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Danusha Laméris’s Poem Is a Beautiful Ode to Kindness

Let's appreciate—and not take for granted—the brief moments of affection that connect us as humans.

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Small Kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying…
Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back…
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

This oh-so-relatable poem is an invitation to practice kindness and see it as a sacred practice. The world might be a chaotic and messy place, yet we can always choose to come back to a foundation of love and appreciation.

I love the line “We have so little of each other, now.” It’s so raw. Sometimes people just want to feel seen and heard. A “thank you” or “hello” is all that is needed. As human beings, we thrive on connection, on understanding each other. The pandemic has taught us to appreciate—and not take for granted—these brief moments.

Yoga reminds us that, with every breath, you bring something into your body or life and let something else go. Use these moments of exchange for kindness, the true dwelling of the holy.

Gustavo Padron, Austin, Texas–based yoga teacher who leads classes to inspire people through movement, meditation, and light-hearted camaraderie