It was raining and chilly. I passed a homeless woman with wet socks and sandals. I asked her if she had any other shoes than that and she said she didn't. So I asked her if she would like a pair of shoes that would keep out the cold and damp. She was very eager, not surprisingly. Her feet were soggy though at least she had an umbrella and a hooded summer jacket on. It was my honour and pleasure to go with her to a shoe store there and then and do some shoe shopping. I don't have a lot of money so I told her the budget and she was like, "Oh, I can't spend that much any way. I just couldn't." In fact she chose a pair of rain repelling shoes which were on sale and the least expensive in that budget shoe store. She seemed grateful, and ... Read Full Story >>
I was talking with a mother of a young teenager and she was telling me how bad it was for her son at school because he is in a school uniform that doesn't fit as he's outgrown it, but since her husband and she both lost their jobs in the last couple of years and have been searching and interviewing persistently, I know for a fact that they just can't afford a new one. She wiped away tears as she told me that she is slowly trying to buy a new shirt, then trousers, then it will be the blazer and then shoes. I know her well enough to know that she was not manipulating me for sympathy or help, she's never asked for anything from me, ever. She was just telling me the honest truth. I felt moved to go to the bank and come back with a bit of ... Read Full Story >>
Lately, following the most recent fall a month ago, which in itself didn't seem too disastrous (cracking a rib bone only slightly), my 90-year-old mom has been more and more quiet and sleepy. For a person who by everyone's accounts walk, moves and talks a mile a minute and is a firecracker of a personality, this is very odd. And disconcerting. In the last 4 years since she broke first one hip and then 2 years later the other one, her osteoporosis has worsened and so has her condition of frailty. At the same time, my 92-year-old father has been suffering his own health problems. Some of this many of you in the KindSpring community already know, but perhaps you didn't realize her situation has worsened in the last 2 weeks. My father says she is "just not her old self"-meaning she was still talkative until a couple of weeks ago, when ... Read Full Story >>
Had the most curious thing happen yesterday, and am almost hesitant about sharing as it might sound odd! When I awoke Thursday morning I was full of a cold! Sinuses ached something painful, nose stuffed up, eyes streaming continuously, stomach ache, intestinal distress, aches all over and headache! I am about to travel so was less than thrilled with catching a summer cold at this point, but I tried not to worry too much about it and rest-up a bit more, pottering about, packing up and tidying. Around 11 am I decided it was unfair of my dear poodle pal to be waiting until my husband came home for lunch to go out again for a an outdoor "business trip", at the least, so I went downstairs and took her out to the little park close to my house. There I saw a shape of a person in a tatty black sleeping ... Read Full Story >>
I was out walking the dog in something of a hurry and no money in pockets, when I suddenly realized I was passing a homeless man covered in a sleeping bag and sitting up with a cup ready for any available money from anyone.
I looked at him and smiled widely and truly as he had surprised me with his kind-looking face, said- "sorry I have no money but hope the day is a good one!" And the smile he gave me was warm and true. I felt like we had a meeting of minds for a brief second and that it had mattered, that little exchange.
I went back later to the spot to give him some money and a snack but sadly he was gone. I gave it to another fellow who was also homeless, but not quite the same warmth occurred. That's okay. It all was real exchange between equal humans.
Here is a photo of Gandhi dancing! It surprised me when I first saw it recently. It fits in with my current meditation. Today have been reflecting on these words of the legendary teacher and philosopher Jiddhu Krishnamurti: "You must understand the whole of life, not just one part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for that is life." The word "dance" struck me the most, as we have been speaking here lately about taking LEAPS into the unknown (thank you, KS member Mish!) and that word also brought dancing to mind. I recalled seeing this photo on Pinterest awhile ago and looked it up, because Mahatma Gandhi is a man after the heart of KS, known for his great seriousness of purpose in life, a ... Read Full Story >>
There is a lovely Muslim woman around 30 years old who has migrated to the UK from a well-known conflict-torn country. She has 3 children, aged twelve, nine, and two and a half. I have been learning about her and hearing about some of her difficulties for about a year. In the UK we have what is called The Big Issue, a magazine the homeless sell on street corners to make legitimate money. Many of them cannot find regular jobs or are not able to work for lack of a homestead or certain papers. My friend, as she feels like one now, has multiple obstacles and no family help. She "couch" surfs in a nearby big city where all the good Big Issue pitches are taken. Consequently she has to travel some ways to get to this small town on the seaside, and a lot of her wages is taken up ... Read Full Story >>
It has been a very, very blessed week of giving simple, sometimes handmade sweets, beautifully wrapped gifts, and handmade cards to various helpers in the community. I want to thank them for how they go beyond the call of duty with their homespun friendliness. I have walked all over the place - can't drive due to medicine I have to take. It's been wonderful and I have stopped to have warm chats too. I really wasn't trying to meet my KindSpring Day 18 challenge to make time to listen to someone, but it happened anyway! In going hither and tither I came across a young man sleeping rough. I admit I was so busy I was going to go past his sign requesting help with just a smile, but as I walked on, I suddenly turned around with a little donation and a Smile Card as well as one of the You ... Read Full Story >>
On Friday when I called my parents, who are in their early 90s now. They were upset as they confessed they didn't know what to send me or my adult kids and their families for Christmas presents. Both of them very recently have suffered serious health setbacks, and I begged them not to worry themselves, that all of us had what we needed and didn't need anything more if the truth be told. Not happy with that, they insisted on getting us all something, even though this year it would have to be less than usual and easy to send to us all. My mother said that she was giving the other siblings fruit and gourmet food baskets. That gave me an idea. I asked her to please consider, in that case, giving whatever she would have given us to a local food bank. Or easier yet, donate whatever money she ... Read Full Story >>
