For my 60th birthday, I challenged myself to do 60 very deliberate acts of kindness for 60 consecutive days and write about my experiences each day. Now I am no stranger to going out and doing things, but this is the first time I have ever been focused and paid attention to 'Kindness Acts' to the degree that was required in coming up with what I was going to do each day, preparing for it when I needed to, and then writing about it for 60 days (kindnessacts.org - the kindness blog)
Here is what I want to share.
In my experience, there is no such thing as a 'kindness act' There is no separate 'act' that can be called Kindness. I believe our true nature IS kindness and that when we are not acting out of fear( which is what manifests as self interest, greed, material competition, and not- enoughness) we act out of love. In that act of love, we are moved towards compassion and giving, and that is an endless and seamless stream- not an isolated act. We want people to be happy, to be fed, to be delighted, to offer up something that we might have to give and to share. It is just Love moving, and it acts on its own behalf. I don't feel like I have been the 'giver' here. The way that it appears to me, is that all of us will have things at different times in our lives to offer. Today, I might have something in my possession that I can offer you, and tomorrow things might be in your hands. We don't own anything. Everything in our lives is a gift, that is ours to pass on. It is a privilege to be able to share, and I am so, so grateful that I have had this opportunity. I have received far more than I could ever hope to give in this lifetime.
There is nothing that you can do, that will make you happier than being generous in life. It is one of the greatest elixirs for what ails humans. We recently talked with school kids who shared their experiences of kindness- of asking for birthday presents to go to less fortunate kids, bringing gifts to hospitals and other things along those lines they had experienced. When Pete asked them how it made them feel they responded " It feels so good you just want it to keep on going. You wish you just had more and more things to offer." That is my experience as well. People are supporting my deepest happiness in allowing me into their lives This does not mean that you have to have money or anything tangible other than your human form. Each of us is endowed with our own unique qualities and each one of us, has something valuable to contribute. I have seen the greatest acts of generosity performed by folks who seemingly have little in the way of practical possessions. I have been profoundly touched by watching a homeless man gently offer to share his meal with a friend when we ran out of lunches. We offered a meal to a homeless man sitting on a bench who had a line up of packets of butter and jam that he had to eat. When we offered him lunch, he scooped up every package of butter and jam and offered them to me in kind. There is nothing you could have offered me that would have touched me as deeply as his gesture.
The other thing I learned is how suspicious we all have become when you offer up something for the sheer joy of it - cold drinks on a hot day, flowers for women on Mother's Day, valentines, a compliment or a hot drink for a cold bus ride.
We have been so socialized into being suspicious and we are so used to being marketed to or there being some angle, that most people back away from an offering, rather than toward you. Once they get it, they shake their heads in delight.
I won't be stopping here. Once you start this process, you find yourself looking around everywhere for the next person you can delight. It's almost as if you are not wanting someone to take this joy away from you. After we had formally finished our 60 days yesterday, we found ourselves in the dollar store at 8am this morning, purchasing x-mas stockings to fill up and give away. I have my elf outfit all ready to go, complete with my coveted shoes. Just have to wait for the rain to abate.
I might not blog everyday, but please do check back as there are so many things I still want to do that are on my list. I have listed the 60 Day Kindness acts below, in case you want to peruse them.
I thank each and every one of you that has taken the time to read this blog, has shown interest in our travels and has cheered us on. May we see the time, where all of us, no exceptions, are taken care of in the deepest ways and express our greatest potential as humans. We will then see a very changed outer world. As we move into the New Year, I wish you all a precious time with your loved ones, and a wish for your true happiness and joy. May we embody all we wish to see in the world.
I wish you everything, that you wish for yourselves
In Love and Gratitude
For anyone who might be interested, here is the run down of the 60 days of acts, starting with our first one. It is my hope that you might find something in here that will inspire you or give you some ideas . If you would like more ideas, please download our free app' ' A Year of Kindness Acts' for the iPhone and iPad
Here is a rundown of the last 60 days.
