Be a little kind to yourself. Rest and stay in bed…
Every afternoon Nessim greets me with a massive smile and a booming hello, how are you? I’m not his greatest customer. Really I’m not. Usually I pop in for a packet of mints or a packet of jelly snakes for a meeting. Some days I buy a tattslotto ticket for fun from him. But it doesn’t seem to matter to Nessim; he is always genuinely happy to see me. That bursting out of your skin happy. And he’s always up for a quick chat. But what often takes me by surprise is his insight into me and his other customers.
He will introduce people to one another and let you know what their speciality is. “This is Will and he is an accountant. So when you win tattslotto you come and speak with him – yes?” It’s not if we win tattslotto. He seems to think one day everyone will win big. It’s just a matter of time.
One day he introduced me to a group of people hanging around the counter in the late afternoon. “This girl works with the nicest people I have ever met. Truly. They help young people and they are good people; very good people.” You know when you hear a compliment that is totally unexpected, you blush and stutter something? Yep, that was me, I was both proud of the team I work with and really chuffed that he had noticed.
Then I took a minute and thought. Wow Nessim really notices us. Actually, he notices everyone. He makes everyone feel a bit special. From the homeless looking guy that somehow manages to scrape enough together for his morning paper to the guy that works building yachts…to me. I don’t think I have ever seen him not make time, not smile his warm generous smile, or laugh his Buddha belly laugh. Even when he was robbed a few years ago, he stood on the pavement and shook his head with a smile. “Ah, I’m happy I wasn’t hurt. It’s just money, what can you do.” he said. I think I was more upset than he was.
Nessim got me thinking about how such a small action like a smile or a few minutes of your day can make all the difference in the world for someone. I know that there are some days that I have felt tired and grumpy~ready to pack up my bat and ball and go home! Nessim somehow reminds me that the world is still a good place, just with his simple laughing welcome.
It’s funny how our role models can come from some unexpected places. They are not always the massive game changers with the big public profiles. Sometimes they are the every day folk that we bump up against in our day to day lives.
Sometimes your role model may be your mum, your friend or your teacher. Some days they may be a complete stranger. Or in my case, the beautiful older Egyptian man in the local shop, who treats me as if I may be dead before midnight every day…
Day 2 of #30 Days of Kindness
It’s not difficult to be kind. It’s pretty simple really. The most difficult part is getting out of your own head space and thinking about making a difference to someone else’s life.
It’s estimated that over 50,000 young people don’t have a permanent home in Melbourne alone. It’s a staggering statistic.
Because of my line of work, I have learnt how rough homeless people have it – in particular young people. Whether you are sleeping on a string of friend’s couches, relying on emergency accommodation, or living rough on the streets, being consumed with getting by day to day, hour to hour and just surviving, is a nightmare way to live.
Many of the homeless young people I have worked with come from extremely difficult backgrounds, often betrayed by the very adults who are meant to protect them. They have very little in their lives and whatever they have they have fought viciously for.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to be able to support the work of some fantastic, hard working youth homeless agencies. It’s afforded me the unique privilege to be able to participate in changing many of these young people’s lives.
The most surprising thing is that it doesn’t take much to turn some young people’s lives around.
An adult that gives a damn. One that is committed and who follows through. Some basic resources like food and shelter. A bit of support to get some work or get back into school.
An amazing friend of mine who worked in the homeless sector for years said to me once: “You may never know what the story is. You may never actually find out what led to that young person being homeless. But every kid deserves an adult who loves them irrationally.”
I agree with her.
So I may only have a dollar, or five to drop into someone’s cap. Other days I may be able to support the homeless folk who sell The Big Issue, as a form of income or the young person who sells their art work on the streets. The new StrEAT pop up coffee stands, that support the homeless into jobs and entry level certificates are my favourite place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat. Sometimes I am able to donate to things like food hampers or participate in drives for household goods. It feels pretty awesome to be able to help no matter how little or grand the help may be.
The best days though, are days like today, where I got to say hello and smile and hand a homeless young person some money, and with all the warmth I could muster, talk with them for just a few minutes. The smile back was totally worth it.
