Hello to all those interested in spreading kindness! We want to invite you to join us in a 21-Day Kindness Project, starting September 24th. Beginning on on that day, we will be sending an email every day for the following 21 days with a suggestion for a new way to show kindness, along with an inspirational message or story to help fuel your passion for kindness in its many forms – for each other, for our selves, for the earth.
I’d like to share my story that prompted me to start this kindness challenge. Several months ago, I was at Central Market, a grocery store that I like to shop at but rarely find myself driving that far north. So on this day, I stopped in and was checking out when I realized that all my cash and credit cards were at home in another bag. Embarrassed, I told the cashier that I would not be able to buy the things she had rung up, and could not see driving all the way home and back with my payment. She told me to wait a moment and I watched her run across the store, through a door and emerge a minute later. I had no idea what she was doing but she ran back over and before I could stop her she swiped her own credit card to pay for my groceries, amidst my frantic protests.
She was a young woman, who clearly worked hard. She just smiled and said she really wanted to do that for me. I was stunned, kept telling her it was not necessary, and eventually, in a daze, thanked her and left the store with my bag of food that I could well have done without. I relayed this story to so many people over the coming weeks, still humbled, grateful, and totally astounded that a stranger would show such generosity and kindness. I would even go so far as to say that it changed my life – it certainly restored some of my faith in humanity’s goodness. I felt how touching and beautiful it is to be a recipient of deep, unexpected kindness and now I try to remember to look for ways to really step out of myself to give someone else a similar touching experience, though it does not necessarily take $40 to do so. (And yes, I did return to the store weeks later to pay her back, and take her some Fran’s chocolates!)
Since that time, I have reflected quite a bit on the power of kindness and how it can break down barriers in strangers, and open hearts. My friend Cecile Andrews, author of several books on community and simplicity, urged me to create this challenge, and suggested that we hold a get together event when the challenge is completed, for those that want to connect in person.
So we hope you will join us in this 21 days of kindness. 21 days because neuroscientists have found that it takes a minimum of 21 days to rewire our brains with a new habit, or new way of thinking. Whether it’s being mindful, sticking with an exercise program, or looking for ways to express kindness every day, habits can be intentionally formed by 21+ consecutive days of intentional acts.
In a world that is increasingly fragmented and polarized, kindness and compassion can help move us towards a sense of more connection and goodwill. Everything we do spreads out in ripples into our community and the world, so why not spread ripples of kindness.
Although this is a Seattle area based Kindness Project, you are welcome to join us online from anywhere in the world. At the end of the 21 days, there will be an opportunity to gather here in Seattle and meet each other, for those that are interested in connecting with like minded people.
During the 21 days, you will be able to log into a forum where you can share your experiences, stories and thoughts as we go along.