Kindness Challenge
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The Kindness Hunger

Author: G. Jefferies

 

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So, week two of the mindfulness challenge, courtesy of Niki Lopez, already has me nearing a deadline that has appeared from nowhere and dropped me right in it. Why? No idea what to put in this post. Not a very mindful way to begin, but one might consider it could be from the alternate viewpoint of it never being far from my thoughts. This week I’ve been looking for random acts of kindness and that, in turn, has had me thinking other thinks which lead to the title of this non-directional ramble.

There is much said, researched and written on the nutritional aspects of healthy eating, exercise and physical activity to develop a healthy mind and body. Yet more upon the mental exercises to reinforce neural connections and learning and the requirement for sleep to cleanse the mind and clear the debris of neurotransmitters to stave off protein build ups leading to degradation of the synapses and long term impact on mental health. These things are part of the blend and yet there is one ingredient that occurred to me a while back but just wasn’t shouting loudly enough for me to hear.

This week I noticed the more time stressed I get the more I see unmindful people and, conversely, the calmer my mind is the more I see mindful people…bit of an epiphany that. Yes, go on…flipping obvious isn’t it?

Well, my take on this is, and apologies Niki as we bantered this on Facebook, that it’s a form of mind hunger. When hungry and mindful it starts feeding on positives. If it dips the other way then it gorges on negatives. In other words in the same way nutrition and physical exercise imparts wellbeing so does consuming the positive things in life and, in particular events or stories that make you smile or find emotion in empathy as a result of a good deed done by a total stranger. Things that, in the modern tech world, can pass you by leaving the diet of daily news and headlines that suggest disaster await at every corner and the world is a place filled with angst and turmoil…nothing else.

Far be it for me to imply there are not disasters and tragedies going on because that would be stupidly naive, there are and things need solving not continual diatribes, endless debates and a macabre eagerness to make every disaster bigger than the last. What’s missing is the balance, well, a few solutions wouldn’t go amiss …which is where my jabber stops and turns toward the point of something or other.

 

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I know Niki said stop watching the news and start looking for kindness in others, be it family, friends or, if my understanding is right, anywhere it may happen. The key this week was to seek it out. However, rightly or wrongly, news is something I decided to take to task and eek out things that normally lie buried behind the headlines.

My first is a combination kindness. It starts with a pensioner friend who religiously supplies me with crosswords and gems of wisdom, not to mention samples from his experimental culinary trials. Oddly, this has happened for many years and thus become something I’ve taken for granted. Except it’s not, not really. It’s actually a kindness, it’s friendship and trust. More so on my part as sampling weird breadsticks, marmalades, crisp attempts and assorted other savoury home-made snacks holds a modicum of personal risk; a case of Bertie Botts every flavour bean if you are onboard with that reference.

That’s part one; the second ties in with the accompanying paper that he drops off each evening. Last Tuesday I retained a page from ‘The i’ and in particular page two which had a section entitled ‘The News Matrix, the day at a glance.’

Of the nine snapshots from around the globe depicting a variety of grim there was one from Canada that didn’t stand out unless one was looking. The leader was;

Syrian refugees help wildfire victims

Syrian refugees who have lived in Canada for mere months have started to raise funds for the victims of a wildfire that destroyed much of the city of Fort McMurray. Morhaf Aldiri, who arrived in Edmonton in February, told the CBC he knew what it was like to lose everything and wanted to give something back

Our press and political swaggering gives a bad press to refugees with virtually no empathy to the suffering going on that’s lead to mass migration. Yet there in Canada is a kindness going on amidst a conflagration that’s destroying people’s lives by the very people getting a bad press.

The Huffinton Post recently ran a collection of stories entitled Random Acts of Kindnes. For me they all contain that inspirational feeling that out there people are actually willing to help when the moment to make a choice strikes them. These are the balance articles the mainstream side steps.

In a quirky fashion, considering the daily kindness of my pensioner friend moved me into a global media search, all of the above could be deemed cause an effect of a local act that I viewed with a different perspective.

