I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but every week I write a newsletter to my lovely subscribers. In addition, every week, I write to you via this blog. Sometimes the theme of the newsletter and the theme of the blog post are similar. But each piece of writing is unique.
I’m changing that today. I wrote a newsletter on Sunday that I found really hard, but I felt I needed to share it. After this morning’s events, I feel strongly enough to share it again, in its entirety, with you. So, for the first time ever, here’s the newsletter I sent out on Sunday.
(If you’d like to hear from me on a Sunday evening, just drop your email details in the form on this page).
Here’s the letter…
“I’m going to be honest with you – I wasn’t sure I could write to you today.
Earlier on this week, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment, and scribbled it down – I thought it would make for a great letter. But then Friday evening happened, and I wasn’t so sure anymore.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and going back and forth on it. It feels wrong to stay silent on those events. It also feels wrong to keep going over something that I know has been filling your newsfeed, and timeline and TV screen and thoughts just as much as it’s been filling mine.
So I went back and looked at what I’d scribbled midweek, and actually I think it’s even more important now to say it – so here goes…
This week I’ve been celebrating Diwali with my family and friends. Celebrating Diwali mostly consists of spending lots of time cooking the most delicious food with my mum, and then spending lots of time sharing that food with those that I love. It means lighting candles and bringing out the twinkly lights, and it means enjoying that happy, ‘fresh-start’ vibe that’s ripe with hope and joy.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of light. At Diwali we celebrate the triumph of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance, of love over hate, and the triumph of light over darkness.
One of the things I noticed over the course of the week is how kind everyone has been to each other. We’ve been more tolerant of those little niggles that family members are so good at honing in on. We’ve been keener to make an effort. We’ve been more willing to laugh. So the thing that I scribbled down was this. ‘How can I be kinder at work? How can I keep this feeling going?’
I know that I’m sometimes so focussed on getting the job done that I cut corners elsewhere – I spend less time listening to my colleagues, I isolate myself a little, so I can clear my workload. I’m not the only one. My colleagues do it too. It’s become normal. We’re all busy, we’re all stressed, we’re all working to impossible deadlines. So we all disconnect a little bit. We have less patience and tolerance. We’re more easily irritated. We might get the work done, but it makes for a less happy, more miserable work environment.
And actually, a little kindness can go a long way. What’s more, it doesn’t have to cut into my precious time too much either. So here are a few ideas I’m going to play with when I go in to work tomorrow – I’m going to pick up some coffees on the way in, I’m going to save the link to the funny cat video for a colleague who loves cats, I’m going to go out of my way to say thank you and compliment a colleague on making that extra effort. Probably not all at once. But every day, I vow to do something.
The way I see it, that’s how I can keep the light turned on. That’s how I can keep the underlying message from my week of celebrating Diwali alive. I know it’s not much, but it’s something, it’s a start, isn’t it?
In our darkest time, when we may feel that we have no control over anything, we can choose not to give up or give in. We can choose to find that one tiny spark of hope and we can nurture it. We can treat each other a little more kindly, with a little more patience, with a little more love.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King
Wishing you a week ahead full of love, light and hope.
I hope you find a way to keep the lights turned on in your heart and your world, not just today, but every day.