It's also an image of opportunity. Over the next weeks, fitness clubs will boom with those in search of body training.
Where are those signing up for kindness training? I have never signed such a list.
Mostly, I traffic in words of advice rather than acts of Love. I am Woody Allen's proverbial Rabbi Blitzstein who dispenses counsel he himself ignores.
With discouraging self-talk, I find myself wondering why my life is so desperate to hold on to itself. Why, now that my career is over, am I still fond of breathing and passionate for peaks when the abyss cuts so deeply?
At each click of the clock my heart will stock up another cupboard full of scars if I allow it to dwell in the pool of self-pity.
See the stars? How content they are in their shining.
And there stands the embattled sailor. How intent he is on conquering the sea when he could choose to slide his hand into the silver horn and ring out kindness.
Kind acts need not be grand. Small gestures can change lives.
That is the song that rings from Naomi Shihab Nye in words that echo Love:
"Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,/ You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing./ You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth."
If there is one thing veteran caregivers know, it is "the size of the cloth." No heart stocks a greater cupboard of scars then that of the healing caregiver.
Think not only of Mother Theresa but of her anonymous colleagues. The back streets of Calcutta hold need. It is there that the bell of kindness can ring clear - or hang silent.
Need stalks the corridors of every hospital, nursing home and hospice. It calls, as well, from your own home.
First, the face in the mirror must have kindness.
"Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore," Nye writes. "...only kindness ties your shoes and...raises its head/ from the crowd of the world to say/ It is I you have been looking for,/ and then goes with you everywhere/ like a shadow or a friend."
You will ring the bell of kindness many times this year. Begin by ringing it for yourself each morning before you sail into the sea that needs you.
Photograph - Reaching into the Horn - copyright Erie Chapman 2011