I visited an Antiques market this weekend. A friend of mine needed to buy items for her house. I often enjoy looking at all those beautiful 'old' things, love to imagine who used them and what they were used for. I noticed a very fragile lady who had her stall nearby.
I watched for a while (always do...observe). I decided to go and talk to her. Most people I observed only asked for prices and bargained, many left without even saying thank you. I felt she needed 'more'. I always try to talk to people who seem sad or lonely.
We talked about her stall, I asked her about her items and a bit of the story behind some of them, told her about some of my Grandma and Mum's collections, etc. She was so kind and tender, her face changed, smiled a lot, and thanked me dearly for spending time with her. I was even more delighted!
I had a wonderful day at a country show. Noticed the man selling balloons. Always feel bad for them as they stand all day in the cold, the heat or the rain… I thought ‘this is my chance for another bit of kindness’…so went up to him and asked him if he’d give some child a free balloon if I paid for it. He agreed. As I was walking away a father with a boy approached him and I could hear the conversation behind my back: ‘How much do they cost?’…’Well, nothing because someone has just paid for it for you--’Oh’…Thank you!’ Later I went to get him a cold drink-it was very hot-and took it to him to thank him for having been honest and done it. We started talking. He told me that when he was young he’d done lots for charity, especially marathons. He has now problems standing ... Read Full Story >>
When I got on the taxi I had booked this morning I noticed it was the same gentleman that had taken me back home last week. I remembered what we'd talked about so I spoke to him. He was surprised and said he thought sometimes that no one cared.
He said he'd started swimming and was happy to have lost weight, he does it every morning before starting work. We got talking, told him that swimming was a great activity and mentioned the effect of exercise in our brains too. He said he knew it was good for depression and so .... (we are all fighting our own battles, sometimes in silence) I was glad I'd spoken to him.
Sharing, listening...so important, we all need it some time or other. He wished me a good day so many times when he dropped me back that he made laugh, we were both happier :-)
This morning I woke up a little bit worried-lots going on and many decisions to make. I decided to go for a walk and try to relax. When this happens I keep repeating to myself "don't stop being kind", others may have worse battles to fight. I already felt better when walking in the park enjoying the beautiful trees and the smiles and good mornings to and from strangers. I decided to go shopping on my way back. After paying I sat down for a while and got a coffee that the supermarket offers as a promotion. An elderly man sat next to me and started talking very loud. I noticed straight away that he had hearing aids in both ears. He had a coffee too. I tried responding but I realized he could not understand anything. I stayed anyway and he told me about his difficulties to hear, his son ... Read Full Story >>
On the way to the train station we found a mobile phone on the street; battery out, seemed broken. I decided to pick it up and try to put it together to see if it worked. It did! I chose a number from the contact list and found a woman who luckily knew the owner so I asked her to please let them know I had the phone. She couldn't reach them so I tried with the station guard; he is not allowed to keep these things. After 15 minutes, worried about my train, while thinking what to do, a man called the phone. It was the owner's husband! I explained and he couldn't believe it. He asked if I could please wait for him so I did. He came to the station in 10 minutes and soon after his wife arrived. The look in their faces made it all worth it. ... Read Full Story >>
For the first time in 2 years, I've managed to be kind to my ex.
After the horrendous things he's done and the crimes he committed I kept finding it very hard not to somehow insult him when I communicated with him (always by email or through lawyers).
I've been trying for a while now to meditate and wish him well in spite of it all. I only now managed and started with a very simple phrase 'I hope you are well'. This may sound silly or even mean but I could not possibly do anything of the sort at all. I'm pleased that I did it. Thinking, reading, meditating and living kindness has helped me.
Last week I had to travel and was carrying 2 large suitcases and 1 medium size (yes, I know…I was not traveling light….). I had to take a bus and a train before getting to the airport, not an easy task but I took it easy and left with more than enough time. I arrived at the bus stop and there were a few other people waiting. Bus came and one by one I struggled patiently and put them inside the bus. I noticed I’d began to think ‘why doesn’t anyone offer to help?’ Sat on the bus and kept thinking ‘many are very young, most of them are my neighbours, how unkind, typical of this country, that’s why I want to leave as soon as I can….etc. etc.’ I suddenly stopped myself and decided to change thoughts. I’ve been trying especially lately to ‘switch’ as soon as I see negativity coming ... Read Full Story >>
This past weekend was full of wonderful love and kindness and it all started with a lovely South African couple. I went shopping in the area but without the car. I enjoy my walks and often choose a destination from which I can take a bus back- If I have walked a long distance.
So I went on a beautiful walk and was happily doing my shopping. At the checkout after paying for my bill, I decided to ask for info about the bus. I’d not been able to see the timetable. The lovely lady to whom I’d offered to go first in the queue turned back and asked where I was going. “We are going that way, we can take you”. I enjoyed a beautiful conversation with them in the car and arrived safe, grateful and happy.
