Kindness Challenge
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Inspirational Kindness

Author: G. Jefferies

 

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And so ends week six of the Niki Lopez Kindness challenge. Another thoughtful exercise into people that have been inspirational influences on life. This has been a challenge in itself. So many and how to condense them into one post!

I’ve termed this inspirational kindness for no reason other than using people as role models or sources of inspiration is quite useful to direct ones sense of purpose. A mindful way to interpret ambition, standards or beliefs and provide something to strive for. Setting goals and objectives however large or small. A life ambition, set of standards to travel through life with or a strong anecdote that makes you nod and think ‘Yes, spot on there.’ But who or what to choose? This has been both difficult to narrow down and hard to turn into a post with meaning.

 

Christopher Yates

Back in the day when Christopher Yates battled against a monster carp in Redmire Pool, a small group of friends and I were inspired to chase our own leviathans in ponds and rivers dotting the landscape within the radius of a bike ride. It was more than the record carp though. Yates is and was a prolific writer and naturalist. His work, while centred on piscatorial adventure is steeped in, not how to angle, but how to view the natural world that surrounds the fisherman. His words drew, in me, a resonance with the surroundings. A world where time slows and pauses while early morning mist hovers above a still expanse of water before the sun burns it off and minutes begin ticking once more. The inspiration to view nature as something greater than us. To feel the billions of years where it grew ecosystems and species long before it thought of bipedal know it alls that have forgotten the past.

The journey along a waterside was filled with an appreciation of time itself and amazement of the smallest detail by which nature exists. It taught us watercraft and how to read what lies beneath an expanse of water. Where our adversaries, carp of course, might raid unseen avoiding the offerings of those not touched by the Passion for Angling; coincidentally the title of a well crafted television series portraying the world of the angler and the atmosphere of the angle.

 

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In truth, Chris Yates inspired not only a keen interest in carping but also in writing about the esoterica of water and journeys into the wild places. The origin, if you like, of which my two memoirs. For these too are touched by the magic of nostalgic reminisces; places where ghosts and monsters haunt the past.

Angling has always been a mainstay since childhood; not so much now but the passion still lurks and if water is close to a walk then it must be stared at and read. However, time moves ever on and heading towards higher education found further inspirations in science. Einstein, for example, for the sheer genius of mind and thoughts.

 

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As a pending research scientist there were others too. James Watson and Francis Crick for the elucidation of the structure of the DNA as a three dimensional double helix; my forte at the time being molecular biology. I could recite endless lists of inspirational scientists and philosophers from my time before children but I will limit it to one because it affects my world intensely.

 

Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA.

Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge in the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.

His scientific genius is widely distributed around the internet so it is not my intention to deliver sermons upon gravitational singularities and Hawking radiation or his theory of cosmology explained by the union of general relativity and quantum mechanics; not even his beliefs in many world theories and interpretations of the latter. Moreover it is the debilitating disease with which he has battled for decades; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neurone disease (MND).

In a nutshell, for those unfamiliar with MND, it is the deterioration of the motor nerves that control everything from movement to speech, the ability to chew and swallow. A disease that eventually leaves you in a shell, immobile and entirely dependant upon others to survive, if you so choose to call it an existence. Imagine a world in which you can hear everything, think and rationalise but not speak out or communicate; to be truly locked in and paralysed. A thinking vegetable with a life expectancy of around 18 months.

And yet, Hawking has struggled with this since his student days, defied his disability and become a scientific brain of extraordinary genius. It is not impossible theoretical physics gave him a reason to live and a drive that others might not be able to find? I imagine it to be a disease that slowly turns you mad until the end is greeted as a friend. Obviously these are my own thoughts and others may have differing view points, but if you are wondering why I chose the MND aspect of the great man himself then it is because my mother fell foul of this beast of a disease some years back. I’ve seen it play out first hand and would never wish this on the darkest of enemies.

However, Hawking represents not giving up…ever. You can’t get more disabled and yet he has never stopped battling, striving for more knowledge and sharing it with the works. I remember looking at my mum, then at the life of Hawking and not getting jealous or envious of his longevity, despite the odds against it. Far from it, I thought fair play you. If others could see you and what you have lived through, that I too have seen, then others should not perceive anything as impossible.

My message in inspiration here is simple. Next time you see a person with a disability, addiction, mental health problem or similar. Stop and think for a moment. Is your life really that bad compared to them? If it was you would you really want people to stare, avoid or joke about you? Can you open a door, say hello, smile or offer help? Things I’ve mentioned before about neighbours and the elderly are now expands to those less fortunate than you. All I can say is take what you have now for granted at your peril. Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself…or, put another way, you reap what you sow.

