Category Archives: Kind Act Ideas

Helping Sally Swin – A Story of Kindness

Recently, we were introduced to a site called Help Others.org which is another Kindness website that shares many of the same goals as One Kind Act.com. It’s always great to meet other organizations and people and discuss opportunities for working together to help spread the message. HelpOthers.org is a wonderful organization and they offered to allow us to post stores of kindness that have been submitted to their site… So, we decided to start with this one.

Please be sure to visit HelpOthers.org and download or order your smile cards, you can read more about them at the end of the post.

Helping Sally Swin
Posted on HelpOthers.org
by Optimist

Each year I volunteer at a camp for children with asthma. Having the condition myself, I went there myself as a camper, then became a counselor when I was of age. This camp is an wonderful place that I could spend days talking about – it does amazing things to the kids who go through the program. I’ve met a multitude of unforgettable individuals there, but one child definitely stands out.

One year, as a Senior Counselor, I was in charge of one Teams for games and activities. On the first day, the camp director came to talk to me, leading a small girl. For the purposes of this story, I will call her Sally. She was adorable, vivacious, smart, funny, and about 9 years old. And, in addition to asthma, she had sickle cell disease. This meant I had to keep a very, very close eye on her, particularly during games. Overexertion, dehydration, overheating, being too cold, not being able to breathe right: these were all things that could spell major trouble for Sally. They were things that could potentially be life threatening.

Because of her condition, Sally was not allowed to go swimming in the camp’s pool: the water had to be at least 80 degrees for her to swim, and that had never happened in the camp’s history. She wanted to SO bad, though. Then, worst heat wave ever hit camp. While this made most others miserable, Sally was in heaven; for the first time, the water temperature hit 80 degrees. She begged and pleaded, so I took her to one of the camp doctors. He gave her clearance, and Sally and I headed for the pool. It was there that I found out that Sally had rarely ever been swimming, and did not actually know how to swim.

Now, I’m not the world’s greatest swimmer, but I couldn’t take looking at her face as she watched all the other kids shooting through the water like dolphins. So we got to work. 15 minutes later, everyone in camp knew. She ran from person to person, bragging about the fact that she, who could never swim before, was now a regular little otter.

Sally will always have many more problems than the rest of us have to deal with. It may be years before she gets to swim again. But for that day, she was able to rise above the things that were holding her back and find that she could do anything. And knowing that I had helped put that smile on her face made me feel like I had really touched a life. It wasn’t just about learning how to swim; it was about rising above.

About Help Others.org:helpothers
One college student was talking to another slightly older twenty-something guy about pranks that students do for rival football teams. The older guy says, “Isn’t it interesting that students are motivated to do such incredible acts without getting any credit?” Such acts are fun, collective, creative, and incredibly challenging. But typically, they’re not all that constructive nor do they leave anything with a lasting “wow” feeling either. So the question followed –why not do the same with kind acts?

More friends joined in the conversation. Right then, we thought up a game of doing anonymous act of kindness and leaving behind a “smile card” to keep the chain going. Over the next three months, we tested out the concept. And then, we setup this anonymous website and got started.

Smile CardStarting in September of 2003, smile cards began appearing all around the world. They are markers of a newfangled game of tag, where “you’re it” because someone has done something nice for you. Then it’s your turn to do something nice for someone else and, in the process, pass the card along. This is a game of pay-it-forward: anonymously make someone smile, leave behind a card asking them to keep the ripple going. It’s easy and fun. Is kindness truly contagious? There’s only one way to find out …

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Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Practice Random Acts of Kindness
From “Practice Random Acts of Kindness
by Harold S. Kushner (Foreword)
Practice Random Acts of KIndness

Kindness Is an Attitude and an Action

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

As we move through our lives, we carry with us the accumulated experiences that mold our attitudes and our behavior. When we are young and inexperienced, we are often more vulnerable to being pulled in different directions by the events of life. One bad experience, in which our trust is betrayed, our generosity scorned, or our love rejected, can cause us to build unconscious defenses that have the unintended effect of isolating us, of making us fearful or tentative, and that can cause us to pull back from the world.

Later, as we grow in maturity and wisdom, we learn that although we cannot choose what life will deliver to us, we can choose how we will respond. As we begin to live our lives more consciously—going back and sifting through the events that helped shape us, examining how and why different emotions are triggered in our hearts—we can begin to build an entirely new framework for who we want to be, instead of simply accepting who we ended up being.

