It’s past eight in the evening when I came out of the mall and it began to drizzle. I continued walking as I needed to cross the highway to board a bus. A few minutes later, the rain poured a little harder. I walked fast and put the brown envelope on top of my head to protect it from the rain. Then the rain drops became bigger. I walked even faster and held onto the envelope, though I knew I’d get wet sooner before I reach the bus. But suddenly, I heard someone calling me from behind. “Miss,” she said and motioned to share her umbrella with me. “Thank you,” I replied and was silent for a few seconds, surprised by such act of kindness from a stranger. “What’s your name,” I asked so I could acknowledge her. “Diane,” she replied. I told her that she was so kind. She just smiled. Then I asked ... Read Full Story >>
I entered medical school in 1967 to use medicine as a vehicle for social change. I used my free time to study the history of health care delivery around the world and to look at contemporary models with the idea of creating a medical model that would address all the problems of the way care is delivered. I didn't intend to create a model that would be the answer to the problems; but to model creative problem solving, and to spark each medical facility to design their own ideal rather than succumb to the garbage of managed care, or a resignation to the impossibility of humanistic care. Beginning in the climate of the political "war on poverty," I felt confident that a free hospital to serve the poorest state, West Virginia, would find easy funding and that we would be built in four years. I smile writing this as we ... Read Full Story >>
It was the early 1990s. During the bleak years of the Bosnian war, the Serbian Army surrounded the city seeking it's surrender and the expulsion of all non-Serbians. The residents, with a minimal volunteer and civilian militia, were unorganized but mounted a spectacularly brave defense. From around the world, many people converged to help them. It was an almost magnetic pull to serve a valiant and vulnerable expression of our human experience. I was one amongst those who came. Fueled by Hemingway and feeling much like the Spanish Civil War, international brigade volunteers were driving ambulances around town. And yet it was resident foreigners who were causing the most distress in their hurry to leave the besieged city. The strong passports allowed most to escape the darkest days, and to sojourn on the Dalmation coast filling their memoirs with a few notes, before going home. A few of us, though, stayed during ... Read Full Story >>
It was in the early 1970s that I was employed by Rockwell in Downey on the space shuttle program. The pressure to produce was intense with constant demands to meet schedules with teams of people of disparate skills and motivation. I had been involved in the Gurdjieff work for a short time and was beginning to experience a bit of the calm that comes from the meditation practice. At lunch time, my habit was to walk around the area adjacent to the test facility. One day while so occupied, I came across a small strip mall that had a space rented to a branch of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation organization. Having a bit of curiosity about the technique, I entered the facility and spoke with a pleasant and slightly plump young woman who appeared to be quite calm. Although it was not my interest to sign up for the courses ... Read Full Story >>
When I first heard about Smile Cards through my pseudo room-mate, I thought it was a brilliantly novel idea - making someone smile and then asking them to do the same for one more person. I tried tagging some people with the cards and only then realised that it is tougher for us by nature to really do something nice. But then once you start, our own expectation rises and what we would have considered nice early on would then become a norm, and thus challenging oneself to go beyond that. I then got the opportunity to ship these Smile Cards to other people like me who wanted to share the smiles. I thought this would be great to do because not only was I 'volunteering' my time, I was also helping make a difference without leaving the confines of my four walls, and so I jumped on the idea. ... Read Full Story >>
In a Chinese modern dance competition on TV one very unique couple won one of the top prizes. The lady, in her 30's, was a dancer who had trained since she was a little girl. Later in life, she lost her entire left arm in an accident and fell into a state of depression for a few years. Someone then asked her to coach a children's dancing group. From that point on, she realized that she could not forget dancing. She still loved to dance and wanted to dance again. So, she started to do some of her old routines, but, having lost her arm, she had also lost her balance. It took a while before she could even make simple turns and spins without falling. Then she heard of a man in his 20s who had lost a leg in an accident. He had also fallen into the usual denial, depression ... Read Full Story >>
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the ... Read Full Story >>
