“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world.” - Gautama Buddha
What the world needs now is kindness, small, simple acts of kindness…
Every morning I awake before my husband and daughters, let my dogs out, pour a cup of coffee and turn on the morning news. This routine has rarely changed over the past 20 years with few variations. I might instantaneously check my phone for any new messages or notifications that had arrived overnight, or fold the laundry I left in the dryer, but mostly my mornings have been focused on what’s happening in the outside world through my local news broadcast. I began noticing how sad and fearful I became as they replay story after story for those “just joining” the broadcast. Why do I continue to sit and watch this when It makes me feel bad? Not a great way to start my day, that’s for sure.
I began being more mindful of this morning habit and here’s what I have found.
Day after day, the news was filled with horrifying stories of road rage, political squabbling, Isis killings, drug addiction and devastating natural disasters. While watching the images of family members recanting their sad stories of loss, I began to feel their sadness myself, as well as their anger at the cause of their pain. When images of neighborhoods crushed by tornadoes flashed across the screen, I began wondering what I would do in their situation, so much loss was distressing. My coffee tasted bitter, my thoughts were fearful and I felt little motivation due to all of the negative emotions I was experiencing.
It was time to change my routine and take back my mornings! I needed to create a mindful, positive, and motivational routine that would alter my outlook and create positive energy for myself and those around me. Boiling it down, what was the one word that would describe what I was seeking in my morning?
It was as simple as that!
Kindness is the quality or state of being gentle and considerate to others (according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary). Kindness is a noun. A noun being the object of a verb, or an act, therefore, you must act before it can be labeled “kind.” To be described as kind, you must begin by taking actions that prove to be positive, inspirational, thoughtful, touching, selfless, caring, or charitable.
I began turning off my TV in the morning and I began painting rocks.
No really. It sounds a bit crazy, but it worked. I am fortunate to live near the ocean, and every day I walk the beach with my dogs. Leaving small inspirational stones for fellow beach walkers seemed crazy but also mysterious and exciting to me. A small act of kindness to brighten someone's day.
Maybe they watched the morning news (as I used to do) and felt anxious. What I know for sure is that the simple act of creating rocks and dropping them to inspire others shifted my day. Creativity, and the act of cultivating kindness initiated the shift I desired.
You see, no matter how small the act of kindness may be, the energy behind the act creates a feeling of joy for both the giver and the receiver. This well of emotion leads to further inspiration, and that momentum can become contagious. For the giver, knowing that the spirit of your actions linger with the recipient is more important than the gift itself. The magic is in the maybe, the possibility that the recipient will continue to cultivate kindness and pay it forward.
So, when we look for the small positive moments in each day, and show gratitude for them, our awareness grows. We begin to not only notice kindness, we expect it and then cultivate it.
Great things are done by a series of small acts, and collectively we can create a kindness movement
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