There is no joy without gratitude

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DAY 64

5th March, 2014

I’ve spoken quite a bit on this blog about gratitude. I am not alone of course. Just google ‘gratitude’ and you will be inundated with information on the mental and physical health benefits of practicing gratitude, the best ways to practice gratitude and the reasons why practicing gratitude can change your life.

There is a reason why there is a deluge of information about focussing on the present and being grateful for what you already have. It’s because until you are truly grateful for the things in your life that make life worth living, until you stop to smell the roses, you won’t really experience joy.

Have you ever worked your ass off to reach a goal and then when you finally achieved it/bought it/experienced it/ you took a nose dive into depression? The champagne moment lasted for a day or two, maybe a week and then you flat lined and started looking for the next big mountain to climb.

We’ve somehow lost our ability to not only stay in the moment and be present and grateful, but also to enjoy our accomplishments.

It’s as if we have been conditioned to get the task done, tick that goal off, add it to the growing list of accomplishments and then move on to the next one. Well, that’s great right? At the end of our lives we will have this incredible list of achievements read out at our eulogy. People will talk about the thousands of goals we ticked off in our lifetime and…and what?

How is this living our lives? Where are we leaning into that moment of bliss and breathing in the air around us. Are we stopping time to look into the face of our new born babies, or allowing ourselves to laugh for hours with our friends? When are we giving ourselves permission to experience the joy without any strings attached? A luxurious, blissful joy of being here, right now, in this amazing moment.

Over the past few months, I have spent my days considering that everyone I meet may be dead before midnight tonight. It’s a an odd place to be in your head. A little dark,  a bit emo but also liberating. The very idea has allowed me to be thoughtful and generous, well beyond my normal parameters. It has allowed me to say things and do things that I would not have taken the time to do a few months ago. This thought has also sometimes been a reality. People have left this planet. People I know, and people I barely know have passed away over the past two months. Some have been very young, some older, some by unexpected accidents or illnesses, some from long term illness. And I have been reminded of our fragile state. Our humanity.

It has also made me consider my own mortality. I may be planning to be tap dancing until I am 110, but I may not live past tomorrow, so all I really have is today. Today, this moment right now, is all you can be sure of. So it’s important to take the time to really see what you have in your life already, without feeling the tug to get on with something useful…the next big goal. It’s important to experience the joy of being alive, no matter what.

Here are a few of my favourite tips to help you with your gratitude process:

  • Create a gratitude ritual every day – Establish a set time every day. Set up a space so you can think. This could be a quiet time in your day when the baby is asleep, or in the car before you pick up the kids, or as you eat breakfast before the family wakes up. Perhaps you can take a break from work for 25 minutes, or join up with some friends to form a gratitude circle.
  • Set up a Gratitude Journal or a Gratitude Jar – I love both ideas. Your journal can go with you everywhere, and if you are having a rough day, you can read what you have written to remind yourself of all the amazing goodness in your life. I also love the jar idea. Especially if you write each thing you are grateful for on a separate piece of paper. Traditionally these jars are opened on New Years Eve – you can celebrate with a glass of bubbly and by opening your jar and reading all of the extraordinary and amazing things that have happened to you or that you have in your life! What an awesome way to bring in the new year!
  • Write it down – there is so much research now about when we write down what we are thinking it cements it in our head. It’s even better to say what you are grateful for out loud, which is the benefit of a gratitude circle, but if you can’t do that, writing down what you are grateful for will definitely work.
  • Get Specific – Don’t write down “I’m grateful for my family.” This is how gratitude lists get boring and stale very quickly. Be specific. Exactly what are you grateful for, and why? Be very clear about what you have. For example: I’m incredibly grateful for my son, who turns up at all hours of the day and night, stays for about 15 minutes before he is off again, but always gives me a huge hug and a kiss and tells me he loves me. He makes my heart sing! Cool right?
  • Lean into the joy – This is probably best done when you are actually experiencing the moment. Start training yourself to dismiss the doom and gloom thoughts and experience the moment. My husband is a great one for expecting the worst. Every time something amazing happens to him or us, he is terrified of being happy. Why? It’s too good to be true. Nothing can be this good. Something bad is going to happen. He’s not the only one. I feel it too, and talking to many of my friends and family – they also have that feeling. It’s like we can’t get too excited or happy, because we’ll be caught unaware when it all goes south! How insane are we? We can’t be too happy because we might jinx ourselves? It’s a really messed up thought process, and it’s affecting our ability to be grateful and to experience the bliss and joy in our lives. Actually it’s affecting our ability to experience our lives. So it’s time to change that crappy thought process. When something beautiful happens – lean into the moment and be thankful that you are experiencing it. It doesn’t have to be grandiose either! Sit and smell the roses, or the freshly brewed coffee or chai latte. Take the time to pat your beautiful cat or nuzzle with your dog…or whatever you do with your pet snake. Kiss your love…for longer than two seconds, and without thinking about putting on the dinner! Tip toe into your children’s bedroom and watch them sleep. You made those little people. Wow! How precious and amazing is that? Hold hands with your girlfriend/boyfriend/brother/sister/mum/dad and tell them how amazing they are to you. Lie in that bubble bath for hours and breathe…feel how amazing and rich your life is.
  • Take a look around you – Because when you start practicing gratitude on a daily basis, you will start to go through your day looking for it, and you will experience your life in a completely different way.