I would like to briefly share with you a beautiful and enriching experience I had recently in London. I spent a weekend in the company of kind, generous, caring, and loving people from all parts of the world. It started with a day of mindfulness, sharing and meditation with the 'Heart of London Sangha and Wake Up' group and it ended with a whole day of all these and much more LOVE from Nipun Mehta, Satish Kumar, and many friends. I can't tell you how touched and deeply grateful I am. As I’m sure you all know Nipun has started a kindness movement which is spreading all over the world; 'small acts with great love' are carried out by those who want to 'be the change’; 'Change Yourself, Change the World'...AND Satish-ji is a great example of commitment and compassion for all. He told us many a story of his over ... Read Full Story >>
You know I put my heart and soul into making my guests and students feel welcomed and looked after. I cooked them homemade meals, helped them with anything they need, spend time with them, listen, surprise them with treats, I ask them every morning how they slept and every evening if they had a good day. When those who attend a local school come back home I ask them how it all was, help them with their homework...I want them to be happy. Sometimes however I noticed that many of them, even after being here for weeks, don't ever ask me once whether I had a good day, or a simple how are you. I know it's a bit silly but it does make me sad. Most don't realise probably. Many are very young. And...I am a little over sensitive. These past two weeks I lost yet again two people I loved ... Read Full Story >>
On my way back from the city, I was in the underground. A couple with a young boy came in on one of the stops. The young man sitting opposite me got up and sat somewhere else. There were many seats free but no three seats together so he left his place so that the family could be together.
I reached for one of my little 'shine' cards (always carry some in my handbag together with the 'smile' cards) and I wrote at the back "you are kind, thank you". I gave it to the young man with a smile. He was a bit confused but said "thank you".
I noticed he kept it in his hands for a while while we traveled together in silence. Later before getting off the underground he came closer and with a bigger smile :-) said "thank you very much for this, have a lovely day"
I hired a cleaning lady to help me a couple of days in the new house in order to set it all up. She is from Eastern Europe and speaks hardly any English.
I’ve been thinking how difficult it probably is for her to get a job and when she does not to lose it. I noticed communicating what one wants her to help with is not easy, so I decided to offer her the chance to join one of the courses I teach for beginners for 3 months. It’ll be a start and I’m sure she’ll learn some basic language to support her search for work. Let’s see what she says.
I met a beautiful soul yesterday. I went to work with my computer to a local cafe so that I could have a naughty treat; It was lemon drizzle this time :-) and also be among people, sometimes when you work from home all day this is in itself a treat. And the magic of connection sometimes happens; a smile, a kind good morning, someone offering you the newspaper, a short conversation with the staff, a peace dove sneaking in with the bill lots of possibilities for love and kindness. Well, magic did happen. I heard a man who was speaking with difficulty and very loud. I noticed he could not do so clearly and he had some kind of impairment. As it often happens people looked at him-or avoid doing so-and then-as if embarrassed or afraid-looked down. In these cases I try to do the opposite. I imagined a person ... Read Full Story >>
I went to the charity shop yesterday to buy a couple of chairs for my students. I often go to this shop and try to get things there when possible. They have a few volunteers, some of the locals who can't find jobs or have learning or other difficulties. I take the time to talk to them because I know how important it is for them to feel respected and appreciated. It's not always easy though. Yesterday one of them had a very strong smell of alcohol and looked obviously affected. I normally stay away when this is the case, but I could see some sadness in his eyes. I approached him, said hello, and thanked him for his work there. His smile was as big as they get! In spite of his condition he was friendly and respectful, which is not always the experience I get in such circumstances. I stayed ... Read Full Story >>
From one teacher to another. A kind soul who is a teacher in Africa is building a school in his own home for local poor children to attend lessons. I have created a campaign to raise funds to support them and hope to make a difference in these children's lives. Lots of loving kindness all around.
A couple of days ago I noticed my friend's cleaning lady was not very happy so I asked her how she was. I sat down with her and stayed for a little while as she told me how much she misses her family in Poland and how little money she has to get tickets to visit. I tried to make her feel better by mentioning all positive things about her and her family. My friend and I went out and while shopping I decided to buy a little gift. When we got back I wrote her a card and together with a Smile card and the gift left it for her by her belongings. When she finished, before leaving, she came upstairs with a huge smile and thanked me :-)
One of my neighbours came back after her summer in her home country, she brought me lemons from her garden and sweets. I was really surprised!
She made me so happy, hadn't seen her in over 3 months and here hardly anyone really connects...city life...I invited her for a walk, checked the weather forecast and it showed rain until Saturday but this morning...oh such beautiful sunshine!
So I called her and off we went ... out together and I treated her to a coffee at the garden centre. She's probably almost double my age :-) but so full of energy! SO lovely to share, talked lots, I feel grateful and today...not so lonely. A very KIND day :-)
Found some lovely Christmas balls which open magically just to hide a KIND card and maybe a peace dove. I'm preparing a box full of small gifts for anyone who visits in December to pick and take for them or to give away. 'Kindness is never wasted...'
I had my first morning free in 2 weeks, 12 hour days so very tired! I had to go shopping to get the food, have 3 hungry students at home :-) but I decided to take a break and stop at the local Café. I enjoyed my latte and sweet treat more than ever! The waitresses were so lovely, all young ladies. My coffee was quite cold so I had to ask to heat it. They wanted to make a new one, I explained it was not necessary but they insisted so I let them be kind :-)
On my way back, I took the bus, tired and with many heavy bags. When I sat I realised I had not greeted the bus driver. I always make the extra effort as hardly anyone talks to them. So there I was thinking...'oh no, how silly of me...I was not kind...' and at that moment, the bus had stopped, and two elderly ladies got on. My thoughts changed very quickly to 'ohhh, here it is, there are always opportunities for kindness...'. One of them gratefully accepted my seat :-)