It only takes a spark to get the fire going.
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you have experienced it
You want to sing
You feel like spring
You want to pass it on…
A few of us got together for a Secret Santa effort, divided by names and united through a common Christmas spirit of sharing. And it is in this spirit that we bring this #UnwrapChristmas blog chain to you.
I am thankful to Sujatha Singh for passing on the baton of spreading the Christmas joy and spirit.
More Blessed To Give Than To Receive
While receiving gracefully is something that I’ve had to learn, I’ve always believed that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. I’ve felt the joy of giving more than once, even if sometimes the gifts were intangibles – in the form of listening, understanding, offering comfort and gentle nudges to spread wings.
Last year, I met after a 8 years, a young woman who had worked with me. She came to meet me laden with gifts. I was completely overwhelmed by her generosity, until I read her note that explained how grateful she was for my encouragement and support in the past. Something I had done naturally, but had obviously made a big difference to her. In that moment, even though I was receiving, I realized again the blessings of giving generously.
Growing up, Santa and new clothes were not associated with Christmas. My parents felt that there was too much focus on the commercial aspects of Christmas and they’d rather have us focus on the religious aspects. I respect their decision. Perhaps, because of that, the Christmas season doesn’t stress me out. José and I keep it simple too, mainly focusing on giving to people in need and special home-cooked meals for the two of us. As I’ve often said, paraphrasing Mary Ellen Chase, for me Christmas is not a date, it’s a state of mind.
Despite these choices, I love giving and receiving gifts. I’ve never taken part in a Secret Santa event before, but this year, I decided to let my hair down and do that. I have been enjoying planning what gifts to send and waiting to hear back from the recipients of my gifts. I received one lovely gift from a blogger friend and it’s something I shall treasure, knowing that he picked it out with me in mind. Just this morning I received another lovely book and have no idea who sent it to me. I love surprises and guessing. I think I have sent out more gifts than I will receive, but that’s exactly why it’s so much more fun!
I came across this post on the Good News Network and knew I had to share it with you, dear readers ! It goes to prove my experience that it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
PS: Excuse the ads – they were the price of republishing for free.
Strangers Get Happier When Asked to Give Away Gifts in Train Station-Watch
Commuters at this train station might have expected to see a sleigh and reindeer parked outside after a jolly telephone call urges them to deliver Christmas presents to complete strangers. “The Christmas Gift Experiment” starts with a phone call from Santa – ringing from an over-sized gift box placed in the middle of the Birmingham New… (more…)
Today is World Kindness Day. I’ve been blogging over the last few days on the subject of kindness and today I’d like to talk about the power of kindness as I’ve experienced it.
Not one of us can say that we have not been recipients of kindness. Whether it has come to us from a member of our family, a friend or a stranger, we have at some point in our lives received kindness. As the Dalai Lama says, our survival depends on kindness.
“I believe that if we stop to think, it is clear that our very survival, even today, depends upon the acts and kindness of so many people. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others.” – Dalai Lama
I’ve been at the receiving end of kindness so many times that it’s hard to share it all. Having changed schools so many times when I was young, because of my Dad’s transfers, there were always other children who reached out and accepted me into their circle. There have been kind teachers who went easy on me until I caught up with the rest of the class. In later years, teachers and friends who reached out to me when I was quite ill and away from college for almost two months. People who have said a kind word, complimented me, encouraged me to show my talents…Others who’ve helped with my studies..Co-workers who were always ready to pitch in and help. Team members who gave me a lot of encouragement to speak my mind. Friends who were ready to listen to me whenever I needed a ear. People who’ve helped me to prepare for presentations and training. Bloggers who’ve pitched in with ideas and help when I asked for it. People who’ve made me feel at home in their country when I’ve visited. Strangers who stood with my husband when he had a fall on the road and offered help…..I could go on..
