One word, one sentence, nine lenses into the topic.


Be kind. Everyone is on their own journey.

At Dorrier Underwood’s end-of-year retreat, we explored the subject of “kindness” through one of our favorite and most-relied upon practices: stream of consciousness free-writing*, putting pen to paper and letting thoughts pour out for 3.5 minutes. What resulted is nine raw and beautiful takes on “kindness”.

We normally wouldn’t share these raw and unedited writings, but we thought what came out of these free-write explorations might do a bit of good at the end of a year that’s been challenging for many and at the start of a year that holds equal measures of promise and uncertainty. Look for yourself in these musings. If you don’t find yourself in one, move on to the next. We offer them from our hearts to yours, wishing you a very merry holiday season and a prosperous, fulfilling new year.

From Nancy Dorrier:
Be kind, everyone is on their own journey.
Watch them travel through time, through people, through moods and points of view.
Sit with them when their dog dies and when they find out they have cancer or their spouse dies.
That, of course, evokes kindness.
But be kind when they yell at you, dismiss you, wish to turn the election around, get drunk, make sarcastic remarks in the middle of your inspired storytelling.
Be kind when they leave you.
Be kind when they don’t show up.
Be kind when they are upset about the smallest things like so many Zoom meetings, can’t find their keys, can’t get the computer to work right, can’t get through that traffic jam.
Be kind.
Be kind when they don’t return your call.
Keep being more than kind.
Reach out.
Pray for them,
Write a picture of the ideal future and pray for that.
Be on their side
Don’t gossip about them,
Be kind.
Be kind, so if they could overhear you talking, that would light them up.
“Thank you for your ‘kindment’.”
From Doug McVadon:
Be kind, everyone is on their own journey–a journey into the past together to find our future, where the children toast to the parents and we all stand amazed. The small group we are, out to change the world like Margaret Mead said. I’d better organize all these notebooks so someone can find all this after I’m gone–or else I’ll hire an assistant like Mark Twain and spend the rest of my days madly dictating so they can publish my rants and anthems and expositions a hundred years after I’m gone. I won’t be able to see the expressions on their faces in the year 2120, but they will be amazed at how smart we were, way back then…
From Jane Smith
Be kind, everyone is on their own journey. I can see mine some of the time. Rarely do I really see others in theirs. When a big thing happens, we wear it like that red coat I used to have, the one Mother made me. We can see the red coat. I had to work as an adult to see Mother’s journey, stop blaming her. 
I watch Gary, who has an amazing journey I didn’t have at his age. I see Laura and can feel her love for her brother.
I can see journeys easily if they match mine or at least resemble it, or they stand out. 
It takes work to see yours, even if I don’t, I can know you have one. That will have me be kind.
From Peter McGaugh:
Be kind. Everyone is on their own journey.
Kind, love, compassionate, caring.
Slightly different words but all pointing at the same thing – the core of connection.
I wrote recently about Jill, who died via assisted suicide recently.
She was kind-hearted, vibrant and full of life, until MS slowly started borrowing some of it away from her.
She has two kids, 26 and 24, who never knew their Mom without MS.
Her journey was an inspiring one, sharing 5 organs with others, to ensure others had a new chance at life.
Primal kindness.
From Carol Orndorff:
Be kind, everyone is on their own journey. 
It’s so easy to say and not so easy to remember. Last night, we sat across from each other, Liz and me, me and all of you, with your loved ones. 
One by one, Doug’s message was, “Toast, your turn.” Sitting with that, I kept being moved by who people came to be by the way they were being acknowledged, like an artist painting a picture, outlining her subjects, and then filling in the colors and shades and moods.
We are one big family all gathered on one screen, laughing, crying, and appreciating each other.
This is happening now in 2020 all around the world.
From Ginny Brien:
Be kind. Everyone is on their own journey. Make space for their brilliance, wait for it, encourage it like a midwife. In truth you, we are shepherding new beings into life. Why do you ask ‘what does it mean to be born again’? Aren’t you a scholar? Maybe it’s not the knowledge, it’s centering and quieting ourselves enough to massage the womb, turn the baby, calm the mother, encourage her to trust herself, her body, and the process of life. Each of us is a miracle. Donkeys don’t have layers. Onions do. And people do. I love how an onion’s skin gets translucent after you peel off the stained, dirty exterior. And often we stand crying in the kitchen, trying to remember not to rub our eyes.
From Nancy Chek:
Be kind. Everyone is on their own journey.
That’s from Sweden. From America, Ram Dass once said, “We’re all walking each other home.” Both those things can be true at the same time. I’m thinking that we might think we have more to say about our path than we do. I’m wondering if the path simply reveals itself in the walking. In any case, I notice I don’t worry about a lot anymore. Which may be self-defense. Or maybe I read the news too much. 
From Gary Davis:
Be kind. Everyone is on their own journey. 
What a band of misfits, like in Dungeons & Dragons, with elves and humans and chaotic evil and neutral good and thieves and warriors, all on a quest. But when we say we’re going to be on the same journey, how do we have our own journey at the same time? Jane said, “GPS”. Look to see if where I am going will get us where we are going. Should I really cast this spell? And if I want to include everybody, how do I enroll others in this great idea about my spell? it’s not what we do if we want a common commitment. It’s also what we sell. If we have this retreat and afterward the existence of Dorrier Underwood is altered forever, then we can sell that with confidence and pride. And if all we do is navel-gaze, then what a lot of charlatans we are.
From Laura Neff:
Be kind, everyone is on their own journey. “Everyone with no one left out. Maybe “a world that works for everyone with no one and nothing left out” could start there. This morning I said to [a client], “If 10 years from now you think back on our time together and have just a few things you remember, I hope this is one: “Anything can be repaired and/or created through being responsible for the quality of your relationships.” They say we teach what we most need to learn. I guess that phrase has stuck around for a reason. That, plus, “When one finger of blame is pointing out, there are three pointing back at me.” Remember, remember, remember.

*In this free-writing process, someone grabs a “jump-start”, a phrase or sentence from a book, poem, magazine, whatever’s around. Someone else sets a timer for a few minutes and using that jump-start as our common starting point, we dive into the topic at hand, not letting our pens stop moving until the buzzer sounds. The beauty is that we never know what’s going to come out!