Day Two: The Kindness Challenge

Today, the second day of the KindLab experiment, I am a little more prepared for the series of acts. They are the same as the selection yesterday, however, I tried to switch it up a bit. Tomorrow, I will discuss their method for surveying you after the day is complete.

Read a poem

The poem, “A Dialogue of Self and Soul” discusses the tension between bodily life (the destitution of bodily life put forth by the Soul) and the idea that poetry compensates for this destitution (put forth by the Soul) in a conversation. Written by W.B. Yeats in the decade before his death, around 1939, discusses the aspirations of the self – to be unique, individualist and free – and the soul – to surrender to God. It tries to reconcile the two, for a more scholarly, knowledgable reading, read Joseph S. O’Leary. An awesome, audio version is Tom O’Bedlam’s version.

A Dialogue of Self and Soul – A poem by W.B. Yeats

My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;
   Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
   Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
   Upon the breathless starlit air,
   Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
   Fix every wandering thought upon
   That quarter where all thought is done:
   Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?
My Self. The consecrated blade upon my knees
   Is Sato’s ancient blade, still as it was,
   Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass
   Unspotted by the centuries;
   That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn
   From some court-lady’s dress and round
   The wooden scabbard bound and wound,
   Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn.
My Soul. Why should the imagination of a man
   Long past his prime remember things that are
   Emblematical of love and war?
   Think of ancestral night that can,
   If but imagination scorn the earth
   And intellect its wandering
   To this and that and t’other thing,
   Deliver from the crime of death and birth.
My Self. Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it
   Five hundred years ago, about it lie
   Flowers from I know not what embroidery—
   Heart’s purple—and all these I set
   For emblems of the day against the tower
   Emblematical of the night,
   And claim as by a soldier’s right
   A charter to commit the crime once more.
My Soul. Such fullness in that quarter overflows
   And falls into the basin of the mind
   That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind,
   For intellect no longer knows
   Is from the Ought, or Knower from the Known
   That is to say, ascends to Heaven;
   Only the dead can be forgiven;
   But when I think of that my tongue’s a stone.
My Self. A living man is blind and drinks his drop.
What matter if the ditches are impure?
What matter if I live it all once more?
Endure that toil of growing up;
The ignominy of boyhood; the distress
Of boyhood changing into man;
The unfinished man and his pain
Brought face to face with his own clumsiness;
The finished man among his enemies?—
How in the name of Heaven can he escape
That defiling and disfigured shape
The mirror of malicious eyes
Casts upon his eyes until at last
He thinks that shape must be his shape?
And what’s the good of an escape
If honour find him in the wintry blast?
I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch,
A blind man battering blind men;
Or into that most fecund ditch of all,
The folly that man does
Or must suffer, if he woos
A proud woman not kindred of his soul.
I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.


Watch an online lecture/talk

Recently, I have joined an online course through edX . A course, through Columbia, on the Mudrackers which explores the role of investigative journalism in discovering and exposing stories of corruption, social ills such as urban poverty and unsafe working to raise public awareness. The course is in its third week and some of the awesome resources that they have suggested are below, it also gives you an idea of what Mudracking is, the course content and how it is beneficial to the democracy in a global world.


Meditate (minimum 10 minutes)

Like yesterday, I meditated for 12 minutes using the Buddhist Meditation Trainer while listening to Moby’s meditation music today I mediated to LA 2: Long Ambients 2 Calm. Sleep.

Play a song you love and dance to it

Today’s song to listen and dance to is Sinead O’Connor’s, Daddy I’m Fine. I thought it would be great to immerse myself in Irish-related art today.


Watch something you normally wouldn’t

After the brilliant animation yesterday, I thought it would be good to watch another genre of movie today. I chose a documentary entitles, The Economics of Happiness – following the kindness and happiness theme I am currently exploring.

An important quote from the movie, quoting Vandana Shiva, “Lonely people have never been happy people. And globalization is creating a very lonely planet.” The Economics of Happiness explores how today’s global crises such as climate change and terrorism with personal malaise such as depression and the pervasive emptiness of consumer society, essentially spelling out the social, spiritual and ecological costs of today’s global economy.

The film was released in 2011 and was directed by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick, and John Page, and produced by Local Features (formerly the International Society for Ecology and Culture). Read Kristy Leissle’s Film Review: The Economics of Happiness


Listen to a different radio station/music

In trying to embrace different sorts of music I gave Miley Cyrus’ “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz” an attempt. Although it was an interesting experiment, the overall album was not my taste. That said, I applaud her for taking a risk in experimenting with her music.

Although it is not the type of music I would buy, or listen to regularly, it was an interesting experience. I enjoy her role as activist and philanthropist far more, however. An interesting review I read about the album was in Pitchfork, written by Meaghan Garvey.


Read a different paper/news website

Today, I became aware of a news site, Sahara Reporters, a brilliant news site that shares news from Africa with a focus on Nigeria. It is a wonderful example of citizen journalism and mudracking in Africa.

An article that I found interesting, mostly because of the lack of representation on traditional news sites, was about the kidnapping of two German nationals.

Other suggestion (your own novel act)

As my novel act today, I did 20 minutes of yoga. As a beginner, I have started using the yoga app, Down Dog, which I really enjoy. I enjoy how this app gives a studio-like yoga experience within the comfort of your own home. It also has an amazing playlist and each time you can choose the length of the session, to suit your lifestyle. In addition, Down Dog creates a brand new vinyasa yoga sequence so you never get bored.

Other Suggestions:

I was unable to take part in these suggestions today, however over the course of the week I will attempt them.

  • Put some money in your savings account/save for a rainy day
  • Take an afternoon nap
  • Write a letter asking for a free trial of something
  • Plant a tree or a flower or a plant
  • Pamper yourself (e.g. have a glass of champagne in the bath)
  • Clean/clear an area of your home for 30 minutes
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a bath in the morning
  • Bake something from scratch
  • Take yourself to the movies
  • Eat a different lunch
  • Take a different route to work
  • Wear something different, e.g. tie/no tie

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