Day 738: The power of music

We’ve probably all experienced the power of music at one time or another … how it can entertain, bewitch, even heal.

This story struck me for two reasons. How volunteering can change the life of the volunteer even more than those they’re helping (it’s done that for me).

And how music connects with a deep part of our soul, and brings us to life.

Just had to share, hope you enjoy it.

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Day 737: Lost and found times two

mitten.JPGOnce upon a time I had a pair of mittens. Warm mittens. Emblazoned with a maple leaf.

I was so careful with these mittens, you’d think they were spun with pure gold, not wool. When I wasn’t wearing them, I’d tuck them into my purse or a tote bag so I wouldn’t drop them. I kept them in a safe place every night so I could grab them in the a.m.

But then, one morning, as I was coming into work, I got distracted by holding the door from the street open for a young guy using crutches, his left leg in one of those hard plastic casts.

I’ve had my fill of casts this past year, so I was eager to help him out. When I left the office that night and my mittens weren’t in my bag, I thought I’d just left them behind on my desk.

Nope. They weren’t there in the morning. I’d lost my beloved mitts.

I shared my sad tale with some colleagues when we were out at lunch and they suggested I check with the security desk on the main floor. Since I’d dropped them somewhere between the main door of the building and our office on the seventh floor, there was a chance some kind soul might have turned them in.

So, on the way back from lunch, a lovely coworker stepped up to the security desk and asked about my mittens. Bam. He pulled out a red, white and grey woolly item. Only one. Then I struck out at the other security desk closer to where I’d opened the door for Mr. Foot Cast.

I was happy to have one back but wasn’t about to give up. A few days later, after a prayer to St. Anthony (the patron saint of lost articles never lets me down 🙂 ), I kept looking around the main floor of the building in case someone had left it on a ledge or something. Nada.

Then something told me to ask again at the security desk I’d struck out at. And Bingo! The security guard pulled out a bin that looked like it was designated for lost and found items and there was my second mitten!

So that meant two different people were kind enough to turn in each of my mittens (which I must’ve dropped separately) at two different security desks.

There is much good in the world my friends. Much good.

p.s.

Song for the day, enjoy!

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Day 736: Paying it forward… on wheels

emergencycompliment

Need a quick pick me up? Visit emergencycompliment.com

You hear the term “paying it forward” a lot, and I’m here to tell you how cool it feels when you actually get to do that.

This was a small example, but hey, every little bit helps, right?

A couple of weeks ago, after a looooong day, I fell asleep on my bus. So fast asleep that I missed my stop.

Now, this wouldn’t be such a big deal on a regular bus, but I was on an express bus that, after my stop, hopped back on the expressway, rocketed north a few kilometres and snaked through tiny streets that I’d never seen.

When I woke up and realized what had happened, I panicked and asked the young woman next to me, who wore a hijab and really cute eyeglasses, where we were.

She told me and looked more upset than I was because, as it turned out, I woke up IMMEDIATELY after the bus pulled away from my stop.

To complicate matters further, my husband was waiting for me at my bus stop.

streetsoftoronto.JPG

Photo: @streetsoftoronto on IG

Thank goodness for cell phones. I got off the bus as soon as I could and, coincidentally, the young woman beside me got off at the same stop.

She must’ve noticed how confused I looked on this strange street in the dark because she walked back from the crosswalk to give me explicit instructions on where we were so I could describe it to my husband when I called him.

Not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things… I mean, I was only about a 10-minute drive away from my original stop. But still, I was touched that she could see I was freaked out, and took the time to help me.

Fast forward to this past week. I was waiting for my express bus again (having fully caffeinated this time 🙂 ) and a different bus came by first.

Just when the bus closed its doors and started to drive away, I spotted an older woman carrying heavy bags bolt out of a nearby building and start running for the bus.

Without thinking, I started waving my arms around to try and catch the driver’s attention, jumping and flailing like I was at a Leafs game. The lady behind me started doing the same thing and the bus screeched to a halt and the woman with the bags got on.

“I’ve been there,” I said to the lady behind me and we both laughed.

Moral of the story: We commuters have to stick together. 🙂

p.s.

Song of the day… enjoy!

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Day 735: Ice, ice, baby


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Okay, so it hasn’t been quite this icy on Toronto streets lately, but it has been pretty slippery in spots out there.

And I have broken both wrists over the past two years … the left one after a very bad fall that bruised both my arm and my ego.

So, forgive me if I’ve been a little skittish out there and inching along even more slowly than my 82-year-old Pops.

In fact, right outside his building, I almost went flying went I walked across a patch of black ice on the way to the grocery store.

So when I saw that the lock had rusted off the box of rock salt outside the store, I was hit with a brainwave (my annual one).

And a plastic bag left behind at the bank machine beside the supermarket helped me execute my cunning plan.

