So much pain in the world. I haven’t been able to write because of the distress of those around me at various times over the last few weeks.

I am still stuck on two particular conversations where people openly shared things that hurt my heart. My heart hurt not for me but for the way some people get treated by others.

These conversations contained such different pain, received and responded to in such different ways.

One involved a greedy person profiteering off the desperation of a disenfranchised and powerless person.

The other involved a shared exploration of the way others dismiss and invalidate highly skilled and qualified professionals, who do things differently. They/we do things differently because we are neurodivergent, or more specifically, autistic.

I am tired of the pain of exploitation and discrimination, mainly because it is not right. But also because I feel the pain of those on the receiving end and it hurts me. I can’t fix it, and even though I am meant to have stopped trying to rescue everyone, it turns out I still want to bring them respite from their pain even if I can’t provide any solutions.

And yet there was also two moments of shared connections with total strangers that eased a little bit of the pain of judgement that they seemed to be experiencing. In each of these moments, a highly stressed person was trying to talk reasonably to a screaming young person. In one moment I interacted with the child. In the other with the adult. But in both cases my gentle smile and total lack of judgment brought a smile from the adult.

We need more kindness in the world. When we hear people share stories where they are being dismissed as less than or stories where they are being taken advantage of, we need to do two things. Firstly we need to really hear the pain and offer validation and second we need to ask what we can do to provide support.

I forgot to ask what I could do for the undervalued autistic professionals because they kept apologising for being so upset and I couldn’t stop telling them they had a right to be upset and I was just honoured that they felt safe enough to share their pain with me and how sorry I was they were experiencing this.

For the other I spent five minutes fixing something that someone else had charged a month’s salary for. A month’s salary for the sole income earner in a low income family. Think about that. To provide a totally useless document, that the person could not tell was useless due to their own literacy challenges. I am still angry about that. That is food that cannot be bought, bills that cannot be paid. For nothing but greed. I spent five minutes to produce a document that was for for purpose. For free because I couldn’t ask them to spend any more money on something they had already paid so much for.

I get people have to earn a living but it should not be at the expense of anyone else. Please think about your actions and how they impact others. Pain is rarely short lived and rarely does it just go. Instead the pain accumulates over time and builds and builds, diminishing the light and spark in the spirit, hurting our wairua. Mana comes from building others up not from breaking them down.

I miss you my beautiful wife, dead and gone for over a year now. You spent your life building others up, me included and I thank you for that. Your legacy has left me changed. I am kinder and I do few others pain more and I am even more determined to make the world a better place than it was when I entered it. Arohanui