"Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth." Thus begins Naomi Shihab Nye's poem Kindness, animated poignantly by Ana Pérez López for the On Being Project. The poem, first published in 1980 and read softly here by the poet, contrasts strikingly with the typographical approach to the animation done during the pandemic lockdown of 2020. "Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing." Nye’s words have relevance for us now as we not only negotiate great losses but reemerge to a new normal, with Kindness, for “only Kindness makes sense anymore”.


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  • Debbie Gawrych

    It raises the consciousness in me and around me. Thank you for creating such a to the point and compassionate message.

  • Nancy

    I thought you'd like this.

  • Margaret Thompson

    My mother dies of Covid late last year and I was overwhelmed by the kindness I received. Be kind to someone every day!

  • Rebecca Rodriguez

    I so enjoy Naomi's work. She visited my home once after my husband was killed suddenly in an automobile accident. I shared with her i was experiencing such mystical 'knowings' being unveiled to me each day, dropping in from some unseen place. She said to me..."Rebecca, you are in the profundity of this moment and it has opened you to new experiences." I've never forgotten that, nor her KINDNESS to visit me with a lovingly made dish of food.

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  • Learn more about poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye.
  • Explore the offerings of On Being, a non-profit media initiative that explores the intersection of spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, community, poetry, and the arts.
  • Experience more poetry on a regular basis. You can start with this curated weekly podcast by On Being.

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