This year, I’ve been talking to a lot of people that I used to be a little afraid of.
And it’s been?
It’s actually been lovely.
People that I was intimidated by, I now message on Facebook.
People that I would stress about seeing because they had no problem telling me uncomfortable truths? We talk on the phone.
People that were so beautiful and confident that I would sort of gawp at and run the other way? We smile and talk now. We make eye contact during meetings when other people are being dorks.
And this? It’s kind of a beautiful thing and a lucky thing. It’s all just because I stopped being a wimp and started just going into everything I’m afraid of with the goal of being nice no matter what.
Tomorrow is the tenth year anniversary of Richie Havens’ death. This man was a talent, an enhancing talent, but also someone who spent a lot of his life making the kind of music that preached love and kindness for each other and the environment.
Next week it will be the tenth anniversary of my little hobbit dad’s death. He was no Richie Havens, but he, too, dedicated so much of his time in love and kindness for other people, for the environment, breaking into song or whistling because the music of the world meant a lot to him and was a part of him.
And both of them seemed as if they could be skeptics; they were comfortable and familiar with unease.
And I think both of them believed (at least at some point in their lives) that injustice often came from not taking care of the earth and then not taking care of each other.
Today, I decided (again) that I need to rededicate myself to humanhood – to the hope that I can find a way to see everyone as part of a great, big human system that we are all in together.
There is magic in the earth. But it has to be tended to.
There is magic in humanity. But it has to be tended to, too.
I am tired of enemies. I am tired of thinking in a way that makes other people enemies or the earth, an enemy. I want a world that doesn’t have that, yet I still think that way sometimes. Recently, someone who has some issues and has been kind of mean to me, asked me, “How can you still be nice to me? I don’t understand how you can still be nice.”
It’s the only way I want to be. And, I TOTALLY fail at it sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I am going to stop trying. I want a world of nice, or magic, or tending to, a world where we celebrate each other being brave even when the result is sort of a mess (like my sketch below).
I can’t control anyone else, but I can at least partially control myself, so I’m going to try.
I’ll call it the Nice Experiment. It’s starting now. Fingers crossed that I’ll do okay with it. Fingers double crossed that people like Havens and my dad are still here, paying homage, creating music with words and thoughts and guitar riffs and hobbit voices (my dad, not Havens) that matter.
You can buy prints of some of my art if you’re into that.
And there’s more of this sort of content on Living Happy. It’s a Substack.