Tag Archives: kindness

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 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 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 729: We are in this together

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Stumbled across this photo and had to share.

It reminded me that acts of kindness can occur in the most unlikely places.

I’ve been practicing “random acts of friendliness” lately, which doesn’t sound like much except that I might be the least friendly person I know.

12670339_1018429908252027_8086540552589000654_nNot that I don’t like people, I do. Most people. Okay, some people. But I tend to walk around lost in my own thoughts so I frequently pass by someone I know and they have to wave their arms in front of me to get me to pay attention and notice them.

In the past few weeks, though, I have made a concerted effort to smile at strangers, hold doors open, the works. This is a big city, so sometimes that has gotten me strange looks, but not very often, surprisingly enough.

But, as I found out the other day, looks can be deceiving.

In our office building, because of a glitch with our elevator system, we need security guards to ride up and down with us from the seventh floor and operate the elevator with a key. I can’t even imaging how long these shifts must feel for the security guards, so I try to chat with them on the trip.

Most of those on elevator patrol welcome the conversation, but one guy in particular was particularly hard to read. He was seated on a chair, staring at the ground, willing the day to be over.

But as soon as I asked him how his day was going, he turned around and his whole face lit up. His smile changed him into a completely different person. We chatted for a few minutes, and now when I see him, he smiles right away and we share a few words.

I don’t know whose day got brighter, his or mine.

p.s.

Instead of a song for the day, I have a laugh for the day. Try not to howl, I dare ya!

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Day 728: For the love of lattes

Facebook can make me crazy. Between the ranting and the humble-bragging, sometimes I wonder why I even signed on.

But then I see a post like this (shared by a lovely friend) … one that makes my day, and I remember why I’m still there.

I’ve never turned road rage on its head like this guy did but I have been upset or annoyed with someone and then, after chatting with them, learned more than I bargained for and found my anger replaced by empathy.

As Plato once said … possibly while heading to Starbucks… “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

Going to try and keep that in mind.

***********

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.21.18 PMWhy am I posting a selfie with a coffee cup and a peace sign? Well, I’d like to share something with you. This morning I was driving my car, when a gentleman cut me off and gave me the finger! This surprised me because I was unaware WHY he did this. My thoughts are because he didn’t use his turn signal, so it was unexpected….he also shouted “Asshole” to me. Lol

Anyways, I saw he pulled into the Starbucks. Well, I thought, here’s my chance to tell him what I think of his poor manners and disrespect. I went in to find him, and I couldn’t. So I went to buy myself a coffee, he then comes in line, from the bathroom. I turned around to tell him that it’s his lucky day! “What could I buy you? My treat!”

He looked at me almost stunned.

“Really?” He said.

After buying him the drink, I told him that I was the guy he “flipped off” earlier.
“Man, I’m so sorry.” He said. “I’m just super stressed.”

I told him that it’s all good!

We talked for a bit and later we found out that his turn signal is actually burnt out! Lol

So, why am I sharing this?

Because we tend to celebrate people getting revenge, or “getting what they deserve.”

My question is, when does it end? When does the fighting and anger stop? It’s only when PEACE makes its way in and overcomes.

Remember, everyone may be going through something that you know nothing about.

That is all.

Source.

p.s. Song for today, one of my absolute favourites: “Do the Right Thing” by Ages and Ages. Enjoy!

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