and loving person, was not treated with kindness in her final few months. There was speculation that this might have at least partly contributed to her final decision.
The nation was very sad that she had died and couldn’t believe how she had been treated, by the tabloid press in particular. We all wanted something good to come from her death, for this to never happen again. Caroline had posted the message “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” on Instagram a few months before her death.
And so, the hashtag #bekind started trending across social media. Let us naively assume for a second that this was based on a genuine prevailing wish by the people of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to spread a positive message and not a marketing trick to take our attention away from the role of the media in Caroline’s torment.
“Be kind” is such a simple message. Too simple. Caroline Flack didn’t die from a lack of kindness. Kindness is not the answer to all of society’s woes as some might position it. But it is a start. And, for sure, the world is a worse place without it.
Now is a good time to reinforce that message. The full story of COVID-19 is yet to be written and there will be chapters within it that we don’t look back on with pride. Where the worst was brought out in us – greed, selfishness and jealousy.
But there have been so many examples of the very best of human nature, with kindness (and love) at the centre. I hope we don’t forget about this and go back to our old ways.
So, be kind. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. If everyone was kind to themselves, then that’s one person giving and one person receiving kindness multiplied by the number of people on the planet. That’s a lot of kindness.
Make the inside of your head a peaceful, loving, welcoming place for you to inhabit. You can’t go anywhere else, so make it as nice as possible.
Who knows, you might even enjoy spending time there every now and then.
3 thoughts on “Be kind”
When I read this I was very moved. Los Angeles Be Kind sprang to mind; but it wasn’t. X
This post was a real spandrel…
One sad irony that I’ve noticed often is that those who are most tuned in to the happiness and well-being of others are not so good at self-care. The “be kind to others” is second-nature but the idea of kindness-to-self is strange. And yet at some point that neglect hits its limit–COVID is a perfect example, as some of the very best parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, spouses, and friends I know are very, very tired. Since I apparently muster enough self-care to get by, I’m looking out for those in my circle who need a little propping up. It can happen to any of us.
I’m enjoying the bridge pics–such different landscape than I’m accustomed to. If I make it your way at along last next year, are you up for a quick bike tour? Beautiful countryside. And it reminds me of another key to happiness: appreciating what you have and where you are. Every once in a while, when cycling in the massive expanse of flat cornfield–which is easy to construe as boring–I remember to take in the entire horizon, to appreciate the wide open view of the sunset across what used to be vast prairie. The little things add up. Cheers and stay well!