There are, obviously many more examples day to day that often go unnoticed; the queue of traffic where a total stranger pauses to let you filter in, the checkout employee in a busy supermarket that shares a smile and bidsΒ one a good day, friends on here that pause their lives to like or make a comment saying ‘thanks for sharing’, messages and words of support that draw a smile, the toddler witnessed smiling at his mum who, amidst an obvious stressed day, could not help but beam back and return his kindness with a hug and ‘thank you’ written all over her face. These are the things that feed the kindness hunger.

It’s not a new concept. Just taken a while to see it in action, get my head round it. A work in progress as it were and to those ends I’m repeating an online mindfulness for well-being and peak performance course starting next week. Have a look if you think it might help. It’s free,Β accessible from all over the world and run by MONASH University in Sydney with the lead educators Dr Craig Hassad and Dr Richard Chambers. No, before you ask…I’m not affiliated or endorsing this in any way, just sharing something that last time I took it helped change how I look at things…just saying πŸ˜‡

 

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I hope this has made some sense of my thinking this week! I’m aware it is possibly more a ramble that a cohesive post, but it might be reflecting my own out of comfort zone self reflection inabilities.

Have a fabulous week wherever you might be.

Finally, I leave you with a movie quote and a kindness quiz question. Actor, character, year and film? No google searching either πŸ™ƒ

 

“There are people who are having trouble making their miracle happen; there are people who don’t have enough to eat, there are people who are cold, you can go out and say hello to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and go to them and say ‘Here!’, you can make them a sandwich and say ‘oh by the way, here!'”

 


 

 

 

This entry was posted in: Kindness Challenge

by

Former research scientist the became the primary stay at home Dad for two children. Writing has always been factual in the previous life but always had a fascination with fiction but never been brave enough to develop it further. A comfort zone thing. Science writing is familiar, fiction is not. Hopefully the blog will provide more confidence and lead to a change in career writing from home around children!

83 Comments

  1. Pingback: Gratitude in Kindness | Fiction is Food

  2. Loving your thoughts…thank you for sharing them; truly! We all need reminders and as the saying goes “you can lead a human to knowledge, but you can’t make them think”… perhaps it’s all a matter of “timing” and/or, it’s all down to the delivery. Ramblings of an individual, often have a way of gently taking one along with their thoughts…almost as if, discovering them oneself. I loved your post and its presentation. And have experienced such thoughts/experiences lately. Your post was a validation of sorts for me. I find, there is always comfort in such a find. May we all be Blessed with having our kindness hunger satiated and in doing so, be inspired to pay it forward with love and light in our hearts ❀

    • Most kind (on topic) of you to say such lovely words. I do wonder if my tone is too conversational in these posts but in the end I conclude its just me trying to rationalise my thoughts on life and the challenge so I’m writing for me I suppose and that means I can do it my way (no singing included). If any of it helped you then that is something I’m very grateful to learn (grateful being this weeks reflections…well, once I’ve actually created it!!). Thank you for reading and commenting 😊

      • Again, thank you for sharing. Most enjoyable to read. Like having a chat with a long time friend. You are a blessing, whether you realize it or not. In gratitude ❀

        • That’s good to know..in challenges I tend to opt for a more conversational tone…sometimes it turns into a ramble….and occasionally they may even work πŸ™ƒ Have to admit to struggling with this weeks though…it’s gone a bit unmindful methinks πŸ€”

  3. Great post! I’ve always hoped someone would start a 24/7 “Good News” channel. Maybe someday. I also wish it was two weeks before Christmas all year long simply because people seem to be much kinder then.