I’ve been blessed also to see great examples of kindness shown to others. Memories of strangers becoming friends in my grandparents’ homes as people alone in the city were invited to join in family celebrations for festivals. Many youngsters who came to play in the big family yard, always went back fed with attention and food. An aunt making soup for ailing people and taking it to them herself. An uncle giving away medical advice and medicines for free to the poor. A cousin subsidizing and sometimes not charging at all for hospitalization. An aunt giving free education to the deserving children in her school. My parents meeting travelers at railway stations with hampers full of food – in the days of long journeys and no proper food en route. Other members of the family taking over funeral arrangements when death came suddenly to someone’s home. A brother rushing to rescue a neighbour who was aflame. These are just a few examples that come to mind… All done quietly, with no expectation of gratitude or a reward. But I’m certain that the rewards have come in ways that we cannot fully understand…
The power of kindness is such that it has the ability to work good not just in the life of the recipient but also in the giver. From my own experience, I’ve seen that each time I’ve reached out to someone in kindness – even a simple gesture, it has left me feeling so much better about myself.
“To receive kindness does us good. Think of a time someone has been kind to you, in a big or a small way: A passerby gave your directions to reach the station or a stranger threw herself in a river to save you from drowning. What effect did it have on you? Probably a beneficial one, because if someone helps us when we need it, we feel relief. And everyone likes to be heard, treated with warmth and friendliness, understood, and nourished.
Something similar happens on the other side of the equation: Giving kindness does us as much good as receiving it. . . . The true benefit of kindness is being kind. Perhaps more than any other factor, kindness gives meaning and value to our life, raises us above our troubles and our battles, and makes us feel good about ourselves.” – Piero Ferrucci
The power of kindness- it transforms us like nothing else does!
Today I’m happy to add the links of a few other bloggers who’ve blogged about kindness:
Jackie Turner wanted to raise her spirits during the holiday season by hiring a set of parents on Craigslist. What she ended up getting was a whole new family – for free.
Perhaps, there’s an idea there that we can follow – invite people without families into our homes for festivals and holidays. I know that was always done in my grandparents’ home – there were always some people in for Christmas and Easter who were without family for the festivals.
When Claire Lemmel saw that people in her San Francisco neighborhood weren’t connecting as they walked by each other on the streets, she decided to put kindness in action … and her smile on a giant poster! Her kindness and smile are now inspiring hundreds of people on her daily walks.
Well, you don’t have to have a poster – smile away at strangers – you never know how much of a difference you might make to another life.
(This video has been removed by the uploader) but if you click on the link above, you can read the ‘story’and watch this news story.
3-year-old Kate has Autism, her mother Shanell Mouland, was very much worried about this journey, because long journeys are very hard for Kate. When Shanell get into the plane with her little girl, she was prepared for the worst. A well-dressed business man sat down next to them, Kate’s mom was expecting the judgement, until that stranger did the most amazing thing.
I’ve often seen children wandering off in malls etc and it’s important that we take the time to find their parents. Or take time to pull funny faces at a child who looks bored. There’s plenty you can do to make harried parents’ life a little simpler when they’re out.
Remember, a simple act of kindness creates an endless ripple!
Sometime last year, I received a very generous gift and a note from someone. It read:
‘I may not say it always, but I mean it whenever I say it : Thank you for all the things you’ve done for me.’
As much as I liked the present, the note is what really touched me. No, I hadn’t realized or remembered exactly what I had done for this person, but apparently she did.
Watch this video to see what a difference a note can make to someone’s life.
Find Someone Note Worthy Today
As we approach World Kindness Day, I’d urge you to take the time today to write a note (or several) to someone (or many) who has touched your life in some way. While a handwritten note is the best, don’t wait to buy stationery – send an email, a Facebook message or even a text message.
Appreciate someone. I plan to write a few notes to people I tend to take for granted, appreciating them for all they do.
Encourage someone. You never know when your words might help someone who is feeling down to pull themselves out of depression.
Send someone a ‘remember when we….’ note, talking about a shared memory. I’ve been thinking about some great laughs a colleague and I used to have and I plan to reconnect with her with a ‘remember when…..’ message on Facebook since I don’t have her email.
Surprise a vendor or a supplier with a note of appreciation. Even a fantastic online review would be a great act of kindness. A restaurant owner called me recently to thank me for a mention and pictures I shared in a blog post. He was most grateful.
