Quarter century markers have a certain weight carried with them; a recognition that much has come before to get to 25 and that there is much to follow before the half century marker arrives. April 16 marks what would have been or what is, depending on your perspective, Josh’s 25th birthday. Since he left this world at age 15 ½ in October 2002, the number associated with his “missed” birthdays did not have a particular poignancy, other than 16 and 21(these are birthday markers in our culture for everything from driver’s licenses to an ID that allows you to legally consume alcohol and presents you as an “adult”). Yet, 25 evokes a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on, yet I know it is there and I know I am struck by the power of this number. What could I do with it? What could I do for Josh? He gave us ... 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 >>
"Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to loose without regret, how to acquire without meanness." - George Sand Thank you, KindSpring community for who you are and all that you do. We are grateful for your presence, inspiration, and beauty that you constantly spread throughout the world, one small act of kindness at a time. We hope that you enjoy the Top 10 Kindness Stories of 2013! When I Hugged a Homeless Person I spent most of my early adult life looking through them. I was busy. I was working. I was raising a family and running errands. I had things to do. If you didn't look at them they weren't there, right? You know, those bedraggled looking people on the corner with a sign in their hand. I only wanted the light to turn green fast enough so that I wouldn't have to keep ... Read Full Story >>
1) Thank someone First thing in the morning, send an email thanking or praising someone. Research shows this can brighten your day. 2) Spend money — on someone else Harvard professor Michael Norton, author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, explains how spending money on other people can generate more happiness than spending on yourself: 3) Give 5 hugs People assigned to give or receive hugs 5 times a day ended up happier than the control group. From Sonja Lyubomirsky’s very interesting book, The How of Happiness: In a one-of-a-kind study, students at Pennsylvania State University were assigned to two groups. The first group was instructed to give or receive a minimum of five hugs per day over the course of four weeks and to record the details. The hugs had to be front-to-front (nonsexual) hugs, using both arms of both participants; however, the length and strength of hug, as well as the placement of hands, were left ... Read Full Story >>
"Aabid Surti is an odd character. A few years ago, the angular, bearded author was invited to meet the President of India to receive a national award for literature at a ceremony in the capital, New Delhi. He politely declined. Absorbed in writing the first draft of his new novel, he cited the reason that he did not have time. But what he has made time for every Sunday for seven years now, is going door-to-door in Mira Road, a non-descript suburb of Mumbai, with a plumber in tow, asking residents if they need their tap fixed for free! As a distinguished Indian painter and author, Aabid has written around 80 books but no story so moved him as the truth about water scarcity on the planet. “I read an interview of the former UN chief Boutros Boutros Ghali,” he recalls, “who said that by 2025 more than 40 countries are expected to experience ... Read Full Story >>
I sold a tech company for a small exit in 2010. Everyone was extremely proud of me, but no one knew the exact amount I made, but everyone assumed I did really well. In actuality, I only made just over a hundred thousand dollars. I purposefully hid the amount because I wanted to use all the money to buy my parents a house, and I knew that my parents would never accept me buying them a house with the money from my sale. So with no one knowing, I drained my account (after paying taxes) and bought my parents a 1-story house in Texas (where I grew up). I did this because they had been living in a small two-story house that, in recent years, could no longer accommodate my sick and increasingly wheel-chair-bound dad. Everyone assumed I had made a large amount of money and that this was one of many ... Read Full Story >>
My mom only had one eye. I hated her... she was such an embarrassment. My mom ran a small shop at a flea market. She collected little weeds and such to sell... anything for the money we needed she was such an embarrassment. There was this one day during elementary school. I remember that it was field day, and my mom came. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school..."Your mom only has one eye?!" and they taunted me. I wished that my mom would just disappear from this world so I said to my mom, "Mom, why don't you have the other eye?! You're only going to make me a laughingstock. Why don't you just die?" My mom did not respond. I guess I felt a little bad, but at the same time, it ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday morning, I spent a glorious few hours with a group of close friends. We were sitting down in a cozy corner of the cafe, sipping on delicious coffee and catching up on the past year. As we were leaving, one friend found a beautiful blue oragami paper crane, casually perched on top of the mantle of a fire place. Attached to the paper crane was along a lovely quote that read, "You don't need to know. Life wouldn't be this grand adventure if you knew what was coming. Love the mystery." Later, we discovered another piece of paper that shared the story of the paper cranes. It read... "On Valentine's Day of 2011, I came home to find a beautiful mass of moving color. My ex-boyfriend had folded 1000 paper cranes and hung them on my porch. He left a note saying if I made a wish, it would be ... Read Full Story >>