    • Thanks…would be nice to be able to view good news stories….and with modern tech they could easily add that via a red button multi screen choice like they do on sporting events. Too right about the Chrismas lead up too…but then…maybe thats because in general television is breathing the feel good factor….is that not evidence that media conditions general feeling outward…πŸ€”

  4. Love the kindness quote. And that act may seem small to us but to the one who smiled, I’m sure that act would go a long way…! What a great story of refugees helping out, it’s so unfortunate that the media doesn’t use its power to spread more understanding in this world. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much for visiting and commenting…I’ll be returning the kindness shortly 😊 You’re quite right though. As I said in the post that story was buried amongst far more negative ones. It’s made me dig into the news far deeper…why positive or moving news is hidden is beyond me…that is where feel good factors come from and true inspiration…or have I got that all wrong πŸ™ƒ

      • You’re very welcome!… Exactly, for some odd reason (well, I suppose ratings etc is what matters to them) positive and feel good stories are never or hardly ever shown in the media. There is so much art, culture etc out there in the world for all to see and share, and find similarities in, instead of focusing only on the differences, but it’s not something that’s a priority for these outlets. But it’s heartening to see people like you and others on social media, who understand this fact and try to find the good stories that bring us closer! πŸ™‚

        • I’ve always been uneasy with media. The term ‘news’ became usurped a long time ago. News to me is factual and informative, now it’s just opinion and bias…part of a similar engine to politicos….good ideas or one who shouts loudest and talks longest about nothing in particular…guess that makes me cynical 😊 You are quite right too the world is rich in culture and history…history that should be learnt from in many cases…the thing I like most about blogging is the fact that I can meet up with bloggers from all over the world…my country count was 70 last time I checked my insights and thus far every single one has been brilliant, friendly and helpful. It’s ine reason, amidst the fictional writing I do on here, I feel very engaged in the positive news stories and treating people with kindness. I think this challenge has three weeks left…maybe I should carry on with a weekly feel good news story πŸ€”

          • Media is all about bias and as you so aptly put it, ‘…one who shouts the longest…’ This reminds me of how we perceive lawyers, with the ones who manage to get a win with the way they deliver themselves (regardless of the truth…though I’m sure one can’t generalize) wins….. Same goes with the media, with people believing those ‘analysts’ who succeed in making the audience believe all that they say. Though sometimes I feel the media simply shows what the majority wants them to, which is a bit sad, if so….. Yes, meeting up with bloggers from all over the world is wonderful and promotes a feeling of togetherness…… Please do carry on with your feel good stories, there is always room for more!! πŸ™‚

            • I have thoughts (surprise) on whether the media creates audiences or audiences create media direction….personally I think media is used to condition people’s thinking…thereby creating an audience to validate that what they do is, in fact, present what an audience wants…if that makes sense πŸ€”

              I shall surely try to continue….but must also post up some if my other ramblings 😁

  5. Hi Gary, paragraph 2- huh?? You lost me. Maybe it’s too early in the morn??
    So true about feasting on the positive/negative makes you more aware of that. I’ve totally quit watching TV, period. I’ve started practicing an attitude of gratitude, daily. Guess what?? I’ve found more and more to be grateful for!
    Nope, sorry, never met Bertie.
    How wonderful that you have such a kind neighbor! I’d like one of those!! A person willing to cook for me, I already have kind neighbors!
    I have no idea of the movie quote, but I love it!!
    I like the way your mind thinks its thinks, similar to mine! lol Imagine that!
    Love the heart icon, and hashtag.
    Having a grateful day!!

    • 2nd para is science bit…nutrition and exercise is well known to affect health and well being. Sleep problems and cerebrospinal fluid (CBS) washing protein residue from neuotransmissiters is newer and linked to loss of mental capacity over time. Bertie Botts is a Harry Potter reference and the movie quote was Scrooged; Bill Murray playing Frank Cross. Final scene where he’s had the epiphany after the ghosts came visiting 😊

      Hope that helps πŸ™ƒ

      • Aaaahhh! My eyes! Just kiddin!! I can take whatever science-y stuff you dish out! If I’d concentrate, I might even learn sumpin!!
        Okay, thanks! I obviously didn’t know either of those references, the Potter or the Scrooged.