DAY 1 of 30 Days of Kindness
Almost every weekend Cristian and I take a walk to our local JB HiFi Store. It’s a decent walk which we don’t mind doing because we get to meander through the shopping complex, window shopping for the most part, checking out things like the latest games for Cristian and cameras and shoes for me.
We always stop and buy a drink and a sausage in bread from the sausage sizzle outside of JB JiFi.
Most JBHi Fi’s or Bunnings stores across Victoria have sausage sizzles every weekend usually to raise money for a specific charity.
For nearly a year now, our local sausage sizzle has been run by volunteers from Openaid,1000 Villages, who work to stop the abuse and trafficking of girls and women in Thailand and South East Asia. In Australia they campaign against negative stereotypes and attitudes against girls and women.
Usually we buy a sausage and do our bit.
Today we bought some sausages and donated some money, then we talked to one of the volunteers about their work. It was fascinating and also confronting. How are young girls and women being bought and sold for sex in our modern world? After the conversation we picked up a postcard to check out the website to see how may be able to help a bit more.
Sometimes being kind is about doing what you think you have the capacity to do. This may be just buying that sausage or donating your church change.
Sometimes it’s about stepping it up a little; stepping outside of our comfort zone and what you think you are capable of, and realising that one small act of kindness (or one big act of kindness) is a game changer.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ― Laozi
Okay, so I know that this is an ad, but having been in the little boys shoes, and later in life, in the shop keepers shoes, I know that this kind of thing literally does happen.
No matter what you do, no matter how small you think it is, you can change everything.
Here is the Thai mobile ad that has everyone talking…and crying…enjoy!
1st March, 2014
So today I woke up and decided it is time to step the DBM project up.
It has been 60 days of giving, thinking and learning.
I am inspired to change the world around me, even if it is just one person, or one day at a time. Or in some instances, one small act at a time.
I have learnt that it is easy to give up and get distracted by everything that is wrong with our world. We are all overwhelmed and immersed in the day to day busy-ness, and sometimes it feels easier to let go of our dreams and drown in the never ending noise.
I’ve also learnt that it’s not as hard as we think to change the running dialogue in our heads. It takes practice, yes. And determination to think differently. Absolutely. But it’s not hard. Its about being committed and holding onto a vision that you have for yourself. it’s about swimming up to the surface and taking a big breath of fresh, life giving oxygen!
Over the past 60 days I have learnt to think differently. To think beyond myself. To be less self absorbed, and more aware of the world around me. I look into people’s eyes now. I smile a hell of a lot more. I see the goodness around me. I notice the acts of kindness.
I have been reading so much more. Listening to inspirational speakers, learning new skills to inspire myself to become a better person. To grow into the human being I aspire to be. I am learning new ways to set goals and challenges, and new strategies to support myself and my passion. I am learning about what it means to create something new. That sometimes you will be criticised for what you are doing. But that in the end ‘it’s not the critic that counts’. It’s about getting into the arena and daring greatly!
Over the past 60 days I have focussed on giving. I am endlessly surprised at how much I seem to receive back. No matter how much I give, the return is always much more than what I have offered. But most of my giving has still been what I call, ‘playing small’. There is not much risk attached to what I have been doing. It’s essentially easy. Don’t get me wrong, to take time out of my day to speak to a sick colleague, or open a door, help someone onto the tram, help out with directions, make a cup of tea for someone who needs it, cook a meal, send a text or leave a gift, all of these things, I’m sure, these things have made a difference in people’s daily experience. They matter, but they are the first small step towards a greater purpose.
Today is the first day of changing it up a little more.
I want to make a clear difference in peoples lives. So I am undertaking 30 days of acts of kindness. Acts that have a longer term effect. I’m not going to post 30 days of acts…just a few, but I hope that you might be inspired to join me. And if you do, I’d love to hear about it!
