On a regular basis, we receive inquiries from people about donating to The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. As a privately funded non-profit, we’re unable to accept donations but want to point people towards some amazing companies, organizations and people who are doing awesome things in the name of Kindness. This is one entry in an ongoing series of posts about some amazing World Changers telling you about their missions in their own words:
Check out the (FREE!) A Year of Kindness Acts App:
1) Tell us about you/your company
We are not a company, non-profit, organization, or affiliated with anyone. We are just two people wanting to spread as much kindness and joy as we can, and hopefully along the way, inspiring others to do the same. Right now we just fund everything out of our pockets, though we have had a few friends fund an adventure or two. We both feel like we are so blessed, that our response is total delight and joy in being able to do this. We have never had as much fun ( and I have had a lot of fun in life!)
We have a VW van named ‘ Bodhi’ that we bought, and with help, painted with slogans on love, compassion, and kindness that we take out on the road. It is both a moving inspiration, as well as a jumping off point off from which we ‘do’ surprise kindness acts.
Our focus is just delighting people--- doing something unexpected and fun to make someone’s day. The ‘kindness acts ‘ are not always in the van, but the van gives us an opportunity to dispense hot chocolate, give out Valentine’s and chocolates, flowers and anything else we can store.
2) Tell us your “Why?” What is your mission/message?
I think each one of us has some gift of expression that fills us with joy and that calls to us. For me, I can go back to being 19 years old in college and having a professor ask me what I wanted to do in my life, and the first answer out of my mouth was ‘ I want to be a Fairy Godmother’ I think I was looking at the force of alchemy and delight that I associated with that image--- someone who doesn’t see the same sense of limitation and operates out of a different viewpoint. Someone who creates delight and magic from what was available all along— with a bit of a twist !! My dream has always been to be able to just go out and do fun and wonderful things for people— and all the more fun if we haven’t yet met as friends.
Our free app ‘ A Year of Kindness Acts’ ( right now for the iPhone/ iPad- hopefully coming soon for the droid ) was born out of wanting to share with others the many ideas and things that we have done, have been done for us, or have been suggested and offered by others. We wanted the ideas to be doable and simple and fun. We figure that even reading one kindness act each day, reminds us of the best in us, make us feel good, has us paying more attention to the wonderful things that people do for us, and invites in the possibility we all have to make a difference each day.
We are bombarded with bad news each day and I think the biggest revolutionary change each one of us can make, is to offer whatever we can in the way of kindness as our response. Love is greater than fear! My 60th birthday is coming up and we have decided that the celebration around it will be to choose 60 specific ‘acts’- one each day for 60 days and keep a journal or blog about it. We are hoping it will encourage others to celebrate landmark occasions with acts of kindness. We just had 16-year-old beautiful birthday girl come over to our house as a surprise from her mom ( who met us in the bus) and had her and her friend paint their slogans on the bus. We were told that she will be coming out with us on the van on one of our kindness adventures.
3) What inspires you in your work?
Simple!!!The joy of doing it!! There is nothing more joyful than offering something--- especially when it is in the form of an unexpected surprise!! The way that I see it, there is NO difference between giver and receiver--- it is just love moving. Today I might have extra food or money, or a compliment or a hug or something else to share, and tomorrow it might be yours to give. We all take turns. We are all equal in our ability to share. Because I can offer something, I feel it both as an impulse and a privilege. It is life’s gift to me. I don’t think there is any better way to have fun than what we are doing !!
4) Tell us about 1 act of kindness that YOU have experienced that stands out in your mind
I have been the recipient of so many acts of kindness, as we all have been. The one that I will share happened many years ago but still stands out. I went into the grocery store and remember having a difficult day. I don’t remember what was causing me to feel so bad, but I know I was upset and pretty much keeping to myself, not greeting anyone and being quietly in my own world. It was during the holiday time and everyone’s cart seemed overflowing with groceries. As I was checking out, I happened to notice the man behind me in line had no groceries and for that matter no cart, but simply a bouquet of flowers in his hand that he was about to pay for. I took note since it seemed odd in the company of all those full carts. As I was about to walk out of the store, he came over to me, handed me the bouquet of flowers and said ‘Here, these are for you” This probably happened 20 years ago, and it still reminds me of the power of kindness to change anyone’s day.
5) Finish the sentence: “Kindness is…” Kindness is our true nature. It is love made manifest and that is what we truly are. When we are being kind, we are being the expression of our true nature. In that disposition, the mental barriers between us start to dissolve and the impulse to give grows stronger. There is real truth to the expression 'Want to be happy? Do something for someone else!”