Stories of Kindness from Around the World

An Unusual Birthday Celebration


--by JZ, posted Jul 24, 2007

[An Invitation From 2004]

It's that time of the year again. Yup, V-real's birthday ... this Friday, January 9th. As you probably know, V-real isn't much into celebration of particular days more than others. But we have a creative way to bend the rules for his 25th.

First of all, can you make it to our house this Friday at 7:30PM? I know it's really short notice but hey. ;)

Secondly, in the spirit of thankfulness for your friendship with V-real, would you be willing to do an act of random kindness for someone, somewhere, somehow? Then, on his birthday, we'll blow some candles, eat cake and share stories of our experiences ... as a gift to him.

It's a unique request, but V-real's a unique guy. Because of my unending gratitude for having him as a brother, right after I got my first job, I used to get him everything I could think of (except an Acura NSX :)) but I eventually realized that the only way to truly thank someone like him is to give open-endedly to the world. So that's the intention behind this. I know he would appreciate it. Even if you can't make it in person, perhaps you could do an act of kindness and write to him about it.

You could get as creative as you'd like, but V-real would probably try to do something homeless related. Here's hundreds of ideas, some very small and some elaborate.

Friday plans, then, would go something like this: one hour of meditation starting at 7:30PM, Rev. Heng Sure with a few words of wisdom (yes! he said he'll come), roundtable sharing of our pay-it-forward stories, followed by some dinner.

We know that V-real's fan club numbers in the thousands but Friday night isn't a "party" per se. It's a space of thankfulness and we are hoping to keep it very small and intimate. Please let me know ASAP if you can make it.

Live it up,

[JZ]


V-real's Birthday, 2004

Dear Friends,

It was 2AM. The stories were still unfolding. Mark spent a long time with a homeless man and showed him a way to give back to others by replacing his "Hungry, will work for food" sign with his wisdom-scroll quote from Christmas: "Read man: he is the living poem." Harita gave a smiley-face stress ball to a neighbor. In Atlanta, 'Rav parted with his favorite high school ski jacket to bring warmth for a more needy person. Gur played Sherlock Holmes to find a nurse who helped her mom 7 years ago. Jnani donated to a homeless shelter for the first time. Dagli connected with an unknown 92-year-old elder. Trish bought umbrellas for the homeless.

The whole evening was an experiment. Like my Dad said, it is unusual to spend a birthday with some time in silence, to do acts of kindness and share stories about it as gifts. But after repeated "unbelievable evening" and "twenty years from now this will be the only 25th birthday I'll remember," it seems like the experiment worked! Thank you.

Hearing about Katy's rose to a bus driver or the thank-you notes to her favorite restaurants, Bhoo  picking up the neighbor's trash anonymously, Fred and Shveta's journey to deliver toiletries to the homeless, Sandy's idea of spending an entire day without generating any negative thoughts, Taz's attempt to transform her speeding ticket karma by buying some donuts for cops ... I don't see how any sane person wouldn't leave with a smile.

Because you came, you honored your connection and friendship with V-real; in my eyes, you blessed his journey. Thank you.

I'll be honest, though. V-real was actually the guinea pig: :) his birthday was simply an excuse, words of appreciation were just to set up a space of thankfulness. The real deal -- as V-real would wholeheartedly agree -- is for us to act with kindness, tap into that deeper space of compassion within us, and cultivate a greater connection with life around us.

And that journey continues everyday.

While cleaning up, we found many little "left-overs" around the house. One was a bookmark with an awesome Krishnamurti insight that started like this: "If we could take a journey, make a pilgrimage together, without any intent or purpose, without seeking anything, perhaps on returning we might find that our hearts had unknowingly been changed."

With gratitude,

[JZ]

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Readers Comments

Ollie wrote: What a wonderful idea. Cheers.
Rosette Chetty wrote: Hi, I'm Rosette, I'll be celebrating my birthday this Sunday, and will have most of my family here with me for the first time in 7 years. I've worked in charity most of my life and I thought of involving them in some charitable work in celebration of my birthday. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa (am new to JHB). Any ideas?
bibirose wrote: Hi twiceblessed you have surely blessed my day!
ashok wrote: EXCELLENT THOUGHT
DEARI wrote: whao this is great. although i read it later in the day, it still pays to show some acts of love and thereby adds smiles to someone's face out there.thanks JZ for ur story.
snowflake66 wrote: How wonderful -- twice blessed, as afriendlysmile wrote! I so agree -- :)
beastly wrote: wow. tomorrow's my 25th. i was hoping for a group sit, but now i'm inspired to perhaps do a little something extra afterwards :)
Sorrynogood wrote: What a wonderfull idea for a party. I saw my own concerns for inviting a very eclectic group of people together fading away by having just such a theme. All who come would have a great thiong in commmon. Some act of kindness. I travel and spend a great deal of time away from home and have wanted to invite all my those I care for to a dinner or BBQ at my home. So that I could see them all while home.

Thank You JZ and Helpingothers.org. Once again I am inspired once again.
afriendlysmile wrote: Hi twiceblessed

Awesome story and what an unforgetably
night,great ideas for raoks and getting that smiley chain going.

Love and smiles
afriendlysmile:)
brighteyes wrote: TwiceBlessed....a great way to start the day ...reading your story...just perked me right up.....my heart is open, I am smiling and grateful for life, because it's Friday and I have all day to preform RAOK's a brightened another's day....

Sunshine & Smiles from "Eyes" ;)

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