I was inspired by the following post I saw on Suspended Coffees from the Boston Magazine folk about Cathy O’Grady and her 318 Random Acts of Kindness. Wow! what an extraordinary and amazing woman. To turn her grief into something incredibly strong and beautiful.
I am inspired by people who want to create something new. Who want to be amazing people in a brave new world. They challenge me to do better, to aspire to be greater than who I am right now. They also inspire me to be prepared to ‘show up and get my ass kicked” as Brene Brown puts it.
30 days of 30 acts of kindness…imagine if we all did that?
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu
24th February, 2014
There are some days that you really have no option but to take care of yourself. There are days that you can push through the pain and stretch yourself until you reach new and dizzying heights. Then there are days that you need to walk away, nurture your team of thousands of tiny cells and live to fight another day.
Here’s my top 9 TLC favourites!
- Go to bed. No-one really cares if it’s 2 in the afternoon. Put yourself to bed!
- Wear something comfortable, like your favourite pyjamas or sweat pants, or boxers and a singlet; something that you feel great in!
- Before you jump in between the sheets, make sure they are fresh, and that you have plenty of pillows and your favourite blanket or throw to keep you warm and comforted. Maybe a fragrant heat pack will feel calming? The idea is to surround yourself with things that make you feel safe and cared for – even if you are caring for yourself.
- Take a pot of herbal tea with you. Make sure that you set up a tea tray that makes you feel cared for. Include some fresh honey, a lovely mug or tea cup and saucer, some napkins and cover your tea pot to keep your tea warm. Or perhaps some hot chocolate is more your style?
- Take some extra yummy supplies. This may be some chocolate, some pastries like an almond croissant, or some fresh fruit salad; whatever floats your boat!
- Bring along an easy read. This isn’t the time to wade through your text book or read the latest award winning piece of literature. You want to read something gentle and preferable sweet. Extremely sweet. And uplifting. And something with a bit of sunshine and hope. Get the picture?
- Dock your ipod and play some good music, or a listen to an inspirational author. Now isn’t the time to play the latest NIN CD, but if you have something uplifting, or soothing then play away.
- Watch your favourite comedy, a romantic flick or a kids film. Anything that might give you a giggle, or reinstate your faith in humanity again.
- Sleep! Close the blinds, shut the curtains and give yourself permission to take a nap! It will give your brain and your body a chance to recuperate.
“By loving you more, you love the person you are caring for more. ”
― Peggi Speers, The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love
18th February, 2014
Just a little one today…but with a big message…
4th February, 2014
So this week has all been about being kind. Some days this means being a little kinder to myself. But most days, hours, minutes, it means stepping up and being kinder to someone else.
Because when you are kind, you reconnect with your humanity and somehow kindness always seems to bounce back on itself. You start out thinking that being kind is going to cost you somehow – that you will need to ‘work at it’ and it will mean a huge investment of your time and energy. This is where we are sadly insane!
My experience is this: Kindness is a pretty down to earth and simple thing. When you practice kindness it doesn’t take up much energy at all, and really not much time. About the most ‘exhausting’ thing I have done is volunteer, and believe me I got more from that exchange than what I contributed!
And even after all of that ‘effort’ and ‘hard work’ I was buzzed for such a longtime that you may be mistaken for thinking I had overdosed on raspberry lemonade!
The truth is that being kind to others, no matter how small the kindness is, makes you feel like the best human being on the planet. It’s as if we remember who we are meant to be; how we are meant to walk this earth, and how we are meant to live our lives.
There is also growing amount of evidence that being kinder, and practicing even small acts of kindness, is also good for our mental and physical health. See what I mean? We somehow end up on the better end of this deal all the time.
So today I thought I would share a few majestic ways to be a little kinder, and in return, I hope that this transforms your life.
- Go out of your way to make someone a fresh cup of tea or coffee.
- Put that gold coin rattling around in your bag in the homeless guy’s cup.
- Go a little wild and buy him a takeaway coffee or cold drink…and put a few gold coins in his cup!
- Leave flowers or a potted plant for a friend who needs a little cheering up.
- Give away the old car you are going to only get $250 for at the dealership.
