As the old adage goes, it is physically easier to smile than to frown. However, it still takes work and those muscles need to be exercised regularly. There is also the evolutionary idea that we are hard-wired to be more sensitive to negative than positive events and situations. A quick perusal of the news seems to back this up.
In a hope to push back against this second statement and create more of the first, I recently spent 3 days in New York City wandering the boroughs and meeting folks from all walks of life. Folks who reaffirmed my belief that humans are capable of incredible generosity, hopefulness and connection despite differences in worldviews. I was given small glimpses into the lives of individuals whose daily routines were vastly different from mine and the sheer density of people left me dizzy.
While sitting outside of the store “Back to the Land” in Park Slope (Brooklyn), not 20 minutes since rising out of Atlantic Terminal, an artist named Storm engaged me in conversation while I was drawing a version of Yeastie on some tossed aside cardboard. His reaction to my mark making was pure joy.
Later that day in Bushwick at “Food City”, I met Mario. I ambushed him a bit, since I’d seen him walk up to our kegerator to fill several growlers with our kombucha. What followed was a conversation that left me filled with a renewed sense of empathy. His appreciation for what we do was truly touching. Needless to say, the smiles were easy.
The 3 days were filled with multiple vignettes like these. Most often entailing spotlights of humanity that shone brighter than the shadows the daily news often throws. These encounters are the bedrock with which we hope our “Be Nice to Each Other Out There” messaging is rooted. In an ideal world it should be taken for granted that courtesy and respect for our fellow earthly inhabitants is a given. We shouldn’t need to remind one another that we all have the power to make someone’s day, week or year with a kind comment or gentle look of recognition. But until that day comes we should exercise our kindness muscles regularly and encourage others to do the same.
In this spirit, we are releasing the 2nd installment of our “Be Nice” bulk bottles. Keep an eye out for the green sea turtle and yellow tang, which live within the same ecosystem. The yellow tang spends it’s time feeding off of the ectoparasites and green algae that builds up on the carapace of the turtle. The yellow tang is fed and fattened while the turtle gets a cleaner shell, which reduces friction in the water and leads to less parasites. Good news for each.
With a hug and open mind,
P.s. An added plate of gratitude needs to be served to Christian Schider, who led me through the jungle and showed me the ways of the city while also flexing his kindness muscles like an 80’s Schwarzenegger