Through this deeper understanding of the events that have influenced our lives, of the values we hold most dear, and of the things we need to be happy, we can begin the exciting process of taking control of our lives. At the most fundamental level, this begins with the conscious choice of how we wish to be in the world. From that solid foundation, we can act freely and fearlessly, knowing that our actions will reflect our being out into the world.

The practices in this section focus on the intricate underpinnings of a strong foundation of kindness and will assist you in your exploration of how to release that kindness into the world through your actions.

Start Now

“I’ve decided to try to be a better person. . . . But not right away of course. . . . Maybe a few days from now.”charliebrown
~ SALLY TO CHARLIE BROWN IN A PEANUTS CARTOON

“I spent four years ‘getting ready’ to start a diet. I’d get brochures for weight-control programs and look them over while eating a pastrami sandwich. I’d buy the latest diet books and read them with a bowl of chips. My losing weight was such a topic of conversation that finally—over a substantial lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant—my best friend got so exasperated she said, ‘If you really want to lose weight, then put that damn fork down right now!’ Shocked, I dropped the fork and just sat there with my mouth hanging open. When I closed my mouth, I realized I had started my diet.”

Most of us carry around an image of ourselves as we would like to be—a little thinner or stronger, more patient and reliable. But what we want to be means nothing until we stop intending and start acting.

Like dieting, when it comes to the practice of kindness, right now is the best time to begin. It doesn’t require much work or sacrifice—no giving up desserts, no one hundred leg lifts, no pushing a rock up a steep hill. Just a commitment, right here and now, to smile at the bank teller, give a kind word to the grocery checker. Let the driver in front of you cut in. Simple, really.

Remember What’s Important

“In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another.”
~DAPHNE ROSE KINGMA

In the hustle and bustle of our busy days, full of faxes, phone calls, and a thousand and one errands, it’s really easy to get caught up in the daily details and forget what’s important in life. Often it takes some kind of trauma—the death of a loved one, divorce, a life-threatening illness— to wake us up to what matters. After all, no one on his or her deathbed regretted not spending more time at the office.

Fortunately, we don’t have to be facing a personal tragedy to make our relationships our number one priority. No project, no deadline, no clean kitchen is as important as the quality of your relationship with the person sitting across from you at the breakfast table, as the child who needs your attention right this second, as the mother who is alone in the nursing home. Remembering what’s important gives us the graciousness to take the time, make the phone call, send the card, not say the bitter retort on the tip of our tongue. When we remember what’s important, we generate more loving kindness in our lives.

Take the Risk

“In the long run, we get no more than we have been willing to risk giving.”
~ SHELDON KOPP

“When I was in second grade, a new boy, Derrick showed up halfway through the year. He had a bad leg, and all the kids teased him. I never teased him, but I was afraid of being too nice to him because I didn’t want the other kids to think I was a sissy or whatever second-graders think.

“That summer my mom made me take swimming lessons at the city pool and Derrick was always there. He was a great swimmer, and I found out later that he swam every day to build up strength in his legs. One day during a break in lessons, I was sitting on the side of the pool and he swam up and said hi and thanked me for not teasing him at school. I said something like, ‘Oh, no big deal,’ but inside I felt like a jerk for being afraid to be friendly with him. Now I’m in fourth grade and Derrick is my best friend. In fact, he’s the best friend anyone could ever want.”

So many of us are so afraid of one another—of having our hearts crushed (again), our spirits broken—that we miss out on the love and connection that is available if we would only take the risk. Acts of love and kindness are risky—we risk looking foolish or being rejected; we risk being laughed at or ignored. But if we don’t act, we risk losing even more— the potential for love, for friendship, for communion with another soul. Today, take a risk with just one person.

Accent the Positive

“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. . . . Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”
~ THICH NHAT HANH

“I had one of those days when everything went wrong. It started when I was late for work, wound its way through a mountain of irritated customers, computer breakdowns, short-tempered colleagues, car trouble on the interstate which found me walking to a telephone in a drenching thunderstorm without my umbrella, and ended in a totally irrational and emotionally bruising fight with my husband.