Moving to a less intense message, dear reader, you may now rest easy as things move to a new phase of my own inspirations. Having left science to raise children inspirations for life took a novel twist.

 

Writing

Enter Stephen King, J,R.T Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Yates returned, Brian Lumley, the bard Shakespeare and more. Without these then storytelling might have remained latent, asleep and with a permanent Do Not Disturb Sign latched on a dormant mind door (our man Hawking again; many world theory). These orators in words opened my eyes to the possibility of crafting something for myself. To move from the factual publications of science, in a previous existence, to pastures new; grazing on fiction, as it were…ever wondered where my blog name came from?

Where this journey has taken me is, perhaps, not for some. The start point was a piece written a few years back to explore a tragedy every parent fears most. The loss of a child.

Half A Twin

This was pivotal, hard to write and maybe difficult to read. But it inspired more; Hawking many world theory and Roland Deschain of King’s Dark Tower. Many paths to many places and in fiction you journey them all. All I ask to those who read this is simple…is the child really dead in all worlds?

Thus spawned the opus magna that lies unedited; resting quietly. Not lost but waiting for the right moment. All tales leading from one idea and each thereafter developing more and more.

See, inspiration at work. A sequence of inspirational people in different places in time all directing traffic and, occasionally courting disaster if Olly The Lolly fails to turn up (reader check…know who that is?)

My other inspirations are littered in the previous challenge offerings. Quotes are inspirational. It matters not who spoke them, the messages therein are what counts. That and history; some were taken from 500 BC and the message is clear, unheeded by most, be kind, be mindful and treat others as you would do yourself. It’s not hard, so why make life difficult?

 

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This post has been long in the contriving and both difficult to distil and rushed in part due to reality interfering….no, not interfering but my normal time for pondering was taken by a kindness for which no apology is made; visiting a friend in hospital. More important than any post I might attempt to ramble. If this is rushed or incoherent or otherwise littered with strangeness then that I will apologise for.

A pleasant week my blogging friends and remember kindness costs nothing and mindfulness will stave off catastrophising. Life is short.

‘Live long and prosper’ – Spock


Β© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in: Kindness Challenge

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Former research scientist the became the primary stay at home Dad for two children. Writing has always been factual in the previous life but always had a fascination with fiction but never been brave enough to develop it further. A comfort zone thing. Science writing is familiar, fiction is not. Hopefully the blog will provide more confidence and lead to a change in career writing from home around children!

63 Comments

  1. This post really touched me. I’m so sorry about your mother that must have been such a difficult thing to witness. Well done for engaging so fully in kindness, it is the one thing in the world that is free to give, and matters the most. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Marje, since writing it I’ve stepped back a bit reflecting. Wasn’t the best time to witness but it does make you realise life is no eternal and while you are cut and healthy then we should be grateful and try to use mindfulness to its best. One day it might be too late…we must never forget that. 😊

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this post filled with such wonderful examples of people that make you want to direct your sense of purpose.

    • Long time no speak…I gather you’ve been under the weather Niki. Hope alls back to normal now. This one was quite personal but sometimes that helps with the message. 😊

      • Yes I was but I’m finally back to full health! Yes, that usually helps make the message more intense in a good way πŸ™‚ Have you seen the new Facebook page?

        • Good…nothing like illness to reset the mind into appreciating being healthy. No, not yet….been a bit slack on Facebook recently apart from responding to page notifications. Will definitely check it out later now though….send me an invite 😊

          • That’s for sure. Everyday I’m grateful for good health especially after being sick and I’m always thankful it was something that’d I’d be over soon as some have chronic issues I can’t even imagine their battles. Ok I’ll do that πŸ™‚

            • Yes, I see the change in my kids from ill to well again. I reflect on it every time. Yesterday I had to fetch junior home with a bad headache. Pale as anything and two hours sleeping it off saw a big improvement but even he commented being poorly makes you realise how healthy you are normally. I’ve seen a few terminal battles with family and friends. They too make me reflect on mortality and there but for the grace of a deity go I…

    • Thank you again Gary…although that really does sound like shameless self promotion πŸ‘» May look at the challenge but I’m just finishing a seven week kindness challenge and my first novel is due back from a proofer end of this month…I’ve also just got to write some stuff again….characters are clawing to get out 😊

    • Sincere apologies…this went into my spam folder for some reason and I’ve only just found out !!!

