i think everyone tries to make some sense of this world. no matter who you are, i believe that you have a part in this world. everyone really does play a part in this world. it dosen't matter if you are the president, a king, or a soul living in poverty; we are all human and we all matter. i believe that if we can all use our heads and hearts as one, and we stop being so into ourselves we really can make a difference. i know people will say, that will never happen, nothing you say can change people, it will always be the same. but "never doubt that a small group of people can't change the world, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." so i am challenging anyone who wants to, brighten someone's day, say hello to somone you don't normally talk to. simple acts of ... Read Full Story >>
This may seem a small thing, but to me, at the time, it meant everything. I had been downtown with a job counselor who was helping me choose an interview outfit. Part of this program, that helps people with disabilities get jobs, was a clothing voucher. So my counselor and I headed to a store, parked in the garage and got our parking stickers stamped with the time we thought we needed. Well, you put 2 women picking out clothes with a strict budget and that too, during a sale ... and what you get is "overtime". My counselor left just before me, so when I went to leave, sure enough, I had overstayed the time allowed by the stamped ticket, and owed $3.00. I had no cash with me, as I had forgotten to grab some change before leaving, and was otherwise broke and overdrawn at the bank. So while three dollar ... Read Full Story >>
While attending my 16 year old's high school track meet, I noticed that one of his teammates was running the events in regular sneakers. So, I asked my son about it later on and he told me that the kid couldn't afford "spikes". I'm a single mom and being able to afford equipment for sports has been tough at times. My son and I are very fortunate to have a very supportive family that always pulls together when one of the kids needs something. It was obvious my son's teammate needed the help of some extended family. So, my son and I came up with a plan that would allow us to help the kid without embarrassing him. The next day my son approached his teammate and told the boy that his uncle bought him a pair of spikes that were the wrong size. My son asked his teammate his size and when he told him it was size eleven, my son said coincidentally ... Read Full Story >>
We had some guests visit us from East Africa -- a 65-year plus father and his 40-year-old daughter were in Mumbai for the father's heart check up. When they were returning home from the suburbs, their cab got in an accident that caused the father to hit his forehead on the metal dashboard. Profuse bleeding ensued, and the daughter, in a state of panic, had no idea what to do. She gave her father a cloth bag to hold against the bleeding and went hunting for another vehicle to take them to a hospital. Sadly, the people passing by were busy with their lives and did not come to the aid of our guests. Suddenly, an angel seemed to appear out of no where. Cassandra, a guest relations co-coordinator at a top hotel in Mumbai, helped them not only find another vehicle to get them to the hospital, but also went with them even though she ... Read Full Story >>
One year my daughter had a teacher that many children in the school didn't like very much. I was also in the school and knew both that children did not like her, but I knew she was a good teacher, although demanding. My daughter came to me asking that I have her placed in another class saying, "All the kids in school hate her, mom. You've got to get me out of there." I issued a challenge instead and asked her to find out what would happen if she said something nice to the teacher every day. I told her she find one compliment even if she might have to stretch it and say, "My you have pretty fingernails today. Or what a lovely belt you have." She was soon laughing as we came up with more ridiculous things she could say. She really did take my advice seriously and did give her a ... Read Full Story >>
Today I received a large bundle of used clothes, most of them women's, from a friend who collects them from various well-to-do people in his community. Initially I did not know what I was going to with the clothes.
Suddenly I remembered my friend Devi, a poor widow, and her teenage daughter. They live in a slum and so I knew they could also share the clothes if the sizes did not fit them. So I called the daughter as she was leaving her work and arranged to hand the clothes over to her. She took them home on the bus after work.
It was satisfying to do something useful and I am sure they were happy to receive the free gifts. I hope to continue helping people this way by spending my time and using my contacts.
It's the small things that matter.
The other day, I decided to come home early because it was such a beautiful day. The kids were outside playing in my apartment complex and the ice cream truck was whistling its tune. As I drove slowly to avoid an accident, I noticed a little boy looking at the ice cream truck. He didn’t get anything and he walked away with a disappointed look on his face. I asked the ice cream guy what happened and he said the little boy had no money. I had no cash on me so I drove to my building and went upstairs to look for some cash. When I found it the ice cream guy was still waiting but the little boy was not. I went in the direction I thought he might have gone and I saw a woman getting out of her vehicle. I asked her if she had a little boy ... Read Full Story >>
"Conduct Your Blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind." Strange message in a stranger place. I don’t know who said it, but this pronouncement suddenly appeared on a huge wall of the 59th St. subway tunnel connecting the Lexington Avenue trains to the N and R lines. For many months I’d passed the area, which was roped off and covered over with heavy paper - reconstruction in progress. What else is new in NYC! Then one fine day the plastic barrier was cut and the brown paper pulled down. There, gleaming in vivid colors, was a giant mosaic mural with a great scroll of a message running through it in a waving line that ran up and down from ceiling to floor and back. You probably don’t think of the subway as a provider of uplifting impressions, but those of us who use it every day have got used to ... Read Full Story >>
Today I had the thrill of giving someone the shirt off my back! For the past four days I have been participating in a disability arts festival as a member of a choir set up specifically to perform at this festival. Yesterday, after our performance, I was feeling a bit sad thinking that this might be the last time I would sing with this amazing group of people. I was putting on an oversize, custom-made, raw silk shirt with mother-of-pearl buttons that I have been enjoying wearing when it occurred to me to give the shirt to the first person who said they liked it. After our performance, as choir members were winding down and changing, the director of the procession said she loved my shirt. So, I happily took if off and gave it to her. She immediately put it on, saying, "Can I give you some money for it?" and "Why ... Read Full Story >>
I went along with the Kindness Suggestion today and gave someone a surprise treat!