“I ran out of the house, trying somehow to outrun all my problems, but the dark cloud just hung over me. As I walked through our neighborhood remembering all the bad things that had happened that day, the storm that had so rudely soaked me earlier began to clear. I came around a corner that overlooked a valley and was treated to one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen: The clouds had thinned to long, tailing wisps and were floating gracefully apart like some kind of celestial doorway, and the biggest full moon I had ever seen was slowly moving into view. I watched as the light from the moon passed like a hand over the valley, turning the entire rain—soaked valley into a kaleidoscope of reflected light. I just started laughing and crying at the same time. Here I was mired in my own little dirt clod and was being so magnificently reminded by the night sky that there was much more to life than what I was feeling in the moment.”

We are very clever at finding everything that is wrong. And once discovered, we get stuck, like a deer caught in the headlights, intensely focusing on it. In order to be kind to ourselves, we need to learn to see our problems in their real context-to open our eyes and hearts wide enough to drink in all the beauty and joy that is always around us, no matter what is going on.

“Don’t Let Fear Stand in Your Way. Do not be afraid.”
~ JESUS

Several decades ago, sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, who founded the Institute for Creative Altruism at Harvard, identified five obstacles to love: fear, stress, limitations, self-devaluation, and tribal altruism. Not surprisingly, they are also the obstacles to kindness.

When we are afraid, we contract—our muscles tighten, our vision narrows, we physically pull away. In other words, we retreat into a private world, cut off from human connection.

When we are stressed, we operate like an robot on the fritz—twitching physically and emotionally, obsessively focused on the narrow issues that are causing our stress, unable to see, much less reach out to, others. When we believe that we are limited, ineffectual, we seal ourselves in a cocoon of apathy. When we see ourselves as “not good enough,” we constantly re-create a lonely and self-limiting world.

The last obstacle to love and kindness is the most complex: tribal altruism—the sense that the small group is more important than the whole. Tribal altruism is the driving force behind racial conflict, religious intolerance, and war. It is also the dangerous halfway house we can become stuck in when practicing kindness.

When we first overcome our fear, stress, sense of limitation, and self-devaluation to extend kindness to others, we often start with what is near to us—our family, our “tribe,” our religious group, our local community, our nation. But if we stop there, we risk the danger of perpetuating greater harm to the whole of humanity in the name of love for our smaller group. It is only when we can move beyond all five obstacles, when we can see every man, woman, and child as a precious and indispensable part of humanity, that we bring the practice of kindness to its fruition.

What obstacles to kindness do you most often experience? Today, just notice what blocks the free flow of kindness in your own life.

Just Act

Where we’ve gotten mixed up is that we believe actions follow belief. But experience creates belief.
~ THE REVEREND CECIL WILLIAMS

“I’ve always thought of myself as a good person who wanted to do something to make a positive difference in the world. But for years I was paralyzed by the sheer scope of the world’s problems: they seemed so overwhelming to me. In the midst of my private despair, I happened to have lunch with a friend who mentioned that he had been volunteering at a local food project, and he asked if I would be interested in helping out occasionally. His request surprised me. I realized that I wanted to help, but at the same time it just seemed to be so futile. I asked him how he managed to keep his spirits up when the lines of hungry people kept growing.

“He smiled and said, ‘I have to confess, part of the reason I do this is because it is what keeps my spirits up. I can’t solve the problem of hunger in the world, but when I am working in that kitchen, knowing that every plate of food I prepare is going to feed someone who really needs it, I feel more alive, more like the man I want to be.”

It is so easy to get lost in the circular motion of our own thoughts that we forget that it is our actions that set everything— including our thoughts—in motion. Even the most insignificant-seeming action reverberates out into the world, setting off a continuously self-perpetuating chain reaction.

We don’t have to believe that what we are doing will have a significant impact or even make a tiny difference. All we need to do is act—to begin and watch what happens.

raokbookBook Description
A course in compassion from the creators of Random Acts of Kindness, Practice Random Acts of Kindness is a compilation of inspiring meditations, affirmations, and true stories collected from the growing number of “kindness experts” in the world. Contributors include Cecil Williams, Billy Graham, Rosalyn Carter, the Dalai Lama, presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, and a once-homeless millionaire in Los Angeles whose life was transformed by an anonymous act of generosity.