        • Science is kinda the back up necessary to validate other bits…well, show I know about them even if I go off topic…which I do…frequently πŸ€” But no, surely you’ve seen a bit of Potter πŸ™ƒ And Scrooged was an ’80’s film I think…worth a watch if you’ve not seen it but don’t go out specially πŸ˜‡

          • True, science is a basis for the “stuff”.
            Nope, never read or saw any Potter stuff. Never will, because of the witchcraft. And don’t miss it either.
            Don’t think I’ll go get Scrooged either.
            I’m not a big movie person. Last time I went to the movies was at least 5 years ago!

            • Maybe not Scrooged…it’s based on A Christmas Carol and has ghost in…Potter is pretty tame though….is your issue more of a phobia 😱

              • No, I don’t think it’s a phobia.
                Mostly I haven’t gone to the movies because of the money issue!
                Also, when I was with XH, he refused to go, so.. that put a damper on movie date nights! lol

                • Boo hiss…you should have gone on your own instead….but only ‘think’ it’s not a phobia….you know what they say..face thy fears 😜

                  • Um, okay. Maybe I will go by myself. #1 When I have the extra money (please don’t hold your breath.) and #2 If there’s a movie I think is worth seeing. (please don’t hold your breath.)
                    Since I’ve given up ALL TV, I find life is so much more peaceful, and meaningful. I’m not sure there’s any movie that can add to that contentment.

                    • You are the second person I know on here to give up on TV…well the other one was more news specific… Personally I don’t watch a great deal and actively avoid series because once hooked you are obliged to see them through…I never gave that sort of dedication πŸ€”

                    • Yes…I can see how that might work…I like to keep up to date with news but as I get older it seems they are just chat shows with opinions rather than facts…and that’s where it goes wrong…people at large actually believe what they say πŸ€”

                    • Oh so true! And it’s always to scare us into doing what “they” say!
                      I don’t need it! People are MORE than willing to fill me in on things they think I need to know! lol

                    • Very much so…their version of self validation…except now it’s a competition into who can shout loudest. Terribly embarrassing…or it would be if they had any shame πŸ€”

                    • Yes…but the obvious question is why don’t enough people see it as that and point it out? Worlds gone mad…..πŸ™ƒ

  6. I love this post. I like how you mentioned about the kindness we often neglect in our day-to-day lives. Keep on writing!

    • That was quick 😊 Yes, that was the one thing that really got me when looking at day to day kindness….how many get embedded and lost, taken for granted…I found that quite a sad realisation so decided to try and rethink my thinks and appreciate things more πŸ™ƒ

      Thank you for taking the time to visit, read and comment. Very much appreciated πŸ™ƒ

      • No worries, the pleasure was all mine! I enjoy reading essays as much as writing them as well πŸ™‚

        • That’s writers for you…lovely people who appreciate the reading and catastrophise on and off about their own writing 😊

          Thank you πŸ™ƒ

    • Hi Fernanda, that is very kind of you even if I have no idea what it is yet!! I’ll look at the link but time is a big adversary at the moment…but one cannot pass up a kindness too lightly 😊

        • In which case I will look into it more…I hope there’s not a deadline like Friday though 😱

            • Just as well….I just got another one 😱

              Oooh…maybe a question combo…added value as they say in educational establishments here….might take a while though 😊

                • Thank you 😊 It’s now on my to do list which is an advance on yesterday πŸ™ƒ

  7. Thank you for alerting me to this post, Gary….I did indeed miss it…this week, I’ve mostly been caught up in reading/commenting on posts from bloggers who’ve somehow stumbled onto my posts…and, while it is wonderful to “discover” new talent, increasingly, it is hard to keep track of it all πŸ™‚ That’s why I ask my first friends to let me know if I’ve missed them somehow. Anyway, this post was like a leisurely cruise down a lazy river…so lovely, and refreshing, and relaxing…rejuvenating…and, your mind is so wonderful…no such thing as rambling…simply, process and authenticity…you made your points wonderfully…thank you for sharing so many examples of people at their best.,,simple acts of kindness are so profound and transforamtive…and as others have mentioned, this post is a prime example..thanks for sharing, my wonderfully-kind friend πŸ™‚

