It has been exactly 182.5 days since the start of this project marking the perfect halfway point in the year, on a personal note it is also my 5th OMHG anniversary and my beloved Canada's birthday. I'm celebrating by focusing our next month on the central theme of my work and the quality I've built a life, business, and community around for the last five years. Have you found value in this project or OMHG? Invest in this goodness by giving what you can here. After the serious work of citizenship we did in June prepare for a month of playfulness, delight, and the simple grace to be found in goodness!
Goodness is the simple magic we make for each other with our heads, hearts, and hands. A moment of comfort, a blanket hand stitched with memories, a light in the darkness.
So why is goodness is so misunderstood or mistaken for niceness? Niceness is syrupy sweet falseness that wants all things comfortable and pleasant, polite surface smiles with no depth. Niceness is a fast food burger when goodness is stone soup with vegetables pulled from the community garden.
Nice is telling a friend who has just learned they have a terminal illness “Aw hon I’m so sorry, there there. Can I get you a tissue?”
Goodness is saying “I love you, thank you for telling me. I’ll be by tomorrow to bring a meal and take the kids for the day, call me anytime. I’m here for you.” And then actually showing up.
Goodness isn’t always nice, pleasant, easy, comfortable or effortless. It is a choice to face each day (including the darkness that creeps into all our lives, whether it is a personal loss or a public tragedy) without bitterness or contempt but with bright eyes, hearts and hands open wide.
Goodness matters because no matter how many perfectly styled photos we take, or how carefully we curate our existence, under the surface shine we still live in a world where horrible things happen every. single. day. Without goodness we might cuddle up into cozy tribes of sameness and not worry if our life raft is provisioned for everyone.
Goodness calls us to action, to not avert our eyes, hold our tongues, or withhold our help. It is a reminder that everyone and everything is worthy of goodness, yes, even or most especially the ones who offend us or our ideas of what is right and good and true. Yes, even, or most especially ourselves. Goodness is everyone’s birthright and responsibility.
Goodness has no religion or politics, no gender, or color, socio-economic status or moral high ground, it isn’t competitive and doesn’t care about status or influence. You can’t buy goodness with money or prestige, only with currency of the heart.
Goodness is not reserved for the elite few who make history like Buddha or Mother Teresa, it is for all of us willing to pay for the remarkable grace of being alive by simply being good to each other and the places we live.
Goodness should never be confused for beauty (though it can be beautiful) or sweetness (though it can be so sweet), since it can show up even in concentration camps or the rankest alleyways appearing anywhere people are willing to do the work of turning toward each other instead of away.
For goodness is hard work–crafted with love, time, and intention. It is shoveling driveways for elders, bouncing a neighbors colicky baby, pulling weeds for a sick co-worker, harvesting community food for the winter, reaching out when you’d rather pass by, or setting aside judgement to be there for someone else.
Goodness is also the way the sun lights up the forest, a smile lightens a heavy heart, a warm hug gives strength to go on, a new skill can be passed on, or how a child’s hand feels in yours. Goodness is a belly laugh so rich it will fill you up better than a double fudge chocolate cake and leave you wanting nothing. Goodness will always make room for you at the table.
Goodness is nourishment, the deep rich marrow, the juicy sweet centre of being human and alive on this imperfect planet.
Goodness matters because if it doesn’t then what does?
Download the Goodness package of monthly worksheets for #365DaysOfPresence
"What Is Goodness" originally published on OMHG September 2014