‘One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.’ – Paulo Coelho

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Born

hope

DAY 56

25th February, 2014

BORN

It was Spring when you arrived

A cool early morning

A team of nurses and surgeons brought you into the world

I was young and exhausted and delirious to have you finally in my arms

Your small head was pointy and sore and you screamed at the world around you

Such a little thing

Demanding so much attention

We loved you to sleep

We rocked you and held you until you knew we were there for you

And when you finally smiled it was a good day

We felt blessed through our sleepless nights

Completely thankful that you had chosen us to nurture you, to teach you how to make your way in the world

And as you thrived and grew and danced through the neighbourhood

We smiled with pride

We made you

We were responsible for the boy you had become

Such a lofty place to fall from, so high above, so far away

Such a big thing you have grown to be

So strong, so clever, so sick

We don’t smile so much any more

We step on egg shells and wonder where we went wrong

What did we not see

Did you not feel our love?

As you struggled and fought through the neighbourhood

Did you not realise we were proud of you?

As you left to be alone

It was Summer when we realised that we couldn’t help you,

A long dark evening stifled with heat

I am old and exhausted

But I am still delirious to have you in my arms.

Caz Espinoza, 25th February, 2014

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
― Stephen King

48 Gold stars, and a few trips and falls

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DAY 48

17th February, 2014

Today I realised that I have been on this Dead Before Midnight journey for six weeks.

It’s taken many twists and turns, and every day I have learnt something about myself and how I walk my talk in this world. Some days I am surprised by my actions. I am more generous and caring than I realised! Other days I am confronted with an ugly truth, which compels me to step it up and clean up my act. In my defence, I am committed to this journey. My resolve to be a better human being, to be a leader and hopefully a role model burns inside my heart. So I search out what I think I may need to teach me a better way, or assist me with new thoughts or ideas, and to enrich my soul and open heartedness. There is much reading, and much talking, and plenty of soul searching and accountability!

It has only been six weeks and 48 gold stars  (although who’s counting right?) but I feel like I have been travelling the universe for years. This is predominantly because of the people I am meeting, or re-discovering, and the way I am thinking about my role in their lives, or their role in my lives.

I am convinced that the conversations I am having are meant to be – for the two of us. I am trusting that the lessons learnt are important for my heart and my being – for both of us. And I love, love, love that the time I now take to be present for everyone I meet leads me to feel incredibly grateful for this life; extraordinarily rich.

I didn’t realise that I was working from a deficit model. Always seeing what I didn’t have. Always winging “Why me? Why them?” Always defaulting to a darker place because my view was obscured by a ridiculous idea of success and what I thought it looked like.

But I have so much more than I realised. My life is literally overflowing with beautiful and generous people who care for and love me. I have so much luscious, positive energy flowing around me, and I am gifted with an abundance of opportunities to create something wonderful every single day; Literally EVERY SINGLE DAY! I am so grateful to be able to see this.

Over 48 gold stars I have realised that life has a weird habit of giving back as much as you give. Try spending the day focussed on giving and being grateful for everything that you already have and you will see what I mean. Be determined to give back at every turn, at every possible opportunity. I promise you, you will walk away feeling impossibly richer than when you woke up!