    • No problem Truly…there’s another one now too πŸ™ƒ I so get what you mean wrt the new blogs, I really wish I had time to do them all the justice they deserve. Not easy though, that balance thing. Thank you for taking time to read the ‘ramble’ and provide such kind feedback. It means a great deal 😊

  8. As I always say, the so-called rambling according to you, rather turns out to be very thought provoking post! It is indeed very true, that we take acts of kindness for granted, if they are shown regularly or daily, just like you quoted about your pensioner friend. The news and the world only spread and share the bad. It makes us terrified thinking how cruel is the world, we live in. While there are a few ways of promoting the ‘good’, which instills hope of the world being a better place, they are always outnumbered by the ‘bad’ things shared. Thank you for doing your bit of sharing the good and reminding about daily, random acts of kindness which are somehow taken for granted. πŸ™‚

    • You might not think that about this weeks because I’ve no idea what angle to take….although I may have said that last week too….stories are way easier πŸ™ƒ
      I find it sad thought that news focuses on bad things, politicians selfishly have only their own agendas and bicker looking foolish then make things even worse when they are in positions to make key decisions to fix things…maybe they should do kindness challenges before they are allowed to take office πŸ€”
      Thank you for such a wondeful comment too…very..kind of you indeed 😊

      • Haha, politicians doing kindness challenge! Sounds cool, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they even turn the kindness challenge to hatred challenge. They are capable of such acts. πŸ˜›
        Your unclear angle on the take for this weeks’ challenge is a hit. πŸ™‚

        • Blogging wouldn’t go amiss either…try getting to know people all over the globe before deciding they all hate ‘us’ and by us, I mean you…the politico…not us the people 😊
          Maybe I should just be unclear about all my posts then πŸ€”

  9. Being new to your blog I found it delightful to get this glimpse at how your mind works – your post doesn’t seem at all rambly to me. I think it’s an important observation that we are actually very much part of what we experience – kindness hunger is a wonderful expression. And so leaning into kindness, kindness shows up more clearly. That’s my hope for all of us – that we can generate more kindness in our worlds, and as a bonus we get to be recipients of some of that as well. Win-win!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to both read and make such a wonderful comment Deborah. Your hope for everyone has been validated by my few months here (my opinion) already. I’ve met, interacted and accrued friends that have not only become that here but also linked up directly on Facebook too. The fact that they are from all over the world is pretty awesome. It’s is, as you say, a win win scenario. I’ll be hopping over to yours immediately πŸ™ƒ

  10. The thing about the news is it not only leaves me feeling down but hopeless. They present a world full of problems without any solutions. Even online, I see posts on my feeds and walls and there’s all of these legitimate problems presented but what about the solution? Of course one could argue that one could be innovative and create a solution, I’ve often thought of that. Sorry I got sidetracked.

    I’m glad that you were able to find such positive things around you both in your own life and virtually. Sounds like a tough job sampling random cooking tactics πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing the positive news stories that you found. Interesting how the good news doesn’t receive as much attention or isn’t valued as highly as other stories… I hope you continue to dish positive stories into your mental diet πŸ˜‰

    • You’re not alone there Niki, 24/7 news (to me) looks like they deliberately hunt bad stories, misrepresent the facts, discuss things but offer nothing…when the bad story stops they move on..even if following on is a huge humanitarian story about to ensue. The Tsunsmi in Japan here had news hanging like vultures waiting for an explosion…once it went ‘safe’ that was it. I wanted to know more about the aftermath, what happened to the people, the rebuild, the inevitable kindness and selfless acts that must have gone on post disaster…but no…off to the next disaster they went. I’m a firm believer in solutions not problems…if all that comes forth are problems then we’ve bit the wrong people in charge. The cooking is most interesting at times 😁 I think I may chuck in positive news stories each time if I find one just to redress the balance too. Thanks for the detailed comment Niki πŸ˜‡