      Thank you for the nomination…I think that makes four for this one 😱

      Going to be tricky to blend them all together now 😊

      • It’s fine. Happens to me too, I don’t know why. No problem. Send me the link when you’re done. I’m pretty excited.πŸ™†

        • Same here…I don’t often check the spam folder but for some reason was wandering through the admin zone and spotted three in the folder. I think I best look at that moe often now! I shall ping back on your link too. Might take a while as I’ve just finished a kindness challenge that ran for seven weeks. Decided on a brief respite first 😊

  3. Gary, this is wonderful! Except for the first 2 paragraphs under Stephen Hawking. I was putting my fingers in my ears and chanting “I can’t hear you” the whole time I was reading.
    (I tried putting my fingers in my eyes, but then I couldn’t see when I got past that part.)
    Wonderful that you postponed this to visit a friend in the hospital. I sincerely hope they had a good outcome.
    Olly the Lolly, the lollipop man, the school crossing guard who was late the day Emily died. Or was it the other twin?? Sorry, I still have PTSD from reading that!
    Ok, thanks for the kindness challenge, I accept! I try to live every day grateful for everything good in my life.
    I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to re-blog part of this, just not the whole thing.
    Your poor mother, how horrible her suffering must have been. And yours, watching and unable to help.

    • Thanks Melinda….always appreciate your feedback….and figured the astro spacey stuff might go whoosh given your penchant for math….but his inclusion was not about that as you’ve found re my mum…not a great thing to go through!
      Correct re Olly except it was Chloe, not Emily πŸ‘»
      As for the reblog…you are more than welcome to do that 😊

      • You’re welcome. Haha, you know it!
        I’m so sorry you r mom, and you, and your family had to suffer that.
        Oh yeah, CHloe. But, since they’re twins, didn’t Emily die that day too????? (sorta)
        YAY! Cuz I already wrote it and scheduled it for next week! Glad you approved it! [chuckle}

        • Hmm..best not go into the other turbulent goings on 😱
          Quite correct, it is several years past that pint before Emily starts to heal.
          Oooh…scheduled too..not tried that yet πŸ€”

          • You absolutely MUST learn how to schedule!! When my BBFFJ taught me, it shone as brightly as the stars!! What a revelation!! I don’t have to stay up till midnight every night to publish?? WHAT??
            Truly, it’s a wonderful thing!

            • But then I’d have to schedule I was scheduling too….😱 I see the potential advantage mind…especially if several post are coming out…time is my problem and making best use of it..like this, coffee post school run and answering comments πŸ€”

              • Yes, sadly you must schedule the time to schedule… πŸ™
                But, I’m quite sure your schedule is totally free from say, midnight to 3 am??? Plenty of time to schedule your scheduling!
                Since I’ve learned to answer comments on my phone, I can take advantage of bits of time waiting somewhere in line. That helps a LOT!! But, my BBFFJ is your girl for time management!! She is AMAZING!!

                • Yes I know Janice rather well in blogging land. She is light years better at this stuff than me…I am but a humble writer aspiring to maybe publish…she is the traffic flow maestro….I can’t keep up with her advice though 😱 Scheduling….this is the first task now…must start learning !!!!!

                  • Oh yes, Janice is light- decades ahead of me! So, you’re doing better than me!! She is everything in blogging that I wanna be when my blog grows up!
                    IKR?? She knows so much, and gives out so much info, I get overwhelmed!!
                    Ok, listen, I learned scheduling, you can too! You can do math and stuff! So I know you’re a smart guy!
                    Grab you a cuppa java- a BIG cuppa!! And full octane- none of this decaf stuff!! I will be glad to share whatever knowledge I can, but since my footing on the ledge is pretty precarious, please don’t try to grab ahold of me! We’ll both go over the cliff!! πŸ˜‰

                    • Very true….she is….but she has a proper game plan above and beyond scheduling, although that does play a big part if you’ve loads of posts to launch. I need an email filter too….the amount is growing at an alarming rate….extrapolating into the future it will be colossal…😱
                      Ok…scheduling…how hard can it actually be…apart from optimising the best time to launch a post….

                    • Oh, the emails! At one time, I was averaging 1,000 a day!! I had to un-follow some blogs, hot foot! Others, I just turned off email notifications, and followed in my reader.
                      You can fix the blogs to go into a separate folder. No, mind you, I can not tell you HOW to do that! I just know it can be done!
                      Scheduling isn’t that hard, once you learn, I promise! Seriously, if I can do it, probably any 4 yo on the planet can do it! lol
                      Look back thru BBFFJ’s old posts, she has lots of stuff, as you know. She is extremely helpful as well. We email, and she’s always willing to walk me thru stuff.

                    • Yes she keeps giving me the links and I look at them, then stare at them some more and finally nod very unwisely before quietly closing the widow down. Emails I am going to have to thin out though.

