I actually like the phrase “random act of kindness” much more than “routine act of kindness” (as Kevin prefers). I love how the word random opens up a wildness, a sudden flash of possibilities. And to show kindness out of the blue to a stranger – that IS random, and wild, and lovely. And it’s in my power to do today and every day. I should be waking up thrilled every morning! I doubt if I’ll ever achieve that, but I hope to have tiny bursts of gratitude throughout every day for the opportunity to offer kindness to anyone I choose.
The most meaningful way I can do this is by choosing what food I buy and what I put into my body.
As writer Bruce Friedrich has observed: “Every time I sit down to eat, I cast my lot: for mercy, against misery; for the oppressed, against the oppressor; and for compassion, against cruelty. There is a lot of suffering in the world, but how much suffering can be addressed with literally no time or effort on our part? We can just stop supporting it, by making different choices.”
Lilly, my honey-colored cat, pours honey into my heart every time I think of her.
Joy, adventure, and the trust that the Universe is on my side and that grace is possible every day, every hour if I keep myself open to it.
I’ve read every response, and they are wonderful.
I can only add – moments like the one in this poem:
All of Us
And then, walking down Granville Avenue,
north side of Chicago, 6:00 p.m.,
regulars buying lottery tickets
in the tobacco shop under the El tracks,
an old man sweeping the sidewalk
in front of the Savoy Hotel,
I looked up and saw
an enormous moon
floating just above the fake
Spanish apartment building
at the end of the block:
transparent wafer, angel-soft,
too tender to be real,
Loving all of us.
This is embarrassing to share, but here goes.
I am grateful for the stranger who saw me acting in a childish, impatient way yesterday evening .
I rushed into the downtown library to pick up a hold. The bus was coming in a few minutes and it was very cold and I did not want to miss it.
Of course, because of my haste, I dropped a bunch of dvds and did not put them back the way I should have. Then I rifled through more books and dropped a few of those too!
I turned towards the exit, muttering to myself, and saw this stranger looking at me with an expression that said, “I can’t believe you’re acting this way!”
If I hadn’t seen his face, I probably wouldn’t have realized how rude my behavior was.
Because of him I resolved to make up for my impatience today.
One small step towards that goal happened this morning. I was rushing to the bus stop (as usual! This Type A poet is always late!) when I saw a rubber band on the sidewalk. I make a practice of picking them up so animals and birds won’t choke on them, but I just walked over it this time because I was in a hurry.
Well, a few seconds later, I made myself stop, retrace my steps, and pick up the darn rubber band.
Now maybe a crow can thank me!
Pilgrim, have you read the book “Quiet: the Power of Introverts”? It’s excellent, and I highly recommend it. I think every teacher and business manager in America should read it.
I am having a similar issue, Kim. Sometimes it is so hard to believe I deserve happiness. I don’t begrudge it to others, yet I think I am asking for too much. I suggest having a dialog with your inner critic. Ask her why she feels as she does. Tell her you are trying to rise above her. Pay attention to her response and listen….and I will try to do the same.
I hate it when I lose my sense of smell and taste during a miserable cold! May you be on the mend soon. Drink hot ginger tea and put Turmeric in it. It will help.
Lovely, soothing images.
What a great picture you create – with sounds! Yes, I think those bells would be more welcome to me than the roosters, but I love that you embrace both, Elaine.
I feel the same, Charla.
Beautifully expressed and like Gina, I agree.
Thank you Aine! It’s nice to know I am not the only one.
Thank you Anna!
Thank you Ursula. What a beautiful name you have.
Oh, I like that last sentence especially, being an ardent cat lover myself. I can literally feel my stress disappearing when I stroke her golden fur and look into her golden eyes.
Anne, it’s hard for me to be grateful for people who bring trouble into my life, but I agree that they are often the best teachers!
Yes! And to this day, the majority of my most loved books are those I first read as a child – Jane Eyre, Wind in the Willows, A Wrinkle in Time, the Little House on the Prairie series. Riches!
Ben, thank YOU for your beautiful, thoughtful, compassionate posts. And thanks for reading this.
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