I ran into lots of people today and focused on listening with my undivided attention. One "listening" that I loved was with our mailman.
We had never spoken before, but today I learned about what it's like to switch from a car with a typical American left hand drive to a mail truck with a right hand drive. According to him, parallel parking is much easier when the steering wheel is on the right.
How fun it is to consider things that have never crossed my mind before. How fun it is to connect with strangers.
After a short vacation with my parents, I returned to the country where I'm volunteering and I was missing my parents terribly. The next day, I was back at my desk and what a surprise awaited me! The smile cards I had placed an order for had arrived while I was away and were waiting for me on my desk! My day instantly lit up, I was at peace! Thoughts of how to go about sprinkling the world with kind acts began dancing in my head. The next day I took a small purse and a smile card with me with the intention of giving it to someone who really needed a surprise. Martha is a lady who cleans our office, gives us tea, food, etc. I found her in the office that morning touching her head in exhaustion as she ended a phone call. Turned out, one of her children ... Read Full Story >>
Today was a harvesting day as coolness is in the air and the garden and wood needed to be tended. So as a family we worked together, my son and his wifely one, myself and my husband.
We laid the garden to rest, thanking the soil, the sun, the rain, the seeds for growing into these amazing plants. We cut and split wood and filled our wood shed full - all working together and it felt so good.
Now we have tomatoes to ripen and can, apples and plums to process, and in the end we will give some away to people who will appreciate a fresh jar of jam or some fruit leather or....
This is one of my favorite kindnesses - to work together with my family - being warm, kind, and helpful.
Today at the store, I put my purchases on the counter to check out. As the clerk began ringing it all up, I noticed the guy behind me had one single item.
His legs were shifting back and forth, his fingers tapping, and mouth pressed. He looked annoyed.
At the end of my check out, I turned to him and offered, "I'm sorry, I did not notice you had only one item. You could have gone first."
His face softened.
His lips curved into a smile, and he replied, "Oh, that's okay."
I had goofed up by not seeing him, which rippled into some anger and impatience on his end. But an apology soothed both of our feelings, and paved the way for a more positive day.
I was stopped at a red light when I noticed a homeless guy walking towards me. This man had a sign that read "not much needed just hungry".
I didn't have any cash, all I had was my own lunch I had packed for myself. I rolled my window and said I have a banana, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottled water- it's yours if you want it. He smiled and said Thank You.
I was scared at first that maybe he was looking for something different than what I had to offer, but he walked over to his crate, sat down and ate the food. I pass him every day and everyday he smiles and mimes "Thank You".
When my daughter and I traveled home on Christmas Day we made a small gesture that still makes me smile. We had wrapped Pez dispensers and we gave one to each toll-worker we encountered, adding Merry Christmas-sorry you had to work today!
We got smiles and waves and some even leaned out of their booths to watch us leave. Those smiles and waves made it a holiday.
I took five dollars out of my wallet and paper-clipped them together with a KindSpring smile card. Setting off on my run, I looked for an ungated front porch with a freshly-delivered newspaper on it. I tucked the money and card inside the paper, and I was on my way.
I hope this surprise will remind someone today that life is brighter than the usual grim headlines!
My co-worker who is a single mom of two is one of the hardest workers I know. She never complains and she is always smiling. However, I have noticed lately that she does not eat lunch and she looks like she has lost weight.
I was worried about her so I sat down to talk to her. She opened up on how is is struggling financially and I voiced my concern about her health. She said she doesn't eat a lot because she is low on food and her first priority is to feed her children.
So last night I went and bought her groceries and a gift card for more groceries once she needs more.
Yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my new rehab doctor.I took her some freshly baked pumpkin bread. At the end of the appointment I told her how much I appreciate the fact that she read my records, asks the right questions, listens to my answers and respects the fact that I know my body and have a high degree of professional expertise in this area. She treats me the way I treated my patients.
She expressed her appreciation for my words and said it was nice to be acknowledged.
Today was my personal "volunteer day" :) First, I woke up early to walk my friend to the animal shelter a little over two miles away. Then, at the shelter, I did "cat socializing" (AKA: playing with them) for around 30 minutes before I had to leave to walk another 4 miles to the beach to volunteer in the clean-up of an Autism Speaks 5K walk. On my way there, I asked for directions and ended up getting a ride for the remaining two miles. Once I got to the beach, I helped clear tables and spent a couple hours picking up garbage (there was a lot!). Afterwards, I turned to go back home and ended up getting a ride back to the animal shelter, where I spent another 40 minutes doing "cat socializing" :) before going home with my roommate/classmate/friend. On top of that, our professor offered us a ride home. I also ... Read Full Story >>
I belong to a women's group, and I am very grateful for the love, support, laughter and inspiration it provides for me.
Feeling overwhelmed for the women in this group and the space of care that we carve out for each other, I took my jewelry making skills and supplies, and made something special for each woman in my group.