1. Daughter lifts a car from her dad's chest and saves his life. When Lauren Kornack, 22, found her father Alec, 52, pinned beneath his car in their garage, she knew she had to act fast. According to CNN, her superhuman powers kicked in as she lifted the 2,000 pound car from his chest and pulled him out from underneath. A trained lifeguard, Lauren immediately performed CPR in order to get his heart beating again. According to Kristen Kornacki, Lauren's sister, Alec had been working on the car when the jack holding it up slipped. Lauren found him stuck beneath the car, unresponsive. Though he suffered broken ribs, numbness and fractures, Alec suffered no permanent physical damage thanks to Lauren's astounding strength. 2. Little boy learns the alphabet and uses it to help save father's life. Nathaniel Dancy Jr., 5, had recently learned the alphabet at school when his father suffered a stroke and had an ... Read Full Story >>
When an engaged couple calls off the wedding, it is usually a time of sadness and anger. But one family in Atlanta found a way to turn a terrible situation into a beautiful one. Carol and Willie Fowler's daughter Tamara was set to get married at the Villa Christina catering hall, when the wedding was called off just 40 days before the event. Initially the Fowlers were upset to hear that the lavish gathering they had planned and paid for was not going to happen. Then they had a genius and generous idea: They invited 200 of the city's homeless to feast on the four-course meal that would have been part of Tamara's wedding reception. The Fowler family called Elizabeth Omilami from the Hosea Feed the Hungry organization for her help in getting the group together. At first Omilami thought she was being pranked! Carol Fowler said that even daughter Tamara ... Read Full Story >>
When I was growing up in Sierra Leone, Sunday dinners were special. My mom would spend hours making delicious food for dinner and the mouth-watering aroma would fill the house.
In between games, my siblings and I would anxiously check the kitchen to see if dinner was ready. When dinner was done, my mom filled several baskets of food for various families in the neighborhood.
Of course, we wanted to eat first and then deliver the baskets. But my mom would gently insist that we first deliver the food and when we got back, we could all sit down and eat dinner. She pointed out that if we waited to deliver the food after we had dinner, the food we delivered would be cold.
In a simple way, she taught us that giving is not just for when it’s convenient.
Two of my dear friends got married last Saturday, May 2nd -- a special date for the wonderful souls. But what it was even more special was their intention: "We would like our wedding, and in fact our entire marriage to be about creating more good in the world." When I got their *personalized* wedding invitation exuding love, creativity and inspiration, my heart was instantaneously filled with gratitude and joy. Circumstances didn't allow me to attend their wedding in person, but I tried to celebrate their union in a unique way. Ever since I received their invitation, two and half months ago, I thought about this wonderful couple -- every day, twice a day actually. I thought of the fusion of these two beautiful hearts, and I sent along my secular blessings. (I guess I took the inscription on their wedding invite literally: "No gifts please - Your Blessings is our Gift"). That ... Read Full Story >>
It was a beautiful morning and I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and go out for a walk. I was feeling grateful for the fresh air, sun shining, and birds chirping and all of a sudden came across this sign on the sidewalk! It said "good morning, go on an adventure, make a stranger smile".
What a wonderful and unexpected message to read! Random acts of kindness come in so many different shapes and forms, I'm scheming of how to pay it forward this week!
Some beautiful stories of Easter acts of kindness, as reported by Smile Group members of HelpOthers.org ... trionafaye shared: "Made some Easter sugar cookies. Shared them with the staff at the nursing home for the great care they provide for my mother but to offer them a little treat, as they have worked the Easter holiday." wooka85257 shared:"made my 93 year old mother an Easter basket and set it on her walker to find in the morning. She was like a little kid... exclaiming over all the chocolates and the goodies inside. Happy, happy!" HappinessCountsT shared:"Helped my mom to set up my little sisters princess Easter basket. I also gave her old pink Easter basket cause she's turning four years old on Tuesday" HappyDae shared:"Put a little Easter Basket of candy on the kitchen table with an "I love you" card for my sweet husband to find. He was so surprised...Big Smile!!" Jennypoo shared:"My son and I hid colorful plastic eggs filled ... Read Full Story >>
While at the supermarket this morning, waiting on line to pay for my groceries, I noticed the flowers by the counter (because of my DailyGood reminder which suggested buying flowers for the cashier!). All of a sudden, I remembered that it had been months since I have been wanting to do something special for my downstairs neighbor who has climbed the stairs numerous times to let me know that I left my car lights on! So I decided to buy her a bouquet of flowers to thank her, and bought a second one for myself. As I got back home, I found the Waste Management truck in my parking spot, with the garbage man picking up the building's trash. My first reaction was to feel annoyed that I had to wait till he was done before I could park and get upstairs (I was feeling hungry and looking forward ... Read Full Story >>
A subtle, poignant and charming film about the need for deeper connections in our lives.