                    • And she still has time for a blasted cruise too…not that envy is featuring large or anything but….flipping heck 😱

                    • IKR??? And here we are, sitting at our computers, on dry land. Oh, not at all!! Who wants to go on a cruise?? And relax?? And eat at a fabulous buffet all day?? And get a suntan?? Sounds like torture!! (Oh, who am I kiddin? I’m green with envy!)

                    • Well if my world tries to sink at least I will neither drown or become shark food….although sinking (metaphorical) on dry land is perfectly possible, as is being eaten by money sharks (metaphorical) so all in all I remain disadvantaged wrt relaxing, buffets and suntan…..epic fail πŸ€”

                    • Oh no!!! You’re not a fail, epic or otherwise!
                      And thanx for reminding of drowning, and SHARKS!! 2 more REAL reasons I do NOT want to go on a cruise!!

                    • You see….cruises are obviously overrated 😁

  4. Hi Gary, I really paused as I got to the Stephen Hawkings part. My husband and I created a living trust, which includes end-of-life instructions and hospital instructions. I think some consider life worthless if the person living it is limited in any way. They might think, “Why not just end it? They are not REALLY living anyway.” Stephen Hawkings very existence opposes that mentality. His life shows us that life has meaning, even if it would not be what you would choose. I believe. The technologies that keep people alive, make decision-making difficult for others who might have control over whether or not one receives those treatments. I know this is not necessarily where you might have intended your inspirational piece to go, but like you, my mind takes off on its own – going its own way. Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking article. πŸ™‚

    • It’s a very emotive discussion point in certain end game illnesses. MND for me is something I can directly relate to…locked inside a paralysed body is very hard to comprehend unless you see it physically progressing. Full sanity inside and an atrophying motor system. I don’t think anybody could tell me that someone in that situation should not consider a quick end game. But equally I can understand why people think that’s very wrong. Hawking is a unique case which is why I chose him. His existence has a very theoretical oriented research front. The power of the mind is very much the driving force there…I often puzzle what might have been if his situation were more practical based or if he were not a scientist. My mother was an excellent pianist and very practical. There was nothing to replace those things and I guess carers might not be over familiar with this disease as it’s comparatively rare. I’m hopeful technology will in the future make sufferers lives easier or research find out why the nerves start to decay. I’m also very impressed with your trust too…very worthwhile that and very admirable because end of life is a very difficult subject for many to take on board. Thank you for such an informed comment and agreed it is very thought provoking this one !

      • Actually, I can’t say that I am very trusting. I don’t have children, and I know how hard I fought for my mom’s life. I do not have anyone to fight quite that passionately for mine, so I declined to sign it just yet. I have watched too many people argue with doctors over care, only to have their loved ones recover and live several more years. On the other hand, if someone is ready to go, that is a different story. I am not ready to sign off just yet. I never let my mother sign one of those documents. I made the decisions with her until she decided that she did not want to do dialysis any longer. Her timing was perfect.

        • It’s a subject that has many avenues for differences of opinion and debate. Like I said I can see each point of view… MND though is one way traffic for the majority. It’s highly charged whenever the topic comes up. And yet very few consider it until matters enforce it so it tends to remain a quiet avoided discussion in waiting. In some ways it has no correct answers either πŸ€•

            • Good lord no…no need to apologise…this whole comments and engagement thing is to draw our opinions and discuss stuff. It means my post actually has something in it that causes people to ruminate and talk about….that’s good isn’t it? πŸ™ƒ

  5. A post dear to my heart too as my mother suffered with the same MND. Hard to watch, and living far across the ocean, pregnant and unable to fly and hug my mother was an emotional roller coaster ride I wouldn’t want to repeat yet, it was even harder for my sisters and dad to watch in person.

    Kindness in any case should be shown no matter what. I know how it feels to have people staring and finger pointing and crossing the street so no contact could be made. My father – paralyzed on his left side, speech; no longer normal and wheel chair bound from age of 41. It hurt me and I know it hurt my dad.

    Show a little kindness, even lepers need that smile πŸ™‚

    I have enjoyed each of your posts Gary and yes, this one touched a raw nerve, but it still made my nod and think…kindness goes a long way and we will never know if the smile and hello we give to that person sitting opposite in the coffee shop or the lady at the checkout with screaming children can help them get through the next 5 minutes or an hour – we will never know but it’s worth the simple gesture from us πŸ™‚

    Well done my friend on completing this Kindness challenge πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Helen, I actually thought about you whilst writing it….and a friend from back home and more recently a friends dad here…in fact I know of five people in my circles that have experience MND. I may be cursed…know me and fall ill….terrible thing that….I feel like Smithy 😱
      It’s does hurt at times yes, it may be that each post has touched someone in one way or another, but if it has created a moment of thought then all good I hope.
      Not quite done yet either…this is the final weekend there is one more kindness post to reflect with. 😁

  6. The best challenges are the ones we begin… A huge amount said here, but, you held me. If we reap what we sow I have found a blogging friend today. Have a great week.