Kindness is a revolution whose time has come and, while most people sincerely want to be more caring, Practice Random Acts of Kindness brings it all home with simple suggestions of how to be kinder and why. From the wake of Hurricane Katrina to the tragedy of the tsunami to troops in Iraq performing acts of daily compassion, we see many glimpses of what a more benevolent world might look like. In Practice Random Acts of Kindness, the editors who flamed the spark of kindness tell us exactly how we can create this future and effect REAL change through kindness. To get your copy you can click on the book cover or CLICK HERE..

Giving The Gift Of You

Giving The Gift Of You
Serving Your Community

To live harmoniously, we need to be supportive and helpful to all people, creatures, and plant life that share this earth with us. While “being of service” is part of being a good citizen of the world, it also feels good to help others. When we do something for others in service, without the expectation of anything in return, we are turning our actions into offerings.

There are many ways to be of service to our community.

There are the obvious and much needed volunteer opportunities, such as serving Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter, mentoring our youth, or cleaning up a beach. Then, there is the kind of service that we may not even think of as being acts of service. Learning a new language (perhaps sign language) so that you can talk to more people is a way to reach out to others. Inviting someone who isn’t motivated enough to exercise on their own to join you on your daily walk is a way to give of yourself. Sharing flowers or vegetables from your garden, organizing a poetry reading, offering to babysit for a busy parent, or donating pet food to an animal shelter all are simple ways to offer your services to your community.

giftofyouThere are many ways that you can serve the world. Imagine the impact we would have on the environment if we picked up one piece of trash off the street everyday and chose not to drive our car once a week. Even gardening tactics such as throwing wildflower seeds onto a vacant lot can brighten the lives of others – including the lives of birds and insects. Everyday, you can do something to make this world a better place. During meditation, ask for guidance on what you can do to be of service. This can be a wonderful way to start your day. Smiling at a stranger who looks down in the dumps or teaching your neighborhood kids how to whistle will impact someone’s day or even their life. Giving of yourself is the best gift that you can give.


About this Articledailyom-small
Reprinted with permission from DailyOM.com – Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day. Register for free at www.dailyom.com © 2004-2007 DailyOM – All Rights Reserved.

Giving To Receive – Generosity

Giving To Receive
Generosity

The most difficult time to be generous is when we ourselves are feeling poor. While some of us have experienced actually being in the red financially, there are those of us who would feel broke even if we had a million dollars in the bank. Either way, as the old adage goes, it is always in giving that we receive. Meaning that when we are living in a state of lack, the very gesture we may least want to give is the very act that could help us create the abundance that we seek. One way to practice generosity is to give energy where it is needed. Giving money to a cause or person in need is one way to give energy. Giving attention, love, or a smile to another person are other acts of giving that we can offer. After all, there are people all over the world that are hungry for love.

Sometimes when we practice generosity, we practice it conditionally. We might be expecting to “receive back” from the person to whom we gave. We might even become angry or resentful if that person doesn’t reciprocate. However, trust in the natural flow of energy, and you will find yourself practicing generosity with no strings attached.

generosityThis is the purest form of giving. Remember that what you send out will always come back you. Selflessly help a friend in need without expecting them to return the same favor in the same way, and know that you, too, will receive that support from the universe when you need it. Besides, while giving conditionally creates stress (because we are waiting with an invisible balance sheet to receive our due), giving unconditionally creates and generates abundance. We give freely, because we trust that there is always an unlimited supply.

Being aware of how much we are always supported by the universe is one of the keys to abundance and generosity. Consciously remember the times you’ve received support from expected and unexpected sources. Remember anyone who has helped you when you’ve needed it most, and bless all situations that come into your life for the lessons and gifts they bring you. Remember that all things given and received emanate from generosity. Giving is an act of gratitude. Plant the seeds of generosity through your acts of giving,
and you will grow the fruits of abundance for yourself and those around you.

About this Article
Reprinted with permission from DailyOM.com – Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day. Register for free at www.dailyom.com © 2004-2007 DailyOM – All Rights Reserved.

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The Secret to Making People Smile

The Secret to Making People Smile
by Matt Hatson

The principle behind OneKindAct is that you take the time to do something for someone else, to make them feel better. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, expensive or overly ambitious, and for me being able to make someone else smile is not only a great gift to others but one you yourself benefit from. I’m sure you know or know someone who knows someone who just seems to lighten the mood when he or she comes in to the room. Perhaps that person seems to have an infectious laugh , tells great jokes or, in many cases, seems to cheer people up and you aren’t so sure why. Well these skills are learnable and here I’ll give you a few insights in to ways that you can be that person, and believe me being able to make people smile is a great personal investment.DayDream

What state are you in?

