Everyone is wonderful, if you give you them a chance

I wanted to capture the look on my face that night. I wanted to capture the bliss I felt.

It was 1:30am on a Wednesday night and I would usually be sound asleep by then but I couldn’t bring myself to leave any earlier than the end of the night. Sleep was the sacrifice I was willing to make to savour every last ounce of wonder that the beautiful human beings I got to spend some time with last night possessed.

I was invited at the last minute by an old friend-quaintance, but there was something about his invitation that spoke to me. There was something there that said, ‘You need to say yes to this. You need to say yes to this right now, and it doesn’t matter what you’re giving up1.’ And honestly, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation in my entire being.

A few other thoughts swirling in my mind the night that I got the invite was related to work (I had made some pretty big mistakes at work, and had gotten emails from my boss about it that night), and of course the lack of romance (from external sources) in my life…. but all of those thoughts paled in comparison to the mere invitation.

Simple, but elegant dinner table

I went to work as normal, went about my work day as normal, and had a pretty uneventful day2. There was potential to go for a coffee with a friend before the dinner, but

that fell through and instead of going home I decided to head straight to dinner. I picked up one of my favourite French Pinot Noirs from the LCBO and walked over to the building where the dinner was being held.

On my way to the dinner, I ran into two acquaintances I adore, and had a quick catch-up with them. Too quick to really get into anything but I tried to send them as much non-verbal love as I could in the brief moments we shared.

When I finally got inside the building, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was one of the rare moments in my life when I was early for an event; so I went to the washroom to freshen up and decompress from my day before I walked in. I was the second guest to arrive.

There were simple rules laid out for everyone, but things were pretty casual. No cell phones after 7:30pm; photos are okay. No interjecting when someone is talking. No trying to solve something for someone. Everyone will get a turn to answer the questions. You must listen when someone is talking; don’t spend that time thinking of your answer.

I didn’t get to ask the hosts how much thought they put into who is invited to the dinner, and whether there is any consideration given to the potential dynamic that the group could have when together. Personally, I don’t think it matters.

1st course, vegan chickpea and butternut squash soup 2nd course, all the nuts and veggies in the so many delicious ways 3rd course, mint and chocolate deliciousness

We were all open. We bore their hearts to each other and everyone, in turn, received each other with such openness I can only dream of seeing in the world. I hope I never forget the sensational, and unencumbered love that was flowing in that room and how empowering it felt. I hope we all felt the same. We may not have solved any of life’s major problems, or maybe we did in some small way; all I know is that my life is forever changed because of the wonderful people I got to meet at that dinner.

Without naming anyone (because I didn’t ask permission from any of them before writing this) I also want to remember the vulnerability, humility, strength, courage, willingness, acceptance, thoughtfulness, flexibility, and curiosity that each person3 brought to the table4 that night. I am eternally grateful, and hope that I was able to return the favour or at the very least return it in the future.

My fortune from the inspiration campaign, and some peaty scotch

So much love.

  1. I was supposed to grab a coffee with my ex who I am still in love with and am trying to patch things up with []
  2. minus a few important conversations with some friends []
  3. there are 9 characteristics because there were 9 of us, and I did pick one word for each of us but all words also applies to each person []
  4. pun intended!! []

In the end, only kindness matters

The title of this post comes from lyrics from the song ‘Hands’ by Jewel.

I’ve been reading the Toronto Star’s Acts of Kindness for quite some time. I don’t read it every day but it’s always in the back of my mind. Some stories truly are heartwarming, whereas some stories remind me that people are very… different. Some tell tales of the sheer selflessness of others, where some only indicate to me how much we need to change the way we think.

One of my favourite psychological theories is that of the self-fulfilling prophecy; if we expect people to disappoint us – inevitably they will and alternatively if we expect them to wow us, they have a higher chance of doing so. Of course, simply expecting someone to be a certain way doesn’t guarantee the outcome… I’m not saying that at all.

I will always have a special place in my heart for the Acts of Kindness section of thestar.com but I wish someone would edit the submissions so that comments like ‘restored my faith in humanity’ are eliminated. It depresses me to see such comments because it means that there is someone jaded enough out there who felt the need to point it out that before some good Samaritan returned their $60 at the bank1. I just feel it would have been a better story if there was no negativity attached whatsoever.

But I know I can’t tell someone how to talk, write or feel… I’m just hoping that putting this out there will help people understand that if we all just changed our thinking2 that maybe, just maybe, that’s all we’ll ever be. But you can’t expect… it shouldn’t be viewed as a right that everyone be kind to us.

Do you think if we just have faith in everyone else, and act accordingly ourselves, that the world really would be a better place?

  1. when they absent-mindedly left it at the ATM []
  2. that “everyone is evil”, to “everyone is kind” []