A Birthday Party for a teenage girl in a shelter ( and all the kids)
Flower bouquets for hospital patients and treats and drinks for hospital staff
Free Laundry day at the Laundromat- left detergent, a box of quarters, chocolates and a sign that said " help yourself
Wrote a letter of appreciation to my ex- husband
Cleaned the dog park up and left plastic doggie poop bags
Donated books and CD's to the library and left positive notes in library books- most in cancer and illness books
wrote 5 letters to service people I deal with, telling them what I appreciated about them
Made hot chocolate and pumpkin bread for our trash collectors
Took our van and served hot chocolate and croissants to day workers waiting on the streets
Gave a gift certificate for lunch to a struggling new cashier
Made sandwiches to hand out to people on the street
Made dinner for our new neighbor and her dog ( he got dog food- the good stuff!)
Anonymously paid for donuts and coffee for customers in the donut shop
Brought flowers and chocolates to the medical staff at my annual wellness visit
Brought carts back for customers at the grocery store and helped with unloading groceries
Picked up trash in the city( with large garbage bags) and bought a young couple a meal
Self kindness- took care of myself and gave myself a lot of nurturing
Brought in an anonymous gift for the cashier at a coffee shop in town
Made up cards of appreciation with $5 bills and handed them out to janitorial and bathroom workers at the airport
Bought a meal for someone eating alone at a restaurant and gave him a card instead of the bill
Brought in magazines to a hospital waiting room
Bought a donut and coffee for the Walgreen's cashier for her break
Brought flowers in for folks with no visitors at an assisted living facility
Gave big chocolate bars to the toll booth takers and bathroom cleaners at the turnpike facilities
Left ice cream gift cards with the servers to give to the drive thru ice cream customers
Handed out handwritten cards to veterans at a restaurant( went up to the tables asking if there were any veterans at the table)
Gave Dunkin Donut cards to maintenance workers
Surprised four neighbors with health challenges at my Mother's condo complex with flowers
Left cards for people at a nursing home rehab center
Sent a gift card and letter to an amazing store worker and sent her boss a letter extolling her virtues
Donation of towels, mats and food to the Humane society shelter
No complaint day, extended out to the week
Donation to a micro loaning organization to a woman building a latrine
Cookies and a thank you card to hospice workers
Pumpkin bread and tangerines for dessert for a shelter
Serving food at a free dining room
Donation to the hunger site for a family of four and orphan lunches for 6 months
Handing out Thanksgiving lunches to folks on the street
Brought pumpkin bread and a thank you card to our local EMT/ firefighters
Brought Gingerbread house kits to a family shelter for the kids to make
Held up signs reminding people to drive carefully over the thanksgiving holiday and handed out free cookies and chocolates for the ride
Brought cards and treats to store workers having to work on Thanksgiving
Brought flowers to people working in the coffee shop and to a new chiropractor
Donated clothing and household goods to Goodwill
Brought a box of food to the food bank
Brought the Kindness Van to the schools to talk to the kids and handed out free books
Put together a food bank at the local yoga studio
Wrote love letters to cherished friends
Handed out 20% off and $5 coupons at a local store( that I had collected) to customers shopping and in line
Made a donation of a flock of chicks at Heiffer.org
Gave out compliments all day and added a cappuccino to one of them
Wrote a letter to a person who had made a significant difference in my life that I haven't seen since I was a teenager
Gave a cashier at a store a bouquet of flowers to hand out to someone who they thought could use a boost
Put roses in individual tubes and left them as anonymous gifts with a card that said help yourself at my yoga studio
Served mocha-cchinos and cookies to all the Hospice Workers in the county
Made a care package for a favorite worker at Trader Joe's who had a car accident ( she if fine!)
Offered my books on a donation basis with the money going to gifts for homeless folks
Bought four coffee gift cards for students studying for finals and my daughter's alumni
Made invitations for Christmas dinner for a women's homeless shelter
Brought Mocha's and cookies for the kids community hero's club to hand out to all the adult staff at the middle school
Source: Kind Spring