During our group today, a special, anonymous gift will go out to each member, along with a smile card. I'm glad to have the opportunity to let each woman know that they are loved and appreciated, just for being who they are. :)
A friend and fellow teacher and I were talking, making plans after attending the Greater Good Summer Institute in Berkeley this summer. We both work in an inner-city elementary school, where needs are great and burnout is high. We wanted to try an experiment to see if we could begin a movement toward a more compassionate, kind community, and in the process, renew ourselves. This is how the Kindness Coalition was born. We submitted the idea to KindSpring, and won the monthly prize! In the two months that have passed, amazing things have taken root. We began by giving everyone on staff a personally grown, small potted plant, along with a kindness quote, and encouragement to pass it forward. Since then, we buy small gifts and anonymously place them in mailboxes or workspaces, along with a quote and a tag from the Kindness Coalition. We keep track of people we've tagged, and ... Read Full Story >>
Today, my friend and I went to the post office to mail a package to an old friend. She teaches religion, and we make red, white, and blue rosaries in honor of our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our friend had expressed interest in our handmade rosaries, and asked if we could send some of these specific ones.
While we in line at the post office, I heard a woman begin to choke. Alarmed, I asked her if she needed water or anything else. She explained that she had asthma, and would be alright.
Even though nothing needed to be done, it made me feel good to show concern for a neighbor to the same degree and quality that I would home someone would show for me, if I ever needed it. The more I offer these small gestures of support, the friendlier the world seems to be. :)
I was traveling on the London underground subway, and got off at my destination station. I started climbing up the stairs when I saw a couple carrying luggage up the stairs. They were each dragging two heavy bags up the stairs. The gentleman was doing a decent job, but the lady was struggling to lift them. I offered to help her, but she said that it was really heavy. I still insisted to help. Then, I squatted, lifted the bag from the wheels side, and together we smoothly carried the distributed weight up the stairs.
By doing it together, it took us less than a minute to reach up the stairs, and we were able to avoid further wear and tear to the bag!
The couple thanked me, and as I was walking away, I heard them talking about how we still have such sweet people who help others. :) I smiled and said to myself, "You should visit kindspring.org to find a world full of them!"
Gratitude for all of you, for inspiring me to grow in kindness!
When I had my knee replacement surgery 3 years ago, I was having a particularly bad night because of a pinched nerve in my lower back. I will never forget the kindness of the nurse that I had that night. He went above and beyond to help relieve my pain and discomfort.
So, to pay it forward, I talked to the nurses at the oncology center where I go with my friend for chemo every week and have made plans to bring in treats or something to brighten the drab, colorless room once a week.
This week I am filling small colorful "favor" boxes with treats for each patient and in subsequent weeks, I plan to make cookies, buy bouquets of balloons for each aisle, and provide some Halloween treats for the patients.
I had a bit of fun at my local store today.
As I was checking out with just my normal purchases, I decided to tuck a $1 bill and a Smile Card between two boxes of candy bars in the check out line.
I hope whoever finds it enjoys a good chocolate bar half as much as I do!!
I've packed a bag full of toys to send to Great Ormond Street children's hospital. My partner and I set out to buy toys for different ages and a mixture for boys and girls.
I really wanted to be involved with the spirit of giving, especially for those people who may not get to enjoy the festive season like most of us can. Many of these children have long term illnesses and so I hope to make them all smile and remind them that they are being thought about.
A year back, my friend and I had gone to a nearby town to attend a wedding. After the reception, we were waiting for a public transport bus to go back home. It was nine o'clock at night, and although many buses passed, none stopped. We waited for an hour and were getting desperate. We wouldn't be able to stay overnight because it was a weekday, and we both needed to work the next day. It was almost 10pm when a family who had attended the same wedding passed by in their car. Probably sensing that we were waiting for some means of transport, they stopped and gave us a lift. I was so overwhelmed by their kindness, and I expressed my gratitude to them. When we reached my hometown, the family dropped us at the nearest point from where we could catch a shared rickshaw to get back to the spot we ... Read Full Story >>
I made a lovely pair of faceted carnelian earrings with 14k goldfill wire spirals and popped it into a mailer with a birthday card to mail it off to someone who will never ever expect it.
She's a lovely young woman with much heart and strength. I gift my earrings constantly and donate them for fundraising auctions etc. My personal goal is to give a pair to every powerful wonderful beautiful woman I know.
Using yarn that's been donated to our elementary school, our third-grade knitting club makes little knit caps for premature newborns. I just finished a striped one (see photo), and one of my students put the pompon on it. :) Today, I started another-- a little yellow one.
A simple knit cap is an essential tool to help keep newborn babies warm, especially if they are of a low birth-weight and don't have access to things like caps and incubators. It takes about two hours to knit this life-saving measure for a baby in need, and it fills our hearts with immeasurable love to think that we are positively impacting the world of another family, nearby or worlds away.
Here's a sweet six-minute video story about it, with our students' voices. :)