- Locate your local soup van and donate a night of your time.
- Send a greeting card with a nice message to someone who you would normally not be kind to.
- Help the mother with the screaming child in the supermarket, rather than mutter under your breath about naughty children.
- Leave fresh water outside for birds or passing puppies.
- Save your gold coins in a cheap tin money box and donate the tin to your local homeless shelter.
- Moving house? Perhaps you can donate some furniture to a homeless shelter or a charity? Youth homeless services are always looking for furniture in good condition.
- Pay the parking meter for someone else!
- Give someone a second chance, or perhaps a third.
- Say thank you to your partner. Often. tell them how amazing they are. Often!
- Buy an extra bunch of flowers when you visit someone in hospital and ask the nurses to give them to someone.
- Buy the nurses a bunch of flowers, or a box of chocolates.
- Give a friend or your partner a foot massage, or a full massage.
- Make someone who needs a bit of support some dinner.
- Take a sick friend soup or a picnic in bed, with a good book and a funny card.
- Encourage your children to look after their toys and clothes so they can donate them to a charity when they have grown out of them.
- Spend time with your children and praise them for kind behaviour.
- If you know someone is going through a difficult time, help out a little by purchasing a gift card, or sending a little money in the mail. They don’t even need to know who you are!
- Clean your sister/brother/cousin’s room for them.
- Wash the family dishes!
- Cook your parents a meal.
- Make fresh jam and give it out to all of your colleagues at work.
- Leave a post it note with a kind message on someone’s computer screen.
- Think before you speak! Say kind and genuine things to the people you see/work or live with all day!
- Wash your friends car.
- Plant a herb garden and then share the herbs when they grow.
- Be kind and courteous when you drive; leave the poison of road rage behind.
- Think about the words you use all day. Make an effort to speak positively, instead of negatively.
- Get excited for other peoples dreams. Listen to them and believe in them.
- Be present for your family, friends and colleagues. Show them that you are interested by focussing on them, looking them in the eyes and listening.
- Open doors for people.
- Give up your seat on a bus/tram/train or at an event.
- Tell the person you love that you love them, as many times as you can. There is never too many times!
- Go out of your way for someone just once. Maybe this is about organising a surprise dinner or event, or driving someone home, that is not on your way home.
- Offer to babysit a friends children so they can have a night out together.
- Surprise your love with small random gifts or cards with a poem. Pop something in their lunch, or set up a picnic dinner in the back yard or on the balcony under the stars.
- Call your mother/grandmother/father/grandfather , or person that raised you, at least every week.
- Approach every phone call with a smile. The person at the other end will hear the smile in your voice.
- Stand up for people who are being bullied or wrongfully treated, even if you are a little scared yourself.
- Get to know your neighbours f you can. Even if you just watch out for the old lady across the road, or mow the neighbours lawn when you mow your own.
- Take a moment to thank someone who has made a difference in your life or has helped you. You can do this in so many ways from sending a text message to sending a card. Or have a conversation with them and thank them face to face. Don’t let them brush you off! Make sure that they hear you.
- Smile at strangers. I do this all the time and I am amazed at how many people smile back.
- Try and turn someones day around. Got a grumpy staff member at the check out, or a waiter/waitress in a bad mood? See if you can make them smile. Often it just takes a kind word, or an understanding comment that acknowledges their work to make them feel a bit better.
- Pay for the person next in line behind you. Perhaps this is a coffee, or their sandwich, or the road /bridge toll, their petrol, or a cold drink, or perhaps even a whole meal like a family dinner!
- Be a mentor for someone. This may be a child, or a colleague. Be their hero for a day or a year. Go the extra mile to assist them with changing their world and achieve their dreams.
- Be the kindest person you can be – it will change your life!
There are so many ways to let a little kindness into your life, I really could have listed hundreds of different ideas to try. But I encourage you to check out the following kindness movements: randomactsofkindness.org and kindness.com.au
Or you could just google kindness and find the relevant kindness sites in your part of the world. I’ll leave you tonight with a beautiful quote: