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Showing posts from October, 2018

The 95% Rule

Yesterday morning, I was walking back to the house from the gym - my usual route, across Canal Street. Per usual at 7.45am, the road was filled with rushing cars, commuting to points downtown. Per usual, I entered the crosswalk. And for nearly the hundredth time, I almost got sideswiped by a car that was legally mandated to stop for pedestrians.

All of that was, sadly, well within the norm of my experience. But what pushed me over the edge was the fact that the car that nearly killed me took the time to roll down his window and scream obscenities at me. The car was a Lexus, driven by a man in his 50s or 60s.

If only he had paused before the crosswalk,  rather than after. Evidently he had the time to do one but not the other?

What's a compassionate human being to do?

Pause. Breathe. Forget about it. Send a dose of kindness his way, enough to disinfect him from whatever scum was infiltrating his mind.

Did I do that? Of course not at the time. But later - maybe.

When's the last …

The history of kindness...

What is the history of kindness?

So I wondered, as I read over the many inspiring comments that I received for my birthday. (Thank you, by the way!)

In terms of "random acts of kindness," Google had an answer ready and waiting for me. It would appear that a woman in Sausalito, CA wrote the following on a placemat, in 1982:

Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
From this humble origin, the quote entered the world and spread in newspaper articles, bumper stickers, and other analog media. Possibly it's the first meme to be generated from a placemat?

I don't believe that either the concept of "kindness" or "random acts" of it only began in 1982, by the way. It's just funny how the internet has answers to these specific types of questions.

Challenge for the day: can you smile at three* strangers? Especially difficult if you normally maintain an expressionless mask as you move about your day (or if you think you're maint…

All I want for my birthday is...

Have you ever had a bad day turn around because of incredibly small, yet memorable, act of kindness? Maybe a stranger smiled at you in the grocery line, or opened a door for you, or let you go first after a stop sign. Or perhaps you heard from an old friend, calling you just because. A hug, a genuine question about your day, or simply the gift of listening -- all of these acts have power.

Rabbi Hillel* famously said,
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?" There's so much that can be read into a quote like that, but let me offer this interpretation through the lens of kindness. Performing kindness (e.g. self-care) for yourself is a genuine form of kindness for the world. And likewise, acting in kindness for others is also a boon to one's own soul.

In that spirit, I offer this request. All I want for my birthday (Oct 23) this year is to put a dose of kindness into the world. And I need your help. If we ea…