Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Today was the Beginning, Small Gifts Can Make Big Ripples


--by xiao, posted Apr 19, 2018
Two days ago, I witnessed the magic of random kindness when I was having dinner with a friend who's involved with ServiceSpace. We gave a bracelet to the waitress with a message on it: "I am a sacred, worthy, luminous being. I am love and my love is for giving." The bracelet was a gift from Dr. Tom Pinkson, who shared his wisdom at the first Sacred Leadership Summit we'd just attended. To our surprise, the waitress was very happy and told us how sad she was the previous night and how she had prayed. The bracelet made her day! At the end of our dinner, she insisted offering us free coconut ice-cream. We were just thinking about getting coconut ice-cream from the store on the way back! Wow, a small gift could ripple big. You just never know. This is a typical case of serendipity. 

Last night, I watched the interview of Nipun Mehta by Charles Eisenstein. For the first time, I realized that I'd missed the point about giving. Not only I didn't see the big effect of giving, but I tended to associate most giving with some degree of condescending gesture. After hearing Nipun's simple yet profound description about giving, it dawned on me: We give on the outside, while receiving on the inside. It doesn't matter how small the effect would be outside. For example, the homeless to whom we feed one meal might be starved to death a week later. What matters is the interconnectedness and stillness we experience inside when we give. When the person who receives is inspired to pay it forward, he or she will experience that inner transformation as well. That's what it is about. "All life is practice," Nipun said during the interview. 

This morning, I felt very uplifted to practice generosity. I brought several Smile cards and a gift card with me as I rode my bike to my next thing. On the way, I smiled and said "good morning" to strangers and they all responded friendly. I saw a weary old man lying on the bench in a bus waiting booth; I stopped. I wanted to put a Smile card and the gift card next to him. Trying not to wake him up, I reached my hand from the bottom of the booth to put the cards on the bench next to his head, but my arm was not long enough and I still woke him up. Embarrassingly, I offered him the cards with two hands, but he looked away and said, "No, thanks." I apologized and then left.

Giving is a life practice. Look deeply and then act deeply, as Thich Nhat Hanh would put it. It was my first conscious attempt and I wouldn't say I failed, because in my heart I knew, next time if I pay more attention, I'll know better what a weary old man might need and then give that to him in a more skillful way. :)

"We've all been given a gift, a gift of life. What we do with our lives is our gift back."  -- Edo

"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." -- Mother Teresa
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Readers Comments

RoseMarie wrote: I absolutely loved this! I hadn't thought about giving outside but receiving inside, I love Thich Nhat Hanh too ... Look deeply then act deeply. I too would be wary of a person who looks needy feeling like I was being condescending to them when really it would just be my heart wanting to embrace them. X 💓
splain wrote: You did well. Even him not taking the smile card doesn't diminish you or him. That gesture just might stay with him and then he will learn. A lot of people find it hard to accept anything, but you really gave him more than a card, you gave him a little tiny part of you. Lots of hugs to you
mindyjourney wrote: Blessings on your journey of kindness, my friend. Is such an amazing realization of a reconnect to the loving be-ings we are!
zilong wrote: 谢谢 :)
savraj wrote: Oh you did such an amazing thing by smiling and giving with love in your heart.
melnotes wrote: Thank you for sharing your story and these quotes, wonderful transformations are taking place :)
AndiCas wrote: Thanks so much for sharing your story. Even though your gift of smile cards was refused, I'm certain the gesture was appreciated.

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