Promoting, sharing and uniting kindness
Kindness in the City
By Luciana Francis (nee Saldanha) to Kindness UK
Kindness in the City - September 13th 2012

London, like any major metropolis, is a paradox of modernist aesthetic and ideals. Confusion seems to underline the certainty in modernity as a natural progression in humanity’s path.

Yesterday on my way to work I decided not to rush. I wasn’t late, but I sometimes seem to panic even when I’m on time. Once you leave the house it seems so easy to get caught up on the general pace.

The train would come at the right time as efficiently scheduled. Somehow, there would be room for everyone in. By not joining in at the crammed passengers by the sliding doors, one finds some room along the carriage way. Once out of the train, I walked. I didn’t indulge anyone who seemingly wished me to race them along the way. I tried and initially found it hard to keep at my own pace amongst the other commuters - neither fast nor slow. I got to work on time without bumping into a single passenger on the way; no huffing and puffing and no sweating, my choice.

In London (as in any major capital city), through my at times adoring eyes (at other times critical) I can see the confusion, the conflict. There is a personality crisis that shapes London’s majesty. And in an increasingly changing world of shifting powers and borders, London rises as the beacon of a promised land, the place where everyone wants to arrive at, to be in. London is the place where many people from all over the world co-exist.

The catch on the existence of this swelling melting pot is that the limits of its modernity brings us all back to basic mechanisms of survival. Too many people in the train or buses and you push and shove to get in. Too many people in the supermarket and you rush to take your picks. In London beauty and chaos mingle, they are partners in crime.

Acts of kindness, like the each and every inhabitant of the city, are individual sparks amongst the haze of modern life. The choice, the conscientious action not to push, not to shove, not to rush, to assist instead of ignore, the choice to wait to let someone else in first and do not worry about acknowledgement. It’s our part. Our humanity is confirmed when we choose to be humane in extreme circumstances. That conscience makes all the difference.

Kindness must start as a conscientious act before it becomes second nature. Forget the pride, the last word, the high tone in your voice. Do not propagate the anguish when you see it.

As sung by Morrissey in a song by The Smiths, “it takes strength to be gentle and kind”. And it is here in this place, the city we all chose to be, that we must achieve beyond all greatness and material goods, the gift of practising kindness, daily.

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