(This is a guest post from Marianne Elliott).
I’ve seen you on your worst days, and I have to admit, it took the wind out of me a bit.
But you have a way of bringing me back around: with your sunrises and saltwater, with your drumbeats and dancing, with your tea and chocolate, with your laughing children and poetry.
You bring me back around to faith, to taking the next step and trusting that there is enough beauty, enough kindness in you to keep us all going another day.
When I think about what I wish for you, it is this: that you are kind.
Which is not the same as being good. Because I love you when you are a badass.
When you say what is true, even if it is not polite.
When you ask the questions no one else dared ask.
When you throw over the moneychangers’ tables in the temple.
When you point out that the Emperor has no clothes.
So be bold. Be brave. Be a badass, dear World.
But be a kind badass.
Trust me, you’ll take everyone by surprise.
The ones who believe you are all bad will be disarmed by your kindness. And, for a moment, they’ll remember what it feels like to let their tough outer shell soften a little, and to let that warm, melting feeling inside.
The ones who believe you must be good – who believe you are only acceptable when you are modest, obedient and polite – will be surprised by your courage. And, for a moment, they’ll remember what it feels like to care more about justice and about the truth, than about whether it is ugly or scary or shocking.
So be a kind badass, World.
Because when you get as close to the bone as possible – when you say what must be said even when it scares you and everyone around you – AND you do it with kindness, then we all remember, for a moment, what it feels like to be human, to be alive.
And for that, dear world, I am grateful.
Marianne Elliott is the author of the book Zen Under Fire: Finding Peace in the Midst of War (from Penguin NZ, coming in US June 2013), creator of the online programs 30 Days of Yoga and 30 Days of Courage and has been called “A powerful, soulful teacher of courage.” A change-maker, story-teller, yoga teacher, former UN peacekeeper and human rights lawyer, Marianne is the leader of Off the Mat, Into the World in New Zealand and Australia. Her website is Marianne-Elliott.com, and you can find her on Facebook and on Twitter @zenpeacekeeper