Some time ago, a man punished his 5 year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became more upset when the child pasted the gold paper so as to decorate a box to put under a Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her father next morning and said " This is for you daddy. " The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction , but his anger flared again when he found the box empty . He spoke to her in a harsh manner , " Don't you know young lady , when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package ? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said " Oh Daddy , it is not empty . I blew kisses into it until it was full." The father ... Read Full Story >>
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." -- Dalai Lama Dear HO family, Please join us in celebrating World Kindness Week this year from Nov. 13 - Nov 20th! This year, for World Kindness Week, we are asking the Help Others community to join us in participating in our Kindness Challenge - doing one random act of kindness every day this week! If you are looking around for ideas, you don't have to look too far! We have tons of kindness ideas on our site that might help. We are also including some of our favorite kindness ideas below for you to share with your friends in celebration of World Kindness Week! Enjoy the Kindness Challenge and thank you for helping to spread the ripples of kindness and inspiration to ... Read Full Story >>
Although simplicity has a long history, we are now entering radically changing times—ecological, social, economic, and psycho-spiritual—and we should expect the worldly expressions of simplicity to evolve and grow in response. For more than thirty years I’ve explored the “simple life” and I’ve found that simplicity is not simple. I’ve encountered such a diversity of expressions of the simple life that I find the most accurate way of describing this approach to living is with the metaphor of a garden. A Garden of Simplicity To portray the richness of simplicity, here are ten different flowerings of expression that I see growing in the “garden of simplicity.” Although there is overlap among them, each expression of simplicity seems sufficiently distinct to warrant a separate category. So there would be no favoritism in listing, they are placed in alphabetical order based on the brief name I associated with each. 1. Choiceful Simplicity: Simplicity means choosing ... Read Full Story >>
On an unassuming weekday evening, Jane was at home… as usual. As her thoughts swung between what she was going to do with her life and their dinner plans for the evening, she was unexpectedly interrupted by an urgent call from her sister “get over here! Turn on NBC and check these guys out, they are just like you…” One facebook message and a phone interview later, Jane found herself on a bus with 8 strangers in the middle of the sweltering desert heat of Utah, picking up trash and raising awareness about zero-waste and climate change. Armed with a deep love of the environment and a desire to make a difference, Jane, Davey, and a group of self described “environmental pick-up artists” went on a coast to coast road side trash pick-up. As they walked, sometimes only covering 0.9 miles in an entire day, they slowly and steadily made their ... Read Full Story >>
When I take my daily walk, I say good morning to each person I pass on the trail. And when a bicycler comes up from behind and says, 'On your left', I always say thank you. Kindness becomes a habit." - - "When my daughter and I traveled home on Christmas Day one year, we made a small gesture that still makes me smile. We had wrapped Pez dispensers as a small gift for her 8 cousins. When my sister-in-law gave them all large gifts, we decided not to mention our little stocking stuffers. Instead, on the way back home, we gave one to each toll-worker we encountered. "Merry Christmas. Sorry you had to work today!" we said. We got smiles and waves and some even leaned out of their booths to watch us leave. That Christmas was a strange one, but those smiles and waves made it a holiday. Its not ... Read Full Story >>
"Kindness, I've discovered, is everything in life." - Isaac Singer Sometimes, all it takes is a small reminder to open our eyes to the beauty and wonder that surrounds us. Lucky for us, we get those reminders every day! For the last 365 days, we have been inspired by innumerable acts of kindness that have touched the lives of thousands of people all over the world. The following stories are some of our favorites from this year. Enjoy! 3,762 Miles Walked and 100 Tons of Trash On an unassuming weekday evening, Jane was at home… as usual. As her thoughts swung between what she was going to do with her life and their dinner plans for the evening, she was unexpectedly interrupted by an urgent call from her sister “get over here! Turn on NBC and check these guys out, they are just like you…” One facebook message and a phone interview later, ... Read Full Story >>