Write a note of forgiveness. Write a note asking for forgiveness. A few months ago I wrote an email asking someone to forgive me and although I didn’t deserve a response from that person, she was gracious enough to accept my apology and reconnect with me.
Find note worthy people today!
November 13th is World Kindness Day! A global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good.
November 13 is World Kindness Day. To celebrate this, I will be blogging about kindness over the next few days.
Kindness Begins With Me
There are two ways of interpreting this – one, that kindness must start with me being kind to others and two, I must start with myself. Today, I’m choosing to start with myself.
Inspired by this post, I decided to write a letter to future me. While I’m sharing it with you today, I’m also archiving it on the FutureMe.org website, to receive it on 1 January 2017.
I am so happy to be writing to you. I’ve seen people write letters to their future selves before, but never quite had the inclination to do this. However, when I read that this was an act of kindness to you, dear Me, I just had to do it.
This letter will find you entering into a new year, and will be the year you complete 52. I am certain, that as I’ve found out by reaching 50, that life has become more interesting! 😉
I can see that you’ve grown in self-acceptance and have resolved the issues of the past that tended to cloud your mind from time to time. Your relationships with José, your family and your small group of friends have only got better and more meaningful. And in a few days, José and you will be entering year 10 of your marriage. Time does fly when you’re having fun.
Congratulations! You’ve actually managed to stick to your health goals and look so much healthier than you did at the end of 2015.
How lovely that you, José and Pablo have settled into your new house and have made it into the home that you all love. I’m happy to see the flowers blooming and the trees starting to grow.
I love the ‘creativity den’ you’ve made for yourself in your new home. Your writing, your painting and all your other creative pursuits are giving you so much joy.
You’ve also managed to find a lot more people to reach out to in a way that truly makes a difference to them and brings joy to you.
Ah! And you’re driving around too. I’m sure you’re loving the sense of independence that gives you.
You enter 2017, being wiser, happier, fitter, more generous and much more grateful for all that you have. I’m proud of you, dear FutureMe.
Dear reader, have you ever written a letter to your future self? Would you like to do this with me today? I can assure you it was a lovely exercise and I’m looking forward to reading my letter in the future.
November 13th is World Kindness Day! A global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good.
While someone might define success as being able to achieve great heights in one’s chosen field, another might define a successful person as someone who ‘has left the world better than she found it’. No matter what your definition of success may be, does it have kindness factored in?
I believe that self leadership calls for us to be kind. Kindness is certainly not weakness. Instead, it empowers us to go beyond ourselves, to broaden our view of life, to look at situations and people from different perspectives. Kindness to others must not come out of a sense of guilt or an attempt to seek the limelight.
Is kindness an inherent quality? I think not. We learn kindness from the people we grow up with. And if we didn’t, we can always develop kindness.
Philip G. Zimbardo, a giant in the field of social psychology, a professor at Palo Alto University, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, is the president of the Heroic Imagination Project. Giving a commencement address at the University of Puget Sound he said, “You will be more likely to notice someone in need if you have developed the daily habit of opening yourself to other people by routinely noticing what others are doing and imagining what they are feeling.”
This is seconded by Stefan Klein in his book Survival of the Nicest “The willingness to do something for others is an attitude that one can practice until it is as natural as riding a bicycle. In time the fear of being exploited fades, and with the courage to give grows the feeling of freedom. The journey begins with curiosity. By experimenting with generosity, we have nothing to lose and much to gain, for selflessness makes us happy and transforms the world.”
While we learn kindness, we must also remember to be kind to ourselves. Without self-compassion, our practice of kindness will be a sham.
Keep it simple. The Buddha taught the virtue of making the “seven offerings that cost nothing”: . . . a compassionate eye, a smiling face, loving words, physical service, a warm heart, a seat, and lodging. — Jiko Kohno in Right View, Right Life: Insights of a Woman Buddhist Priest. I guess we now call these random acts of kindess. Surely we can do all these over a week.
Write yourself a letter expressing kindness and understanding towards your weaknesses. It could be one letter or a series of letter focussing on different areas.
[Tweet “Choose being kind over being right #atozchallenge”]