My friend Lynnie was on my mind all day yesterday. I was thinking about writing a post about kindness and every time I thought about what to write, Lynnie would pop into my mind. I still have a text from her, saved on my phone, it says: Be Careful, I can read your thoughts. Lynnie died last April. She was one of the kindest people I have ever known. Many of my friends were closer to Lynnie than I was, I just got to know her within the last 5-6 years. The thing about Lynnie was every one she knew felt really close to her. She was a gift to us.
Because she was so present in my mind, I reached out to some friends to ask them – Is Lynnie on your mind today? I can’t get her out of mine. One friend, who knows about my saved text replied: What are your thoughts today?, because I would say that Lynnie has an opinion about them! Hopefully you are contemplating something amazing or reminiscing about something wonderful. Whatever it is… I think she is giving you the thumbs up. Another friend replied; Lynnie would say, take the first step in kindness and see what unfolds. So here goes – I wanted to write about random kindness and maybe Lynnie and my friends gave me what I needed to finish writing.
I am currently reading Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. According to its author Marty Seligman who is also a professor at the University of Pennsylvania – doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise he has tested. He recommends that to test it yourself you should find one wholly unexpected thing to do and just do it. And then, notice what happens to your mood. He says that you will increase your well-being and feel happier.
I have decided to try it out. I will commit one wholly unexpected act of kindness each day for 31 days and see what it does to my mood. I am a relatively happy person but lately I have heard myself grousing about the snow, the commute, work, meetings, what is or isn’t in the fridge. It’s March. My least favorite month. I think I need some happy distraction. I have some ideas about how I am going to do this – some random acts of kindness I can commit. But I hope to also get inspired each day with a new idea. Maybe some of you reading can send me your ideas or join me in this 31-day experiment – let me know what wholly unexpected things you did to make someone’s day a little bit better. They might never know you did it but you will know and that’s really what this is about.
Today while I was grocery shopping I bought 16 tubs of animal crackers. Troy and I are going to bring them to the Abundant Table on Friday. That will be our random thing next Friday. The random part of that is buying so many cookies even though the kindness is now planned. I still think it counts. Some of the other ideas I have are:
During my evil commute I will pay the toll for the car behind me
I will buy a gift card while I am getting my tea in the morning and hand it to someone looking for change as I walk out of the coffee shop.
I will buy flowers for my assistant, I drive her crazy. I will also do my best to not drive her nuts.
I will send written letters to people just because I am thinking of them.
Lynnie was full of ideas and always game to join in on something like this. Perhaps that is why she was on my mind – she would have loved this. I will do 31 days of random kindness to honor her memory. Join me? Send me your ideas,
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share your unexpected kindnesses. I think my mood is already improving just thinking about it.