Last month I had taken on a project to practice kindness for 30 days and had invited all of you to join me as well.
So, how did it go?
In short, it was a beautiful journey to make kindness an explicit priority in my day. It was even more rewarding to listen to some of your stories on your kindness projects. One of you did a run to raise money, one wrote a yelp review for a friend starting a new business and another one of you brought lunch for your co-worker. Kindness is contagious! I used the word more often in business meetings when tough decisions were to be made. I paused more often to buy extra salsa at the farmers market to share with my neighbors. I exchanged more “kindness ideas” messages with friends and family but…
… despite this open & public declaration on my blog and a deep desire to practice kindness, there were enough days when I didn’t do anything extra special and my day just went by. Some days I even forgot that I had made this commitment to practice extra kindness. Sigh. My to do list took priority and unexpected life events came in the way such that I didn’t even spend a few minutes to make a loan at Kiva, give Vivaan’s teacher at day care an extra hug or send a handwritten note to a friend.
However, I learnt that on days when I was most exhausted, depleted and tired to chop a few extra carrots and add to my vegetable so I could share with my neighbor, that if I did spend five minutes practicing kindness and chopping those carrots, I felt more content, more full and more purposeful in my day. Kindness energized and refueled me. Kindness added purpose and meaning. Kindness added joy and peace. Kindness brought a smile to my face and made my overwhelming day a tiny bit easier…
Last month in our mindfulness circles, one of my friends mentioned that kindness was so empowering & yet so simple unlike many other aspects of our life. For example, if you may want to accomplish x at work, there are some many factors that need to come into play and your success doesn’t just hinge on how well you perform. However, kindness is so much simpler and doesn’t require power, political influence or luck for you to succeed in your actions. It simply requires a desire to brighten someone’s day and the willingness to take action.
I learnt practicing kindness requires building & strengthening my “kindness muscle.” It requires repetition for the brain to do it subconsciously to choose love over selfishness, to choose giving over anything else. It requires not making my day soooo busy that I forget what it means to take care of someone else. It also means that creating a world with more kindness starts with kindness to my own self, kindness and compassion for my own challenges and sufferings to have more love to give in the world.
So, now I am inviting you to another kindness project. Design your own project and include what you want to give and create in the world. Make it as specific as you can without making it a chore. Infuse love – for yourself and those who come in touch with you!
Here’s my commitment for the next 60 days!
- Write 15 handwritten notes of appreciation/gratitude. I love writing notes and always keep a stack of empty cards with me in my car, my laptop bag, my desk and bedside table so not having a card is never an excuse to practice kindness. And yes, I keep stamps too for those lovely people I cant drive to often.
- Share fruit, food or smoothies with my cleaners. I love my cleaners and can’t imagine my home, rather my life without them. I am not good at keeping my house super clean and they truly empower me to create time to write and express my self by freeing up some time in my weekJ. They love it when I make a fresh fruit smoothie for them and I want to continue doing it even more.
- Call up 4 distant family members who I haven’t kept in touch with. This is something I really want to do more often. I want to express my gratitude to my family members I haven’t kept in touch with and let them know that I love and appreciate them for all that they do for me.
- Share a home cooked meal with a friend once a week. I love cooking and sharing food. There is something incredibly rewarding about cooking from scratch, adding some love and giving it away. I hope to do it more…
- Complete my volunteering form for the Community Service Agency in Mountain View. I have been procrastinating filling up my form and starting my volunteering shifts with this organization for several months. I have even received an email reminder from the volunteering lead following up on my application. It’s about time I turn this intention into action!
- Fundraiser for Nepal. I recently found out about this inspiring story about an orphanage in Nepal run by a wonderful family in Sunnyvale.
Bishow Bhatta, is one of the people behind NECO who currently resides in Sunnyvale, California with his wife and four children. He drives a taxicab to earn a living and support his family, but donates up to half his income to help support NECO.
Soon after the earthquake, he flew back to Nepal to help the children and unfortunately he broke his leg during the second earthquake. Sumit and I wanted to help them beyond writing the check we did and are hosting a fundraiser at home and I’ll be cooking a multi course local, Indian meal.
I’ll end with another humble request. Practice kindness and share with the world, not to feed the ego but to inspire and spread kindness, spread love and generosity in the world. Here’s the Random Acts of Kindness website for more ideas and inspiration.
Let’s bring more kindness in the world.