From small offerings like smiling warmly at strangers or saying a kind word to donating money, buying a colleague lunch, or helping someone with their project. Send a gift to someone who would never expect something from you. Simply stop and have a conversation – be genuinely interested and listen. Focus on working through the issue so you can be helpful, not a judgemental road block! Empty your change into the charity tin – all of it! Or better yet, donate that $20 note.

I will never forget my husband and I getting lost in Shibuya, in Tokyo, a few years ago. We were trying to find our friend’s apartment and had gotten confused with the numbering and street signs. We asked a Japanese man who was cycling past us if he spoke English and if he could help us. He was more than happy to, but also wasn’t exactly sure where the apartment was. Instead of leaving us, he took us into the community day centre for older adults, which was a few doors down, to see if they could assist. Within minutes we had a group of staff and our friendly cyclist pouring over a detailed map and helping to find the location. Finally they found where our friend lived and pointed it out on the map, giving us instructions on how to get there. Then our cyclist friend decided that he couldn’t risk us getting lost again, so he walked with us to our friend’s apartment building and again helped us to work the intercom system on security doors at the front of the building. He waited until we were buzzed in before he left us with a friendly wave. WOW! How kind. How generous of him to take time out of his day to help us. All in all it probably took 15 minutes from when we stopped and asked for assistance, but the experience had a massive impact on us and we were incredibly grateful for his help.

Anyway, if you are following my DBM journey, or embarking on a life changing journey of your own, I hope that you too are realising that you are richer than you think you are, and that you are taking the time to give back to the world around you.

“You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.” – Stephen Richards

The pleasure state

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DAY 46

15th February, 2014

I opened my eyes, and immediately wanted to shut them again. Sharp, stinging pain shot across my brain. Great. I have a headache. Again. Immediately my head was filled with all of the things I needed to get done today. The washing, the food shopping, the house needed cleaning and we had a film shoot. With 5 guest speakers and hosts. There was no way I could cancel  it. We were also racing to meet a deadline to upload the next show to YouTube. Even though our show is an amateur project, we already have hundreds of followers who view the show every week, and send us endless comments and cute emails inspiring us to keep making the show. I couldn’t let them down. And frankly I didn’t want to.

I turned over and repositioned the pillow under my head. Maybe if I lay like this a little longer my head would clear. My cat jumped on the bed next to my head and started to need the pillow and purr in my ear. Seriously MiMi? I opened one eye. She purred even louder and nudged my face. This is code for “Get up! I need to be fed.” Now in the past I may have tried to hunker down under my doona, but I have learnt over the ten years of living with MiMi, she is by far the superior being and will always win out in any battle of wills. Her desire to be fed, is far greater than my desire to sleep. Apparently.

So I dragged myself downstairs with my head pounding, fed MiMi and Cuba (our dog who relies on MiMi to do the dirty work and get me out of bed), put the kettle on and rummaged through the medicine cabinet for pain killers. This was going to be one long day.

What an interesting thought.

Well, if that was my mindset, it was definitely going to be one long day. One painfully long day.

What if I changed my thinking, and instead thought about what an amazing day I was about to have? And what if I looked for the good, the beautiful, the exciting, the best of the day? What if I practiced mindfulness, and focused on breathing, being present and savouring every moment?

What if I chased the pleasure?

So here’s what happened today:

  • Our house was filled with vibrant beautiful young women who are all supercharged about the culture they are a part of, and I got to share that passion too.
  • Coloured wigs, doll like make up, laughter, giggles.
  • The washing got done to blaring music and KPop!
  • I had a moment where I thought, “Wow, I am surrounded by this quirky sense of beauty and it’s so gorgeous!”
  • We ate lots of chocolate. It was fantastic.
  • I filmed some really cool interviews and I learnt so much about Japanese fashion and anime!
  • I got to be creative and craft the stories we tell. Super awesome.
  • I cuddled my husband. I breathed him in and looked into his chocolate brown eyes and felt deliriously happy and content. I am so in love with this man.
  • We planned a trip to Japan around our massive wooden kitchen table. We told lots of crazy stories of our previous travels and now we are going with a huge group! Super excited!
  • I drank copious cups of hot sweet tea. I remembered to breath and smell the tea and be in the moment. It helped me to focus my mind and calm myself.
  • We played Japanese card games late into the night and I won my first ever game! Elated! I felt invincible!

When everyone got up to leave, I was stunned that it was nearly 9.00pm! Wow! Where had the day gone? At some point, my head had completely cleared and although I was tired I felt really happy. I had spent the day doing what I loved. With people I really loved being with. I felt awesome. Empowered. Happy. Changing my mindset and focusing on being mindfulI in the morning, meant that I was now feeling lusciously connected to every moment throughout the day.

It’s true that it wasn’t straight forward. Apparently, my mind is a wild little beast that keeps running away with the wolves, so it takes some effort to pull her back to the moment I am in. To stop and breathe. To feel the pleasure of being me in this life.

But I figure that this is like any other new thing I want to learn. It’s like any other new behaviour or skill. So I am committing to practicing mindfulness for the next 30 days.

That’s it. Just 30 days. Every day.

Of being aware of my mindset.

Of being mindful.

Of creating a pleasure state.

Of taking the time to be me.

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
― E.E. Cummings

Things I love Thursday

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DAY 44

13th February, 2014

Odd how we can become immersed in the darkness, trapped in a prison made up of our own fears and longings.Our desire holds the key, a step towards freedom and bliss, but we hang back in the shadows, not quite sure which direction to run in.

Listen to your heart. Trust your instinct. Remind yourself about the richness that surrounds you already. You already have much of what you wish for, you just ned to open your eyes to see it.

So today I am practicing gratitude. I am opening my eyes, and my heart. I am being whole hearted. I am being whole hearted and vulnerable and walking out of the prison in my head and I am free.

Today I am celebrating the things over the past week that I have loved: the complete stranger who saved my son, grandson and daughter in law’s lives last night, by alerting them to their house being on fire- he walked off when the fire brigade arrived, before they could thank him properly~ wordless, grateful; not having enough time to catch up/talk/eat with my friend from the UK ~ hysterical, connected; being brought to tears watching my beautiful daughter in law trying on wedding dresses ~ grateful, joy; having a breakfast feast in a favourite cafe ~ sated; relaxing in the cool early morning air before  the summer day heats up ~ peaceful; my grandson curling into me and wrapping his small arms around my neck ~ love, joy ; waking up with my beautiful English Staffy asleep on the bed beside me ~ love; endless “I love you’s” from my sons ~ love, happiness; the mix of creative exhaustion and pride finishing another show ~ creative ; Butterflies. Everywhere ~ soul, spiritual! Views of my home city, Melbourne, from the top of the Exhibition Building – stunning; being kissed until I fall asleep ~ bliss.

A tale of blood and bliss

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There was blood all over the kitchen floor.

My friend was pale and muttered something about lying down for a bit, then he slid down the wall in slow motion and collapsed on my father’s linoleum floor.

I was horrified.

My eyes were fixed on the deep pulsing slash on my friends forehead. How did this happen? Why did we think this was a great idea? No, seriously, how on earth did we think that this was a smart idea?

The massive silver fishing knife was still in my hand. I dropped it on the kitchen bench like an uninvited spider. It clamoured and protested against the modern brown and orange tiles, it’s sharp blade still covered in Colin’s blood.

Colin.

He was still on the floor, his face stark against his black Irish hair.

God, don’t die. Don’t die.

I ran to the bathroom and found a clean towel; when I got back Colin had slumped a little more down the wall. The bleeding looked like it had slowed a little, but I was fourteen. What the hell did I know?

I lay Colin on the floor and firmly pressed the towel down on the deep crimson gash across his forehead. Colin groaned. Good. He was still breathing. That’s good right?

“You’re going to be fine Colin.” Oh god was I going to cry? Don’t bloody cry. Just stop and think.

Okay, so the good news was that Colin was breathing, and (lifting the towel up) the bleeding was stopping…sort of…I think.

I looked around at the kitchen. The floor was covered in blood from when we had sliced the blade across his forehead. Okay. When I had sliced the blade across his forehead. Colin had screamed like I was murdering him and run around the room with his hands over the cut. “Shit! Shit! That bloody hurt!”

At first I had laughed, thinking he was being a baby, but then I had noticed the blood. Pouring through his fingers. Streaming down his beautiful angular face and onto the floor.

“Sit down Colin! God, you’re making a mess. My mum’s going to kill me!”

Yep, she was going to kill me alright. Here I was with a nearly dead boyfriend, and blood everywhere, and no good excuse for not being in school on a school day.

I looked at Colin.

He was breathing, but he still looked pretty white. Yep, smart idea. Pretend Colin had fallen over and cut his head, so we couldn’t go back to school. It had seemed like the perfect story to get off our afternoon classes. Really there is only so much of geography and Miss Burt that we could take.

So we’d decided to cut his forehead with a knife, and that way it would look like  he had really fallen over. We hadn’t accounted for the fact that a cut from a fall would be jagged, and perhaps filled with gravel or dirt, while a knife leaves a distinct slice through the skin; something which a very astute resident pointed out in emergency a few hours later when Colin’s mum took him in for eighteen stitches. We also hadn’t accounted for my enthusiastic approach to every task I am given, and my unexpected skill for filleting fish; or in this case Colin’s head!

Colin opened his eyes.

I let out a huge sigh. Oh thank god. I think it’s going to be alright.

“What are we going to do now then?” He cocked his eyebrow and gave me a grin.

I burst into semi-hysterical giggles.

“Um…clean up?” My eyes looked around the kitchen. Oh great, there’s blood on the fridge as well.

Colin began to sit up and visibly paled again. I pushed him back down on the floor.

“Perhaps you can lay here for a bit while I clean up this mess, and then we can take you to the doctors.”

“Wasn’t quite the way I thought we’d be spending the afternoon…but I guess we’d better get you away from that knife.” he smirked again, then groaned as I punched him in the arm.

“Well I was determined to make sure we did it right!”

Yes, I was determined.

Perhaps I was also a little misguided, and naive, given I was only fourteen. Oh and I was lucky. Bloody lucky that the universe hadn’t allowed me to actually kill or permanently damage my friend. But I was definitely determined to make something happen.

Determined to get what I wanted.

And it’s true, sometimes determination is the great driving force. I don’t want you to think that it’s not. It keeps you focussed on your goals and it helps you to achieve what you want to achieve in your life. We need that fire. My dogged (perhaps a bit more mature an well thought out now that I am older) determination has certainly brought me incredible experiences and achievement.

But we also need to enjoy the moment. To savour what we are experiencing right now.

Sometimes when you are so determined and focussed on controlling everything in your life, things can spiral out of control. No, it’s true, not everyone slices up their friend with a fishing knife, but if t’s all about the goal, the determination, the fire! fire! fire! you can start making insane decisions in an effort to stay in control.

You also forget to enjoy the very moment you are in.

And it’s often in those moments that you find simple, exquisite joy. That you find you can breathe. That you find you have no real control at all, but this is exactly where you want to be; it’s the essence of a life well lived.

So remember to stop the chaos, step away from the knife and make time in your life to be present in the very moment you are living in.

Being

From Cheetah Learning

From Cheetah Learning

Day 37

Thursday 6th February, 2014

Being

I feel the silver moon dance across your skin

and breathe in the star light

begging you to think again

how is it that you can’t see what you manifest around you

as you lay your muddy path and walk towards tomorrow

please don’t slide into your pain again

please don’t cry

open your heart and find the morning

find the reason to wake

remember how to be brave

you can find your wings again

and let your fingers dance through the water

feel the ocean smash through your soul

breathe the stardust and the salty life that surges and surrounds you

sing your joy again

be brave and

gather tomorrow towards your heart

please remember your courage

rise up and fly again.

Carol Espinoza, 6th February, 2014

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
― Neil GaimanThe Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections

A sickly little moment

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Day 36

5th February, 2014

Today I have been feeling pretty sickly, so I thought I would focus on ‘things that I love’ to make me feel a bit better. If you haven’t tried this before, it is an idea started by Gala Darling, who I think is one of the most inspirational bloggers around. She posts “Things I Love Thursday’ on her facebook page and site every, you guessed it, Thursday.

Mine are a little different. I usually post a “Things I Loved this week” on my facebook page every Sunday night. It’s a good reminder of the extraordinary life I am living and how much love and joy I am surrounded by. It’s also a little reminder of how quirky I am, but still good.

Anyway, hopefully it inspires you. If you are having a tricky day or not feeling too good for whatever reason, remember to breathe and that your life is very precious.