A few years ago, I had a long commute to get home from work. One morning I was on my way home and was very tired after working a 12 hour night shift. I stopped at a local restaurant to have breakfast. It was really a truck stop and I was the only customer. Right after I placed my order I saw a man come in. He was carrying a small backpack and looked like he had seen better times. He reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. He asked the waitress if 38 cents was enough to buy a cup of coffee. She looked at his hand and said, "Of course. Have a seat." (Coffee was 50 cents a cup at the time.) It really struck me how she had tried to preserve his pride and how he had not asked for any charity. Shortly before my food came. I ... Read Full Story >>
If this were your last day, how would you spend it? "If today was my last day on earth I imagine the world would suddenly come into view as never before. All the things around me, the sights, sounds, feelings, those natural and even unnatural, would have more meaning, preciousness, & vividness than ever before. I would try to live each moment of that day with mindfulness and presence, appreciating the small things that I usually take for granted and feeling grateful to experience them all for one last day. Ideally I would spend the day with loved ones, simply enjoying each others' company. If for some reason it wasn't possible for me to be with loved ones I would make sure I contacted them to let them know how much they have meant to me and how they have blessed my life. There's no reason why this imaginary last ... Read Full Story >>
One of the few freight networks that still makes the rounds on Mexico's rugged countryside. Immigrants from Central and South America board the trains in an attempt to reach Mexico's northern border quickly. The trail is dangerous: the travelers face mutilation and death from falling off the train. Criminal gangs stalk the southernmost lengths of the network, stopping the trains in their tracks. The travelers are lucky if they are left alive. The few women that board the trains' roofs are raped and kidnapped. On the central and northern lengths of the trail, narcos are always prowling, ready to scare the travelers into surrendering their belongings. Some of them are forcibly recruited into the narcos' ranks as slave footsoldiers. Some are killed in cold blood, their bodies ditched into mass graves. They are chased by inmigration officers and federal police, who have been known to commit shameless acts of human rights ... Read Full Story >>
One of my next-door neighbors is a sweet and frail-looking grandmotherly 92-year-old Polish lady who lives with three cats. She is a Holocaust survivor (and with due respect does not talk about that traumatic time), and has a daughter and grand-daughter who visit her every week. She oftentimes brings us cherry tomatoes, comes over for chai, loves mangoes, and is in general a very sweet person. A few months ago, my friend and I drove down to LA to attend a dear friend's wedding, and came back home to the Bay Area the next evening. As I was unpacking my clothes in my room, I heard a persistent, frantic knock on the door. It was 10:30pm, and I wasn't sure who it could be. I went downstairs and looked through the peephole, and saw that it was our sweet next-door neighbor. I quickly opened the door, and she seemed really distressed and kept ... Read Full Story >>
It’s surprising how easily and often humanity inspires you when you’re working in a coffee shop. I’ve heard people complain how working with customers makes them bitter at the world. But in my few months at Starbucks, I saw random acts of kindness preformed almost daily. And one act was so large and unexpected, I’ll simply never forget it. If you’re a regular reader, you know how obsessed I am with random acts of kindness. However, please don’t mistake me for a good person just because of my strange set of hobbies. I enjoy surprising drive-thru workers with candy, dressing like a superhero, leaving flowers on people’s doorways, and scattering smiley-faces all over Raleigh in much the same way I enjoy collecting comics and video games. It gives me an odd thrill. Tingles. The sweet terror of getting caught. Like ringing a doorbell and running. So it’s not really altruistic. I totally do it ... 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!
John Mayer, a popular singer/song writer, recently wrote this on his personal blog and I thought I'd share... FROM THE HEART…. I need to write this. I've been traveling alone in Japan for the better part of three weeks now, and It's been so remarkable an experience for me that I can't book a ticket home yet. I haven't spoken very much out loud these days, but I've been thinking to myself in what feels like surround sound. I can see so many things clearly, and feel so connected to myself and the world around me that I need to share the perspective with you. I'm already aware that when I sing, say or write anything, 50 percent of the response will be in support of it and the other 50 will want to discount it. This blog, though, is directed to 100 percent of people reading it. If my blog truly does have ... Read Full Story >>
When you do an act of human kindness, you walk a step in someone else's shoes. This can change your life. It changed mine. I was in an awful job, 18hr days, getting reamed out by my boss. My new husband lived in another city and I saw him 1x a month, and even then we just had terrible, horrible fights. I was underweight, my hair thinning, I had eczema. But quitting was failure, simple as that. One day I was late for work and grabbed a taxi. I was on my computer when I noticed the driver. He was middle-aged Asian man wearing a nice golf polo and simply put, did not look like other cab drivers I'd seen in the city. I asked him where he was from. Korea, he's been here 25 years. I asked him how long he'd been driving a cab. A month. He said the reason he started driving was for money. His daughter ... Read Full Story >>