Oh, I sincerely hope I am not repeating myself! If I am, please forgive me. But I share this in case any one would like to do it next year---and I truly recommend making the effort. Before Christmas I found a charity that was looking for workers to check on the elderly. I am not looking for a job, so I wrote instead and asked if I could send gifts to 15 or so people of their choosing, and a host of Christmas cards to more elderly shut-ins. I said I'd send the gifts to them so they could vet it, along with wrapping paper and ribbons, to please wrap up once they saw the gift was nice and A-ok. Thankfully they agreed. The same with the cards, I left them unsealed so they could read the message and be certain it was all on the up and up. Really getting into ... Read Full Story >>
Today I awoke, as usual, hours before dawn and after my prayer/chant and meditation, plus making a drink. I spent time on my computer crisis line email groups replying in emails to various people in dire situations such as suicidal thinking, extreme loneliness, mental and physical illnesses, despair, family and money troubles, and so on. Just about anything that becomes cause to write another for some guidance, referral or help. That voluntary work brought me to dawn. I took a break, and considered it a kindness to not talk about negative things but good and positive things, and in my "gentle (not anxious as I might feel) voice." In this way enjoyed breakfast with my husband, a very lovely kind soul himself. As always, a pleasant---but short---- interlude. When he left for the world of research, I returned to my own world that includes caring for my house in general upkeep, business matters, painting, ... Read Full Story >>
It is a kind act to myself and others to look for what is right in myself, in the community, in society, the world--in short, life itself. Taking a break today from engaging with what can seem to me to be the desperately dark politics of a globe in distress. From looking at all that is wrong, which is seemingly endless, and instead trying to focus on the amazing, gnarly, beautiful phenomenon that is 'my very own experience.' So, despite a headache and powering on only 3 hours sleep, I aim to "choose to see the good stuff" today. And there is an abundance of good around me: the post office staff were friendly as I begin to try tracing a missing Easter parcel to my infant grandson in Melbourne, the sky really is a cloudless late April blue, my pet dog PoodleNoodle is recovering from her vaccine yesterday but is as ... Read Full Story >>
Being able to create random and intentional acts of kindness for others is one of my great pleasures these days. Though I did things before, with KindSpring I have learned a new joy with it, and a sense of its being as important an activity as you believe it to be. If no one knows what we get up to, all the better! We come here anonymously to share in order to encourage each other on, and that works a treat. I am inspired by others and get a lot of new ideas too. Which brings me, as so often happens in KS, to Mindy a member of KindSpring. From a private remark Mindy was aware of the fact that I am a nervous flyer, to say the least. It's been 25 years since I've flown. Though originally from Florida, as most of you know, I have flown back there only that ... Read Full Story >>
It's been a lovely day, an early glimpse of spring. In our front area, tubs of daffodils are coming alive already. And purple crocuses are not far behind. It is good to share our acts of kindness here, at least some of them, to inspire each other, so I'll note a couple of the ordinary ones (which are, of course, extraordinary!) First I took my packets of wild Welsh poppy seeds over to a sad little patch of left over ground in our neighborhood---a spot left behind by the builders who constructed a huge condo on the hill behind us----without ruining the park preserve that is also on the hill. (And for that I am very, very grateful---we tried to get the development to be smaller and to leave space for a friendly neighborhood park in the middle of things, but that didn't happen despite all of our meetings and protests, ... Read Full Story >>
In November I joined a wonderful initiative called the You Matter Marathon, sending for and passing out a YOU MATTER card to someone every day for the month, or leaving it somewhere to be found, like a favorite library book. One person I gave it to was left by poor circumstances begging. I stopped and gave some money, and one of these cards. She took it, looked at it, then at me, and asked what it was for. I explained what it meant to me "to matter in this world," in just a sentence or two. Basically that her human life was precious and that I thought she was an important part of our community, all of us being as important as each other...that at the level of the heart she counted very much. She kind of looked at me blankly. I figured I hadn't explained it very well and let ... Read Full Story >>
It has been a busy time full of small kindnesses and many moments of ordinary joy. As I know we share what we do to inspire each other and create momentum for more random and planned acts of kindness, I am sorry for not writing in more often lately with my own little tales. Have just been caught up in life! Off the top of my head, some memories lately of "little things": *Went to the library and inserted SMILE cards with a 50 pence piece taped to it and a YOU MATTER card into a selection of juvenile books. It was a school day and no one was around so I took my chance. *Put the YOU MATTER cards in popular adult books and well-used magazines. Also added a few of the SMILE cards with the 50 pence piece. Often the people who come to read the magazines and newspapers in the ... Read Full Story >>
I walked into the local basement day centre for the elderly with my sweet-natured, beyond amazing poodle, and asked if they would appreciate my coming regularly with my Pup for the benefit of a few people, just briefly. They loved the idea.
In particular there is an 80-yr-old blind gent who lost his beloved dog and often asks, "Can't we ever have a dog in here?" I look forward to meeting him on Tuesday, the only day he comes to the centre. And meeting any one else who wants a little cuddly pet hello.It is just part of my daily walk going by there and hardly any trouble at all. I will come back here and give updates as to how it works out. Wish me luck---and of course, Pup!!!