Things I LOVED this week: a kind text message from a very beautiful friend, who really has no clue how beautiful she is; endless cups of tea in bed with my favourite, turquoise and crimson china tea cup; creating my Dream Board and realising that I have already accomplished quite a few of the goals on my bucket list in just a month! Watching my beautiful niece get married to an equally beautiful young man in the Royal Botanical Gardens, and dancing at their wedding to a Syrian band; realising that I am ridiculously fortunate to be working and playing along side some incredibly gutsy and talented women; meeting a few of our awesome fans who follow our YouTube Japanese pop culture show, ‘It’s Japan, Man!‘ Cuddles with my sweetheart of a cat, Mia; big conversations with the little people in our family, Sienna, baby Jordan and baby Cruz; escaping from the 40+ heat, to a lovely little restaurant on the banks of the river, and having an unexpected lunch with friends; finding another quirky film that I love ~ Warm Bodies ~ who knew zombies could be sooo cute! Sleeping. A lot! Hanging out with a room full of entrepreneurial and creative women at the League Of Extraordinary Women’s breakfast; Having a pedicure and a foot massage, there is something incredibly luxurious about being taken care of; holding hands with my sweetheart of a husband and falling asleep, again, in his arms. These are the things I loved this week.

By the way, how are your Gratitude Jars, or your Bucket List Jars going?

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  – Maya Angelou

50 majestic ways to be a little kinder

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Day 35

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.

Why?

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.

  1. Go out of your way to make someone a fresh cup of tea or coffee.
  2. Put that gold coin rattling around in your bag in the homeless guy’s cup.
  3. Go a little wild and buy him a takeaway coffee or cold drink…and put a few gold coins in his cup!
  4. Leave flowers or a potted plant for a friend who needs a little cheering up.
  5. Give away the old car you are going to only get $250 for at the dealership.
  6. Locate your local soup van and donate a night of your time.
  7. Send a greeting card with a nice message to someone who you would normally not be kind to.
  8. Help the mother with the screaming child in the supermarket, rather than mutter under your breath about naughty children.
  9. Leave fresh water outside for birds or passing puppies.
  10. Save your gold coins in a cheap tin money box and donate the tin to your local homeless shelter.
  11. 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.
  12. Pay the parking meter for someone else!
  13. Give someone a second chance, or perhaps a third.
  14. Say thank you to your partner. Often. tell them how amazing they are. Often!
  15. Buy an extra bunch of flowers when you visit someone in hospital and ask the nurses to give them to someone.
  16. Buy the nurses a bunch of flowers, or a box of chocolates.
  17. Give a friend or your partner a foot massage, or a full massage.
  18. Make someone who needs a bit of support some dinner.
  19. Take a sick friend soup or a picnic in bed, with a good book and a funny card.
  20. 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.
  21. Spend time with your children and praise them for kind behaviour.
  22. 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!
  23. Clean your sister/brother/cousin’s room for them.
  24. Wash the family dishes!
  25. Cook your parents a meal.
  26. Make fresh jam and give it out to all of your colleagues at work.
  27. Leave a post it note with a kind message on someone’s computer screen.
  28. Think before you speak! Say kind and genuine things to the people you see/work or live with all day!
  29. Wash your friends car.
  30. Plant a herb garden and then share the herbs when they grow.
  31. Be kind and courteous when you drive; leave the poison of road rage behind.
  32. Think about the words you use all day. Make an effort to speak positively, instead of negatively.
  33. Get excited for other peoples dreams. Listen to them and believe in them.
  34. 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.
  35. Open doors for people.
  36. Give up your seat on a bus/tram/train or at an event.
  37. Tell the person you love that you love them, as many times as you can. There is never too many times!
  38. 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.
  39. Offer to babysit a friends children so they can have a night out together.
  40. 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.
  41. Call your mother/grandmother/father/grandfather , or person that raised you, at least every week.
  42. Approach every phone call with a smile. The person at the other end will hear the smile in your voice.
  43. Stand up for people who are being bullied or wrongfully treated, even if you are a little scared yourself.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Smile at strangers. I do this all the time and I am amazed at how many people smile back.
  47. 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.
  48. 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!
  49. 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.
  50. 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:

“It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.” Charles de Lint