I stopped at Starbucks, bought a $5 gift card and asked the barista to use it on whoever came in next.
I was still waiting for my drink when the next customer arrived. The gentleman thanked me so much for the card and said nothing like that had ever happened to him before. He was so thankful!
He thanked me again as I left, and said, "God bless."
Walking to the elevated railway I passed a man in a doorway holding a sign asking for money for food. I smiled at him and wished him a good day.
As I got closer to the train station I saw a man selling fruit. So I bought a bag and walked it back to the hungry man in the doorway.
I didn't know about this website then. It's just the way I operate. I am deeply grateful for the love, joy, and happiness in my life and I give it back every chance I get.
Sometimes it's a smile or a compliment but I am always trying to put it out there in return. It's the best!
I found myself in the city for work today. On my lunch break I decided to walk around the public gardens. It was one of those unusually warm September days, 90+ degrees and humid, but it felt good after being in the air-conditioning all morning. That is until I walked past two individuals, sweaty and asleep, on a park bench together. What appeared to be all their belongings were in a few bags scattered around them. I continued walking but kept thinking about the pair on the bench. So, I went to Starbucks and purchased five bottles of cold water. Then I returned to the park. First stop was the couple on the bench. I woke the gentleman up and asked if they were ok. Sleepily, he assured me they were fine, but he gratefully accepted two bottles of water. The third bottle went to a man playing his violin by the remembrance garden. ... Read Full Story >>
One day I worked a difficult 8 our shift behind the customer service counter at a high-end retailer. I had decided to make a conscious effort to improve the day of everyone I engaged with. Putting all my problems aside and focusing on spreading joy really alleviated my stress and worry. Having numerous people tell me they really appreciated me felt good. One of my bosses told me it's always good to have my energy around.: ) Consciousness and kindness really do pay off.
There is a crew of street children I'm friends with, and they hang out [read: routinely beg] right outside the McDonald's across my school. I pass them all the time, but I've never given them food or money, just company. Today, on a whim, I withdrew more money than usual with my scholar's cash card [I just got transportation allowance from the school this September]. Incidentally, the crew was complete when I passed by McDonald's. I wasn't even thinking of Day 1's Challenge, but there you go. God works in mysterious ways! The kids were indeed surprised and delighted to know that I was actually treating them to a legitimate meal this time. They enjoyed being able to step inside the restaurant [when the security guard would come close, I made it clear that they were with me] and order for themselves. I bought each of them 1-piece Chicken Mcdo, a regular ... Read Full Story >>
I took some time this morning to write a gratitude mind map.
As I continued to add items, I found my fingers almost couldn't keep pace with all things I tried to write. I sent emails to a few people on the map to tell them how much I appreciate them!
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~ William Arthur Ward
An old man was seated in the train with his 25 years old son. As train started the young man was filled with lot of joy and curiosity. He was seated on the window side. He stuck out one hand to feel the passing air. He shouted, "Papa see all the trees are going behind". Old man smiled and admired son's emotions. There was a couple who were seated beside the young man. They were just sitting and listing to the conversation between the father and son. They probably thought it was a little awkward, observing that the 25 years old man was behaving like a small child. Suddenly young man again shouted, "Papa see the pond and animals. Clouds are moving with the train". The couple was watching the young man visibly embarrassed of his behavior. Now it started raining and some of water drops touched the young man's hand. He was filled with even ... Read Full Story >>
I feel it is important to remember as we are moving through this kindness challenge that being kind shouldn't feel like something 'extra' you are having to do in a full list of many things to get done during your waking moments. Kindness comes in many forms, some extraordinary, some less bold and noticeable, but kindness in all its forms is equally important. Something like picking up a piece of trash you see laying outside in the parking lot, thanking someone for their efforts, offering to run an errand for someone who has an overabundance of tasks to get accomplished, all can be just as impactful as a grander gesture. Many times, kindness can be found in just paying attention. When you take the time to notice what someone enjoys or the hard work they do, it says to that person that you care about them and notice their efforts and ... Read Full Story >>
"Life is easy" says Jon Jandai. "Why do we have to make it so difficult?" After pursuing "success" in Bangkok for several years, Jo dropped out of university to return to village life.
There, he went back to the life he knew as a child, working 2 months of the year to grow rice (with an additional 15 minutes a day to grow vegetables), dug a couple of fish ponds, built his own homes using earthen bricks, and gave up buying clothes (he has so many clothes from friends and visitors that he has to give them away).
Jon contends that to be happy, we cannot just rely on money; we have to reconnect with each other.
Check out this inspiring video to hear more about Jon's amazing story!
I took my elderly neighbor to get her State ID today and then took her on the errands she needed to do. She has a daughter that lives only 4 miles away, but she doesn't drive due to a car accident. This was our second trip to the DMV/Secretary of State because the first time she didn't have everything she needed.
Years ago a college friend and I set out across the US on a post-college adventure. Our vehicle broke-down in New London, Ontario, Canada on a Sunday afternoon.
We were towed to a garage where we spent the night sleeping in the van waiting for the owner to open the next morning. We left the van to be repaired and set out raising money working odd jobs throughout the day.
When we returned the mechanic had finished the work, but the job cost $100 more than we had earned that day. Tired and now more than a little disconsolate, we decided to ask the mechanic if we could send him the remainder of the money from our destination in Boston, MA.
To our surprise and relief he agreed. When we arrived in Boston three days later, we immediately sent the balance to him as well as a note of great appreciation for the trust he shared with two, young strangers.