Whatever a person is doing, they are in a state of mind (we’ll call it state), this is akin to a mode of operation for a machine or computer, and our state varies greatly throughout the day. In some cases our state is a conscious decision – perhaps when reading or going out for a run, but for much of the day our state is governed by our unconscious. Yes, that’s right, the part of us that does all of the work. Whilst our conscious mind is busy trying to remember about 7 things at a time, our unconscious mind is busy keeping us breathing, monitoring the surrounding area for threats to our survival, and recording everything you see, hear and feel for processing at some point. It is estimated that the unconscious is remembering about a million things at a time, so it really is the underwater bit to the conscious mind’s tip of the iceberg.

So what you ask? Well the unconscious also processes all of the words you hear and read. When it does so, it has to make sense of them by referring to their meaning in your memory. Many words evoke emotions or have emotions attached to them, and so to make sense of the words it has to access the images, feelings and sounds related to them. These, to a greater or lesser extent, affect your state. Everything you see, hear, feel, taste, touch and a bunch more besides has the potential to affect your state at both unconscious and conscious levels.

Not convinced? Ok try this. Take a deep breath, breathe it out and read the next group of words.

Depressed, anxious, angry, sad, death, pain, sad, lost, crying, hurt, broken.

How do you feel? If you feel any different to how you felt before reading this article then I have changed your state. Hooray for me.

Get up and shake that out. Think for a moment about something fun you are going to do this week.

Now, take another deep breath and breathe it out, then read these words.

Happy, smile, giggle, laughing, love, kindness, hug, friends, joy, delight, grin.

How do you feel now? Any different? For most people they will feel better reading the second set of words because they put you in to a much nicer state (it takes less muscles to smile than frown, and this seems to be the guide for other aspects of our neurophysiology).

And so, to my point. What you say and how you say it can have a dramatic effect on your state and those around you. Being aware that people are in states all the time means that you can influence them. Try it out today – be deliberate with your wording and notice any changes in a person – posture, colouring, breathing rate are easy signals to notice.

However before you set about tackling the office downer, a word of caution. People in down states are often annoyed by people in up states – the greater the difference between your state and their state, the more likely that you will annoy them. There is a way around this, and it’s called: Continue reading

The Secret and One Kind Act

Coincidence
By
Loving Annie

I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday. Almost went home first, but some little inner voice kept saying “go”, so go to the bookstore I went… Hadn’t been in a while, maybe six weeks or so, which is a looong time for me.

Immediately scooped up nine new novels, from James Patterson to Julie Garwood to Barbara Delinsky to Stephen King to Susan Issacs to Julie Garwood to Lisa Gardner, etc…. As usual, a multi-faceted fiction feast.

As I lugged my haul to the check-out counter, an elderly, handicapped woman began to inquire of the clerk.

She wanted to get a copy of ‘The Secret‘… She was going to be having friends over, and they had all been talking about it. Clearly she wanted to experience whatever was in ‘The Secret’secret-small

The young clerk told her that they were all sold out…

Now here’s the coincidence of it all…

At lunch, I had taken my copy of ‘The Secret’ with me to read… It was sitting on the front seat of my car…

I’d only had the book for a month, and had already read it a half-dozen times for inspiration, and planned on reading it even more as the year went by…

But now that book had a new owner to go to… I snatched it up, and walked rapidly over to the handicapped woman’s car, where she had just started her engine. I knocked on her window and she looked startled, but opened the door.

I told her that I had a copy of ‘The Secret’, and that I wanted her to have it as a gift…

I felt so good walking away… It just felt like the right thing to do — that the energy of kindness/wisdom/inspiration that was in the book was meant to flow into someone else…

Or maybe the handicapped woman had visualized it somehow, unconsciously used her own power of attraction — and it manifested…

About the Author:Loving-Annie
Loving Annie, is one of the newest members of the One Kind Act Team. When she’s not spending time spreading love and happiness or her blog, (What my Heart Knows Inside) she’s working hard to help spread the word about One Kind Act.

Her latest Kind Act will be unveiled on her BLOG : Wednesday, March 7th, 2007, be sure to check it out!

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