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Day 742: Survival of the kindest

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In honour of the upcoming World Peace Weekend (Sept. 23-24), wanted to share this amazing video.

It highlights a project that began in Washington State in 2012, called the “Compassion Games” — an antidote to the “Hunger Games” atmosphere of much of our world today.

In 2012, there were two teams in the Compassion Games, Seattle and Louisville. In 2013, two teams grew to 19, and in 2014, there were 159 teams. In 2015, over 200 teams from around the world directly served over 500,000 people.

The Compassion Games website offers ideas on how to participate or support, and even offers tips on starting your own “coopetition,” at work or in your community. “Games” can include any act of compassion, from personal acts of kindness to community service projects, like revitalizing a neighbourhood, starting a food drive or rehabilitating a walking trail.

I’m going to share this idea with our company’s volunteer Philanthropy Committee. Wish me luck!

p.s.

Song for the day. Sara Bareilles singing Smile at the Emmy Awards In Memoriam Tribute in 2014. Beautiful

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Day 741: Elevator diaries

travel-tourism-elevator-lift-automatic_elevator-hotel-elevator_control-vsh0304_low.jpgSo, how’s your day going? Busy? Not busy enough? I hear ya.

Mine’s going okay, pretty quiet.

So quiet that something occurred to me today. I realized that without consciously thinking about it, I’ve started to talk to strangers more than I used to.

Now, the thought of saying even “Hello” to a stranger used to send me into a state of panic. No idea why. I might muster up a smile in return for one, or hold a door open for someone, but rarely, if ever, would I initiate any convo with someone I didn’t know.

“You dropped your glove,” is about as friendly as I’d get.

I think what helped me is that, when our office moved to our current building, we needed security guards to ride up the elevators with us and operate it with a key for the first six months.

The first trips in silence were beyond awkward, so I started asking them how they were doing, what book they were reading, any plans for the weekend? Kindergarten stuff for some, PhD thesis stuff for me.

In fact, when they upgraded our elevators so that we could operate them by ourselves, I really missed those guys. And still say hello when I see them on the main floor.

At first, I thought I was doing them a good deed by giving them a break from a boring task. But once they moved on, I realized they’d been giving me the break. Some warmth, some human connection in a sometimes frosty environment.

So now I’ve started to chat with other strangers too. If I give money to someone sitting in the subway, I greet them or *gasp* make eye contact. Also when waiting in line or for the bus.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not easy for me… but it is getting easier… baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

p.s.

Thought this song was appropriate for today. 🙂

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Day 740: Lone wolf

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Came across this little story today and it really stuck with me.

Maybe because of all the crazy headlines and political turmoil out there right now. I’m certainly guilty of letting it get to me and lashing out online or in person about things I have zero control over.

I want to keep coming back to this story as a reminder to focus on the things I do have control over… like being a little kinder, more empathetic and loving to my loved ones, but also to strangers I may disagree with.

Not easy.

But definitely helps me feel more at peace. We can only do what we can do, as my mom often says.

Maybe it’ll help keep that nasty wolf at bay.

p.s.

Song for the day. One of my favourite jazz vocalists. Enjoy!

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Day 739: Falling for transit

So, I came across this story today and it really hit home (no pun intended).

Ever since I had a bad fall last September on a city street and dislocated and broke my wrist, I have been very nervous walking down the stairs at the subway.

Just like the man in this story, I’d been rushing … to catch a bus to meet my husband for dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary, as it happens.

I still can’t remember if I tripped on the streetcar tracks, or was jostled by hordes of Toronto Blue Jays fans (I still blame the Jays), but I came crashing to earth as if in slow motion and immediately knew something was wrong with my arm.

I had my own guardian angel that day. A lady in white who appeared out of nowhere and asked if I’d like her to go inside the restaurant I sat in front of to ask for some ice.

A passing police officer also helped me, along with a coworker who happened by and wondered why I was on the ground talking to a policeman. He said he didn’t think I’d had enough time to leave the office and tie one on at the bar. 🙂

Anywayyyys, enough about me.

The reason I mention that is because reading the story below about Yves Allard — who fell down the stairs at Toronto’s Bathurst station and was helped by a Good Samaritan —  reminded me of those lovely people who helped me that day.

I really hope I’ll jump in and help too, if I’m needed. I know now how much simple concern and kindness can mean so much when you’re disoriented and hurt and feeling vulnerable.

I’m going to share this story on social media and I hope anyone reading this does so too, the original link is HERE… to help Yves find the “Good Samaritan” so he can thank him.

Here’s an excerpt of his story:

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by Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com

A Toronto resident is searching for a “Good Samaritan” who called 911 after he tumbled down a TTC staircase while rushing to an appointment on Saturday afternoon, sustaining a head injury.

Yves Allard fell down a flight of stairs in Bathurst Station around 4 p.m. while he was making his way to the subway platform. … A man standing on the platform rushed to his aid until emergency crews arrived.

“He kept my conscious so once in a while he would tap my face to make sure I didn’t pass out,” Allard said.

He was rushed to hospital where he was treated for a deep gash wound on the back of his head, receiving eight staples. … Now he wants to thank the stranger in person and has started an online search, posting to social media “letting my guardian angel know I’m okay and that he saved my life.”

The “Good Samaritan” is described as a shorter man, believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, with dark hair.

“I don’t know how to reach him or too much about him … [but] all I want is to thank this man from the bottom of my heart for helping me through a severe trauma,” Allard wrote in his online post.

Full story here.

p.s.

Song for the day:

Love the message of this song, and the performer, Gregory Porter, who I was fortunate enough to see in concert at The Toronto Jazz Festival last summer, and meet him by accident in the CBC Building that same day! It gave me the chance to tell him how much I love his music. I NEVER do things like that if I spot a celebrity… but he was so gracious, he made me glad I did.

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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

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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.

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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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