    • Alas I do tend to get involved inside some posts, especially around this subject matter. I find a blank page, stare at it a bit and then let the ponderances flow. I too feel I have gained a new blogging friend also πŸ™ƒ

  7. Really lovely. Sorry the kindness challenge has come to an end. I hope there’s another challenge in your future we an look forward to reading about. Thanks for taking the time.

    • Thank you my friend. Not quite finished yet. This week is the final part of the challenge so one more post on this to go. It might be I continue with mindfulness as a subject though, alongside my other wordcraft. Mind you p, I have three Liebster nominations to address next…so they might collectively eek out more of my existence!

  8. This was a good read, my friend! Whatever you offer never fails to impress and enlighten. Wonderful post on inspirational kindness. Stephen Hawking is a great inspiration and a legend. As you mentioned, we do not acknowledge our abilities and sometimes fail to be kind towards people with any kind of disability. How worse can our problems be, when compared to someone who has to depend on others for mere survival, as you reminded?! Wonderful post yet again! Keep going Gary!! 😊😊

    • Thank you my friend. The choice of Hawking was very deliberate in relation to my own mum who succumbed to this disease a few years back. I do feel very strongly about kindness toward people with any form of disability, including MH. A case of be thankful for our own health rather than take it for granted, appreciate those with troubles would probably not choose to have them. I think a lot of the time we are probably better off than we think too…that zombie default mind always trying to lay it on thick and avoid the mindfull state of being in the now. Really appreciate your kindness here too 😊

  9. Gary, this is brilliant…so eloquent and genuine and, despite your other obligations, profound and 100% satisfying, You, being you, undersell yourself. πŸ™‚ Sometimes you seem to doubt that–given life’s many demands and opportunities–what you offer doesn’t reflect the value you intend…this is not the case! You owe us nothing, yet, you generously share what you have, as you have it….and, it continues to be more than enough, and more than we could expect. Thank you for sharing with us, today. No pressure…share as you can, but know that it is always a blessing. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much Truly and yes, alas I do undersell myself. It is a message people keep telling me, one tries to take it onboard! That said do any writers truly think they are any good? I reserve that right to the reader. That said I do owe it to myself to continue the blogging as often as possible and with school exams finishing this week then time will refund itself and one shall attempt to fill it with further ramblings and, perhaps, re-visit my proper writing…the novels!!!

      • Speaking for myself, sometimes I rate myself a wonderful writer (and, I give God the credit for the words he sends me)…and other times, my eroded confidence feels like a mockery… πŸ™‚ I was really excited the other day when I added a bit to my novel-in-progress, though….and, I hope to post two blog posts before the end of the week πŸ™‚ I am pleased to know you are about to have more time to write without time pressuring you mercilessly πŸ™‚

        • That’s the double edged sword….good, rubbish, good, rubbish….however every author I’ve spoken to that’s really good has similar issues so it’s, apparently, quite normal πŸ€” But new stuff added to your book? That’s brilliant!! And yes….just picked him up from the last exam…all done now 😊

  10. Today I was inspired by someone very close to home and although she hasn’t read any of your posts I think it fits beautifully with your messages of kindness, snd tolerence:

    Dear whoever is reading this,

    Life doesn’t last forever you have to be nice and do your bit on earth. No human lives forever so we should be all nice and like people for who they are. We should respect each other’s beliefs. If you believe in any god that’s fine but we shouldn’t be mean to other people about it its their life they choose what they want to be. People shouldn’t force other people to believe in what they believe in its their choice their life and their body I want to do something to make this world better before I grow old and die so I will start young. And that is what I’m doing right now.
    From

    Indi age 9

    • Most generous to share the thoughts of the youngling…they do say children are the voice of kindness and it’s the adults that forget along the journey. Up to us to rediscover the enthusiasm and pass it round…easy to say I know…very easy to say indeed.

      • I spawned this child !! It still stuns me 😊 I feel so far i must have got at least one thing , possibly two things right, Of course time will tell as the door slamming has not yet begun .

        • That’s the spirit…reminds me of a quote πŸ€”

          β€œIt’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
          “So it is.”
          “And freezing.”
          “Is it?”
          “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

          A.A. Milne

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