A Random Act of Kindness

Author: G. Jefferies

 

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Week four ends as rapidly as it’s predecessor leaving me once more convinced time is, indeed, not quite so linear as certain physicists would have me believe. A topic I preambled in The Habituation Loop last week. No need to re-ponder, but instead move swiftly into this weeks random acts of kindness courtesy of my good blogging friend Niki Lopez

Spontaneous acts of kindness, the random sort alluded to by God, AKA Morgan Freeman, in Evan Almighty. If you’ve not seen this movie you should. It’s on topic, as is the sequel Bruce Almighty, and rich in dialogue well suited to quotations that may, or may not appear later…queried at this point in the same way each challenge commences with a blank page and no idea where things might lead. This could become a signature opener. Best take mindfulness onboard and rectify this post haste (pun intended).

This weeks considerations included the following;

  • Make eye contact and greet people around you.
  • Hold the door for the person entering behind you.
  • Compliment 5 people.
  • Say “please” and “thank you” often.
  • Be a listening ear for someone, listening in earnest and not just to reply.
  • Give someone a handwritten note letting them know you appreciate them.
  • Volunteer a couple of hours of your time to a cause you care about.

All neatly lifted off Niki’s post in….hope you don’t mind. Personally plagiarism is not my bag, but I feel for the purposes of this treatise then the bullet points above will assist in developing the mental processes.

 

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Considering the points above, MLK Jr. makes a sound observation. In fact many things, such as please or thank you or  holding a door open, are fundamental to the word polite. They are courtesies, or should be; like helping someone vertically challenged reach something on the top of a shelf in a supermarket. These are legion; stuck in a traffic jam and letting the poor soul trying to escape a side road in front of you. Doesn’t really add anything to your journey and I will wager it makes the ordeal of the side road user less vacuous, empty and annoying. How about taking in a parcel delivery for a neighbour who is out, or house watching when they are on holiday? Ever tried saying good morning to a stranger passing you in the street? You may get a disbelieving and perplexed look, but invariably there will be a similar response and a smile…mostly…time and place for that one. I find mornings elicits more engagement; later, and oddly in towns, the look returned is more a case of unexpected nutter. There may be a social experiment looming…

My point here is courtesy kindness. I’ve said it several times previously, courtesy costs nothing at all, cliched I know. Are these things a kindness? Of course they are. Not only that but for the unmindful they can and fall into the habituation loop…taken for granted and no longer registering as being kind at all.

Going back to the volunteering a few hours of time…did anyone notice in the examples above? That’s exactly what you do in being courteous…house watching or taking in a parcel. Being aware of neighbours that are elderly or alone. Drop in for a chat or coffee, maybe offer to pick up something next time you go out shopping. It’s not that hard a concept to grasp and it slows down the rush the modern world seems to insist we ride on. Moreover elderly isn’t exclusive, we all get there sooner or later. Build up the kindness; a kid now might see you helping their grandparent and think that’s so cool. Might be they revisit that when you or someone else needs a favour when they’ve grown up. Reap what you sow kind of thing…fail to water the seeds and barren ground you will have. Did I mention it’s free?

 

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OK, so what do I do in all of this? I’ve currently got someone else’s parcel for a neighbour who’s away. Next door are an elderly couple that travel a good deal. I house watch and often go in to clear mail from the door and just check things are as they should be, water plants and feed their fish. Do I do this because they are older? No, I’ve done it for years. They live next door so why wouldn’t I?

I was brought up with please and thank you, but chose not to rebel at that but apply it. Buying a pint, coffee or shopping it’s not hard really.

Cars have been my bugbear; the poor soul trying to escape a side road onto a commuter route. Not often I get let in but that makes me more appreciative of others caught in the same miasma. 90% of people I let in wave back in acknowledgement. Some are like old friends now. Metal box mates that nod as a gap is made to allow them to filter in. Paths never crossing outside of a machine, but each kindness provides a moment where giver and receiver are linked in mutual appreciation of another road user.

I often talk about mindfulness, being in the moment and not abstracted in default automaton flowing through time and not being self aware. What does self aware actually mean? Think of the car driver or person a few steps behind as you open the door. Do you actually register their existence or just flow along in a self contained world? The latter is being unmindful. Most folk don’t realise this. However, if you are then you will be aware in both situations…the door will be held open for the person behind and not left to shut. Why? Because you will actually know they are there.  Do it and watch a total stranger say ‘thank you’ and then observe them check nobody is behind them before letting it go. That’s the kindness ripple effect. They may or may it have done that before, but because you did it for them in that moment, most will automatically repeat it. Might even remember and take that with them into the future…a kindness watered as it were.

 

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So, now we come to the listening and handwritten note. I’ve chosen to warp this part into blogging. I try hard to comment on other people posts as often as time allows. Sometimes the time enemy prevents this, but when I do they constitute the equivalent of a hand written note because it’s a two way investment of time (not the enemy in this context). A blogger invests time in the wordmongering, a reader such as myself invests time in reading them and when time is good, moving from a like into a comment. I try to put time into choosing what to say, hold several exchanges on other blogs and, hopefully make the blogger smile at least once now and then. If someone ‘feels’ down I will share words of support, if I can help answer a question then I will and in this we have a return on the kindness. My comments on this blog are proof of engagements returned. It always makes me smile to see all the people that a few months ago I never knew existed turn into friends, not just bloggers, but friends. Several have linked up personal profiles (not just pages) on Facebook, more on Twitter and a few on the strange medium of Google Plus…although it has to be said I’m even newer on the latter two than here. I know not how they work.

Yesterday the blogosphere returned a token of this appreciation…kindness returned as it were.

 

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Granted, to all of you lovely people with huge followings this may seem small; but for me, blogging since January this year, it’s a reflection of the kindness ‘reward’ for those hand written messages and listening.

In conclusion then…if you think ‘What kindness have I exercised this week?’ ask yourself a second question. ‘What have I done automatically that is no longer registering as a kindness in my mind?’ The Habituation Loop considered kindness taken for granted by others; this one considers the possibility that we, ourselves, may have neglected that courtesy is indeed a kindness.

Or, put another way…to see if attention was paid at the start…

“God: How do we change the world?

Evan Baxter: One single act of random kindness at a time.”

 


 

And so ends week four’s contribution, insight even, into my take on reality. I trust it almost makes sense in places too.

Have a good week all and I’m not even going to ask who knows this quote because, well, given my previous…oops no more spoliers…what book?

Well, now that we have seen each other,' said the Unicorn,if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

 


 

© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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76 Comments

  1. Your post is wonderfully worded and appreciated! Courtesy is free and should abound. The ideas for kind acts you shared are wonderful and your message about commenting for other bloggers is very sweet. I love your comparison to a hand-written note. Thank you for such a kind post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Gratitude in Kindness | Fiction is Food

  3. and “through the looking glass” I wander, right smack dab into your lovely blog. Those little bits of courtesy do rub off on others. I noticed a young man opening a door for an older lady with a walker at the mall this week. He had barrelled in front of her with his friends, turned and really looked at her, and came back to hold open the door. He silenced his friends jeers with a “hey, she could have been YOUR grandma, jerk”…the “jerk” might have taken away from his kindness but for some reason didn’t. When I saw the group leave about 30 minutes later, TWO boys opened doors for us elderly folk. It does, indeed, rub off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always nice to see you here..or there….blog wise I mean…but that’s brilliant too. Seeing kindness like that and kudos to the young chap too to stand up in front of his mates…funny thing is…I’m seeing more things like that myself now I’m really looking. It’s quite refreshing.
      I think I must vary my parting quote sources…I feel I am becoming predictable 👻

      Thank you for stopping by too…very kind 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Courtesy Kindness, great emphasis on rather forgotten kind of kindness! You made so many valid points and reminded us of the good. Bruce Almighty is one of my favorites, but I never knew about the sequel! 😱 Thanks for letting me know.😄 The way you practice courtesy kindness here on blogosphere is impeccable! Not every blogger can initiate exchanging comments on posts, which not only starts a conversation, but makes a stranger who had something to offer encouraged and feel good. You are wonderful in making anyone feel the best about themselves and their work, my friend. 🙂🙂 That was also a great point to highlight, as many bloggers can realize the power of community feeling in the blog world. Same applies to real world, but it’s unfortunate to get a lesser glimpse of such kindness here. I wish with posts like yours, there will be a reminder of how impactful such ‘everyday’ acts of kindness can create. Thank you for sharing such a meaningful and thoughtful post Gary! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow you are the second person not to have heard about the sequel 🙃 Good job I went down that route! I do try and engage bloggers that stop by and often try to do it on their blogs too when time allows….alas of late that has been rather sparse. Thank you for showing a kindness appreciation…that is forming part of thus weeks post by the way…gratitude….and I have heaps of that for anyone who takes the time to actually comment in depth and converses. I do try and encourage that 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great blog post! I follow many of the considerations mentioned in week 4 anyway- as a customer service rep and as a human being. Some days are harder than others…

    And that is so wonderful you do that for your neighbor! It is a rarity in the neighborhoods I grew up in. In fact, my father was the one who would grill and feed the neighborhood kids, or be the handy man if anyone needed him to fix something at home.

    I would love to see more neighbors being kind to one another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for that. I think a lot of my musings over this challenge are about everyday actions that we get so used to that we forget we are being kind. Media often polarises perceptions with negative news. Neighbourly kindness is getting rarer as time moves on. Here there seem to be secular groups that you have to belong to and to me that isn’t the same. Kindness by obligation almost and I think that misses the point. Genuine no strings attached just because one wants to is far better for both giver and receiver (my opinion).

      Really appreciate your comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your points here. Kindness costs nothing, and the world would be a much better place if everyone adopted the kind of attitude you talk of here. I try to give out goodness into the world, but sometimes life takes over and you’re in a rush and get impatient and really have to stop and take a look at how you’re behaving. Thank you for this reminder to always be kind. A wonderful post to read on Sunday evening. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was such a lovely read 🙂

    I really like the examples you gave…holding the door for people behind you, letting someone drive out of a side street when you’re stuck in traffic. They’re such small things but they make such a difference. When I’ve been waiting forEVER to turn out onto a main road and someone lets me out, I hope they can feel all the good vibes that go along with my ‘thank you’ wave in the rear view mirror.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and so getting the driving angst simply waiting for a kindness 😊 You are quite right, they are small and so every day that often we forget and enter that low level default mind when we’ve decided a chore is looming. Easy to say turn that round and think of it as a good thing to be doing…hard bit is re-training the thinking to actually believe it. I think regular posts on small things like this might help keep us (me) on track. Maybe extend it beyond the challenge…might put that as a suggestion for future posts in next weeks ramble upon this very subject 🤔

      Like

  8. Gary – so very true about time. it takes time to blog and time to read and time to reply with a comment. I too do try and make as much time as possible. I have enjoyed blogging as it gives me a glimpse into others thoughts, others lives, others hopes, others fears and in return I am hopeful God will provide me words of encouragement or comfort. In a world which is so ever changing at a unbelievable pace, I find comfort in the blogging realm. Happy you made the time to stop and get a glimpse of my world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What can I say Gary? I love everything about this post. I don’t mind the “plagiarism” 😉 you linkback and that’s the courteous thing to do (sorry couldn’t help myself, it’s on topic). You raise some excellent points. Congratulations on the milestone! I love the quotes you incorporated, especially the MLK Jr. quote. I wasn’t fond of including “random act of kindness” in the challenge because these are principles that shouldn’t be seen as special (which RAK often are) but at the end of the day we see so many unkind things that kindness does stand out. While they shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions or considered abnormal, they are acts of kindness no matter how small or in what form of kindness they are carried out in. Thank you so much for participating Gary, I love seeing where this is taking you and can’t help but notice how well this is complimenting your intention to be more mindful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Niki…always a pleasure to see your uplifting responses….thought you’d like the plagiarism bit…intended to create a smile at your end…on topic as it were 😊

      The random act of kindness thing was purely to let me throw in Morgan Freeman because those movies embrace a lot of the journey really…and there are some great quotes there. I’m also coming round to think each kindness is special and that’s good….we are all special in our own rights so anything we do….daily or otherwise is part of creating that positive feeling…and surely that’s proper special 🙃
      With you on the so many unkind things though…media again and I think it rubs off on people…especially if they sit in default mode staring unmindfully at a screen and letting data pour in unfiltered. Ooh there’s a thought….mindfulness is a firewall…interesting idea that 🤔
      Thank you for the lovely comment and let me know when the next link is up as I may miss it 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

      • You did make me smile, though your posts tend to do that whether you copy and paste bits from my post or not 😉

        Yes, kindness is special. I have a hard time accepting that because I don’t want to think special=reserve it for a “special” occasion but I do think it’s special and you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with that.

        Aaaah media. It’s gotten to the point I have to refrain from reading comments on bits of stories I come across because the funny thing is even on the best stories people can find a way to argue and it just sucks the happiness right out of the story…

        I know we talked last week about what to do once the challenge ends… I’m toying with the idea of starting a Facebook page for people to post pictures or stories of the good things they experience. There are times that I see things unfold and think, what a shame that no one will ever know this great act of kindness one stranger did for another. The other thing I often think is how glad I am that the news happens to “other” people because with the amount of terrible things I (used to) see, I wouldn’t want to be on the news. What if the news were good though? What if the focus were on good things happening to those around us? People we know even if only through the blogosphere. I don’t know if there will be much interest in it and I know there are similar good news focused efforts out there. What I love about our blog community is we know so many people from so many different countries. Facebook makes it easy to post a picture with a couple of sentences and we could all share in the joy of something someone witnessed… again not sure if this will be of interest but I’m trying to come up with something to keep up the collective kind energy once the challenge comes to a close because this has been so remarkable. Sorry for unloading this here vs a private message, I got distracted… but I know you can appreciate this.

        The link went up at midnight but here it is-

        https://therichnessofasimplelife.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/week-5-kindness-challenge/

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ohhh cheat post just with copy paste from your blog then…bit like those anonymous newsprint letters where you cut out words to make a new sentence 🤔
          Yes, kindness is special…all of them every time…large or small. My parcel hosting for a neighbour…I took it round and it was for their little girl who came to the door and the look on her face was total delight…if I’d not taken it in then right now it would be in a mail room somewhere and she would not have it…cost to me…maybe 5 minutes max…outcome, priceless. I made the point earlier to another new friend (arrived at via the challenge…kindness in action) about countries and community. A few have also left comments here saying keep going with the positive posts too. If there was something worth doing then positive stories are it. That to me, backs up your what ifs…not only could we blog positive stories as posts…but auto share to (my case) Google Plus and Twitter…not sure if I’d have to unlink my author page to hit a new Facebook page….but we could encourage other bloggers to hit shares to Facebook too. On top of that, as you say, quick FB posts are easy to throw up. There is definite feedback as I said for more kindness and mindfulness posts….in fact, I will put this idea on my next post on the challenge asking for feedback. If you do the same then we can call it a market research question. Even ask for suggestions for ideas…maybe…I’m certain bloggers would hook in because my engagements tell me they are all community minded. Don’t apologise either….who knows someone might even read these comments and want in too 😊 Thanks for the link 💐

          Liked by 1 person

          • That sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll include that in the final post once the challenge wraps up. I’ll do a personal reflection post as a participant but also a challenge conclusion post as the host and toss it out there and see what people think…confession… I already have the page created but it’s set to private, blogger’s feedback will determine if it goes live after the challenge or not 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

              • I’ll take you up on that offer. I want to come up with weekly prompts. For some finding “good news” around them will be easy for others it will depend on the week. While all good news is welcome, I’d like to have a weekly prompt for people to share pictures so maybe we can get a list together, it will only be 52 things so I think between the two of us and anyone else that wants to pitch in we can come up with things for people to focus on and snap a photo of kindness to share if they’re in a pinch 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                  • I did but I want it to be more personal. Things we actually witness, I feel like when it comes from a media source it’s impersonal or feels distant…I don’t know how to explain it. There are outlets like Huff Post for example that have good news sections but I want it to be news that touches us so we can share what’s going on in our community.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Actually, I personally find some good news stories do resonate with me…like the one I caught in the newspaper buried by the bad…for some reason that touched me…probably because throughout Europe refugees are getting bad press. I do get what you want to achieve but I suspect bloggers might evolve things….personal touches can occur anywhere after all..

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh yes, they resonate for sure! The thing about mainstream news is that since it’s usually bad you want to distance yourself so it gets to the point it all seems isolated and far away. I wouldn’t discourage sharing stories across the web, it’s just not my goal for those to dominate the feed. People can share whatever touches their heart, the vision I had for it was coming from a first person point of view versus being spoon fed stories from the media (I can be a bit of a rebel Gary ;))

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hmm a rebel…you? Really 😁

                      I was reading it in first person 😜

                      But yes, I get your point…but they hardly spoon feed good news….wish they would. Several peole on these posts have actually said it would be nice to get a 24/7 positive news stream…and would like posts to continue on the subject…seems bloggers would have a niche for it to me 😊

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hahaha yes, these days I’m much less rebel and more “aware” 😉

                      I’ll open up the platform and however people choose to spread the good news will be welcome. I just was reluctant to focus on stories in the news because there are already so many pages dedicated to that I didn’t want to “compete” for lack of a better word. At the end of the day you can’t have too much kindness no matter where it comes from. My hope is that people will see what’s around them and look to share that more quickly and more often than the negative situations that arise 🙂

                      Time to get our thinking caps on for weekly topics because the more I think about it, the more this page will become public at the end of week 7… 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Some weeks migh have calendar occasions to draw from…eg winter solstice, Easter…inspirational people’s birthdays, cliched maybe but some people may have family around more in some weeks….inspirational people might make people think more…??? Loads of options there….first day of Autumn, winter….holidays, all the obvious ones that might start brainstorming off ??

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ooooh you’re onto something…even international days, weeks, months… I thought about doing the challenge close to an international kindness related day but it wasn’t until the end of the year and I couldn’t wait that long. Good idea Gary. I’ll start looking things up along those lines and then we can fill in the blanks… 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Glad I could help generate some starting ideas 😊 I think doing it that way might actually help fill blanks in if there’s a logical flow between weeks. The blanks might actually start to suggest what they should be as the calendar fills up. Keep up the excellent work 🙃

                      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bravo my maestro wording friend 🙂 I too was brought up to say, please and thank you, to smile at the person passing on the same side of the street, to hold the door open for the person following behind and yes, let that car in! My driving instructor was rather insistent that I be thoughtful and kind to other drivers ( although sometimes I do roll my eyes at some of the drivers out there)

    However, I am dumbfounded when that common courtesy/ kindness is not used/ returned. Sad really.

    As always though Gary, your words inspire 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really love the “courtesy kindness” perspective….and, just reading about kindness is so uplifting, given that much of what is shared via (social) media is negative….the old media adage, “if it bleeds, it leads” is such a sad commentary on the focus of information shared on a wide scale…your post is an opportunity to become even more mindful of being kind/doing kind things….you have such a good and kind and generous heart…we are so lucky that you use your manners, compassion, consideration, curiosity, imagination, humour, loyalty, perseverance and super writing-powers for good….these qualities make you an every-day-hero (as in heroic every day)….thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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