Friday, October 28, 2011

Get ready! Get set! Let's start a kindness revolution!


While many Australians are gearing up for the Melbourne Cup,* the horse race that makes the nation stand still and the dreariest workplace run a sweep, I’ m gearing up for World Kindness Week which runs from November 7th to November 13th this year culminating with  World Kindness Day on November 13.th  
How dare they call racing a sport and spend so much of our taxes on it, while closing hospital beds!

The idea is to do unexpected things for strangers - nice things. Things like paying for someone’s coffee in a cafĂ© or someone’s groceries at the supermarket, putting money in someone’s parking meter before it runs out or mowing someone else’s lawn. Some of the more original ideas are to make up packs of toiletries for the homeless or driving an elderly person to the shops. They don’t always have to cost money. Just reading to someone or helping out at an animal shelter will also make the world a nicer place.
For lots of ideas check out http://www.randomactsofkindness.org
or its Aussie offshoot:
both of which have loads of suggestions – some of them pretty obvious, for things you can do.
Oh yes, and you could just bloody smile and say “Hello” to strangers, though pick your targets carefully. Some people may take it the wrong way.

It is the perfect antidote to the over corporatisation of our lives where everything revolves around the cash nexus and we are merely supposed to be atomised consumers “maximising our self -interest” as economic rationalists would have us be.   If you want to know how good it is for you, check out the scientific studies of happiness at http://www.happiness360.org/
Yep,  it could be a case of maximising our self interest, but hey, I think it is just fun.
But why stop at one week? If we want to make kinder more caring communities and or lead more fulfilling lives we could take the pledge at
Although this site is essentially geared to Americans, I see no reason not to make the ideas global or at least Australian.
Ripple Effects has some free cards and some nice ideas, though I am not so keen on cards that make it seem like I am advertising their printing service. Anonymous would be better. Nor am I so keen on pushing the spiritual growth idea. Let people simply enjoy the thrill of making others smile. That will be satisfying enough and create sufficient contagion.


This is from their website:

DID YOU KNOW: It is said that if you perform two acts of kindness a day, and the recipients
of that kindness go on to perform two acts of their own, more than a thousand act of kindness
can been shared in just 10 days. But if each of those same people shared five acts instead of two,
more than 19 million acts of kindness could be shared in just 10 days!

Just in case you think I am all talk and no action, I am on my way to the blood bank now. I think this is a wonderful service. The situation is positively tragic in countries which do not have this. I have been paid for blood in Greece, while people desperate to obtain life saving blood for their relatives outbid each other in the corridors. I have also been on the receiving end. Even in supposedly enlightened places like Germany, you still have to pay an arm and a leg for a transfusion as my mother found out in 1975, after being a donor here for 20 years. 

So go on and DO IT NOW!

Two hours later......

Done! And I do feel good about myself. Things haven't changed much since I used to do it, except that they don't send a car for you any more. They do however, make excellent chocolate milk shakes, which they didn't have before. If you don't want to do it for noble and altruistic reasons, do it for the milk shake. The recipient won't mind.

Alas, my organic, free range, Fair Trade coffee experiment was not so successful in that it tastes like donkey pee, but I'll  keep trying.

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