  11. Lovely, lovely post. Very thoughtful and poignant.
    We are so caught up in the vicious cycle of negative news that we forget to see that there’s positivity and good everywhere, in each one of us. And to feel that is as important as something more mundane like having a meal. We can also start doing little acts of kindness that might not matter much in the larger scheme of things but definitely bring a smile to the lips of both the beneficiary and us.
    Great post. Sometimes rumblings make more sense than cohesive posts. Ha ha. Have a great weekend. God bless. πŸ™‚

    • Many many thanks for that….it was one of those start it and see what happens affairs…I entirely agree with you too, no matter how small the kindness is it might draw a smile on someone else and inspire them to do the same and pass it on to someone else. Lots of things that happen are just that but sometimes I think we fail to see it as such because often the default mind is not paying attention properly. The responses are quite humbling so far…which emphasises my point about you guys taking a moment out to comment…an act of kindness…you ever consider it that way before my new friend?

      • As a matter of fact, I have. And I have found that to be very helpful. 24/7 news outlets sometimes almost look like they’re manufacturing news. Also, a bad news is more likely to be focussed on than a positive one. But regardless, not everything is doom and gloom. There are good people like the Syrian refugees you mentioned.
        As for the little acts of kindness, this thought sprung in my mind on reading your reply. The world is so big that our one act of kindness might snowball into something huge without us ever knowing about it. Plausible, isn’t it? And brings a smile to my lip. πŸ™‚

        • Good man, I though you might have considering the support given to Aurawithwriting πŸ™ƒ Agreed re news…it’s like they hunt down stories that cause headlines and as soon as it drops away from blah they move on. You’re right too…good people are out there and the prospect of a simple act snowballing is very plausible. In fact I’d personally like to see social media being used to really amplify acts of kindness and drive the momentum that outside news and politics we actually want to get on. I will wager every single blogger has followers and connections from all over the world proving that very point 😊

          • Definitely. There are examples of social media being used for good. Like the Facebook groups “Humans of New York” and “Humans of Bombay.” Check them out sometime. Very positive posts providing the experiences of real people and how they overcame hardships.
            Regarding the support to Aurawithwriting, it was part-encouragement and part-appreciation of her work. Happy that she finally crossed the line. πŸ™‚

            • True but you did get the honourable mention for support in her conclusion so that’s kindness in action birth ways 😁 Good point re the Facebook groups. I must delve into those. Keeping sight of positive stories is that food I was on about 😊

              • Yeah, kindness both ways I guess. πŸ™‚
                I think you’ll enjoy the groups.
                πŸ™‚

                • Indeed it does πŸ™ƒ Yes, thanks for the heads up on those too 😊

    • Thank you Daisy 😊 Sorry I’ve not been on yours this week…been time short and catastrophising…writing this has had a positive affect there…even if it is a bit rambly πŸ€”

  12. Lovely thoughtful post Gary. Things have been a bit stressful here of late so your post was just what I needed. A little kindness certainly does go a long way. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Marge, sounds like me week too…although I think mine was mostly self created…umm..not very mindful that πŸ€” Hope things are getting better and if my post helped in any way then that’s a better accolade than anything πŸ™ƒ

      • Seems a bit better Gary thanks. My daughter laughed at my SoCS post so that did much to lighten the day too!! Hope you’re having a good weekend….

        • Good to hear that…sometimes things just go blah and it takes a while to unblah. Will catch up with your blog this week…time is being so unmindful πŸ™ƒ

  13. Hey Gary, very reflective and thought provoking post on week 2 of the challenge. And I love the quote you ended on. A simple yet spontaneous act of kindness anyone can do to make a difference.

    • Hi Miriam, thank you so much…I was concerned it rambled too much with no direction…mind you that’s how my head been this week so a true reflection maybe πŸ€”

      I have never considered the deeper altruism of the smallest kindness having an impact before…it’s quite a liberating way to think…and quite alien at the same time…so need that course again 😊

      • You’re right, it is a liberating way to think but it also takes a bit of effort and consciousness. This Challenge has been a good one for that. πŸ™‚

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