After I came out of the store with my dad’s purchases, I used the extra bag to scoop up as much salt as I could from the box. Since I was using it for the public good, on a route directly in front of the store, I figured no one would mind. (And I didn’t set off any sirens or alarm bells, so, SCORE!)

I carefully navigated the snowy sidewalk back to my dad’s building, and when I got to the patch of black ice, I carefully distributed my swiped salt as evenly as I could over the surface.

Yes, I ended up having to use my bare hands and risk dreaded chapped skin, but it was well worth it. Disaster hopefully averted… until the next storm, anyway.

In other winter good-deed news, a friend of mine told me that her neighbour regularly takes her snowblower over to my friend’s property and takes care of her driveway too… how nice is that?!

Stay upright, all!

how-to-walk-on-ice

p.s.

I shouldn’t laugh at this after my falling history but I just can’t help myself. Enjoy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Day 734: Random or not-so-random, kindness matters

coverstory-blitt-newspaper-revised-875x1200-1478270888I love hearing about random acts of kindness. That’s basically what this whole blog is about. Those small, everyday kindnesses that can make a big difference to someone else.

So I found this article by Dr. Susan Smalley, called There are no random acts of kindness: the non-random nature of kindness is key to its value, really interesting.

Here’s an excerpt:

I think it is a misnomer to describe acts of kindness as random; kindness arises with an intention to “be kind” followed by an action. While the acts may be directed toward anonymous people or animals, the person’s act of kindness is anything but random — it is deliberate and directional — non-random in nature.

I think that the non-random nature of kindness is key to its value. It reflects a conscious choice on the part of the actor, to give, to help, to share and to soothe. It seems to me that it is in the conscious choice we reveal our role in shaping our own humanity and even our evolutionary future.

The preparation of a sack lunch for a loved one is full of kindness; it is intentional and directional. I remember writing little notes and including small “surprises” (e.g. Hershey kiss) for my kids in their lunches when they were little. A sack lunch can carry a lot of love within it.The other day I saw my daughter preparing a “sack lunch” for her boyfriend who is in a rather rigorous 5 day a week 8 hour a day school program. She wrote his name on the bag — just like I used to do for her and her brothers when they were little. It was such a sweet act of kindness, and it made me think about all those sack lunches that will be prepared in the next months as the fall school season begins.

But there are many non-random acts of kindness around us all the time. When we meet a homeless man or woman on the street, we may offer a cup of coffee, give some change, or just wish them well with a smile and hello. That is anything but random — we choose to place our attention on them and we choose how to respond — with kindness or not…

I think what we really want to practice are more non-random acts of kindness – directed to those we know and to those we don’t know – as much possible.

I am sure it will make our lives happier and the world a kinder place.

So, whether we call them random or deliberate is clearly not the important thing. But that we try to do them at all.

One very non-random thing I’ve done a couple of times is to donate stacks of my beloved New Yorker magazine (which I try to read cover to cover, because every issue is just so dang amazing, but don’t always get to do) at my local hospital.

They conveniently have a big bin near the entrance to collect reading material for patients and their friends and families. What a great idea!

Recycling is all well and good but if you can share a great read with others that, to me, is an act of kindness… although definitely not a random one.

p.s.

Song of the day, for the holidays. Enjoy!

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Day 733: TTC kindness

I heard about this story on CBC radio this morning and had to share the original FB post that sparked the story:

ttcstory

I sincerely hope I would jump in and try to help if anything like this ever happens to me.

After all, I also don’t leave the house without Advil. 🙂

p.s.

Song of the day for your listening pleasure:

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Day 732: Love matters

textlovequotemusicquotesbeatles-8bdafe6d1cc4e8b3aca1e302b0344fdd_hThis past year has seen some dark times on the world stage, making it hard not to get fearful or depressed.

In fact, an old friend of mine gave me a call about that on the eve of the U.S. election last week. He suffers from schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, among other ailments and, beyond that, is an artist and songwriter who is very sensitive to sensationalized news reports about world events or natural disasters.

He’d been following reports of the election and was greatly disturbed by the bullying demeanor of one of the candidates and was terrified that this person would be voted in.

I always try to be honest with my friend, not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because he has a keen sense of when someone’s not being completely honest. So I told him that he should try to relax and calm down because there was no chance of this person winning the election. I wasn’t lying, I really believed that at the time.

So, naturally, when this person won, I felt terrible that I’d mislead my friend, who had counted on me to be the voice of reason.

We’ve talked since, and he’s come to terms with things, and I’ve realized that it wasn’t the content of what I told him that was important but mostly that I answered his call at all (he said he’d been calling everyone on his contacts list that day and I’m the only one who answered).

Now, if he’d called me 10 minutes later, I might’ve been in the middle of something and not answered so I feel grateful that I did that time, that I was able to be there for him.

And that’s my hope… that we don’t let fear win. That in these small and simple ways, we can continue to be there for one another and fight fear with love. Always with love.

Thanks for listening.

p.s.

Speaking of love… love this!

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