If you ask yourself, are you somebody's favorite person, what would be your response? Perhaps you can forward this video to your favorite person.
Last December, following the Friday night performance of our Winter Solstice Celebration, my wife Chez had gone to the Cathedral parking lot to get some gear before taking a taxi to our hotel. When I finally got to the hotel a couple of hours later, Chez realized she was missing a small bag and was sure she’d left it on the ground outside the car. So I said I’d go back and look for it. It was quite a dark and wintry night, and when I arrived back at the Cathedral around 1:30am, the whole area was deserted. I found the all-night security guard and asked him to unlock the gate to the parking lot for me. We walked back to Amsterdam Ave. and up past the front of the Cathedral to the north lot entrance. We were about 50 yards into the lot when we heard a woman’s voice calling ... Read Full Story >>
"There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness. " -- Dalai Lama Ever year, we are amazed by every-day stories of kindness, compassion, warmth, and love that fills this space with inspiration and hope. We are grateful for having such an amazing community to grow together with and spread ripples of kindness throughout the world. Here are the top 10 stories of 2012! My Sneaky Mirror of Kindness High school is always full of girls who have little self-confidence and lots of negative thoughts relating to self-image. so, one lunch break, I did something to help! With the help of some friends I made a giant love heart on the girl's bathroom mirror! It was made out of love heart shaped sticky notes with kind messages on each of them. The school was buzzing with chatter about the "Love Heart ... Read Full Story >>
It was late one night when I got an email from the states. It was my friend John who, as usual, had an idea. This one was about the power of connectedness. John was taken with the notion that he could, by sitting at his computer, with only a few small movements of his fingers, could affect change on the other side of the world. “In ten seconds,” he wrote, “I sent an email to my friend in Boston, asking him to go down to the street and give a watermelon to the first person he saw. And he did.” John, of course, wanted to illustrate the power of connectivity with a more compassionate experiment. “Please go find a needy person and give them $20 [1,000 Indian rupees, at the time]. If you can, try to see how it changes their life and let me know.” On our last afternoon in Ahmedabad, ... Read Full Story >>
Heather asks, "A friend mentioned to me that research shows that a certain number of acts of kindess a week "sticks"--creates the positive habit. Do you know of this, or similar, research?" So we thought we'd compile some useful resources for Heather and the rest of you, thanks to our friends at DailyGood. Altruism: a Neural Kick from Within: What motivates people to act anonymously kind? Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, wanted to find exactly that -- the neural basis for unselfish acts. So they decided to peek into the brains of 19 volunteers who were choosing whether to give money to charity, or keep it for themselves. They found that the part of the brain that was active when a person donated happened to be the brain's reward center -- the mesolimbic pathway -- responsible for doling out the ... Read Full Story >>
The Dallas Morning News reported a heartwarming story today, for all of us sports fans: A homeless man who goes by Doc was cashing in change at a Cinemark Theatre in Dallas when a guy walked up and offered to pay his way into the movie. He planned to spend his day passing out fliers and accepted a rain check before realizing that he recognized the generous gentleman. "Was that Tony Romo?" Doc asked the worker behind the counter. It sure was. Doc, who requested that his real name not be used, hustled across the street to the consignment store that paid him to occasionally pass out fliers and requested the day off. By the time he got back to the theater, Role Model had already started. Romo, who confirmed the story but didn't want to elaborate, waved Doc over to sit by him and his friend. Doc sheepishly mentioned that he hadn't showered ... Read Full Story >>