How A Random Act Of Kindness Inspired Me

practice_random_acts_of_kindness

I found myself the recipient of a random act of kindness last week that touched me so deeply, I felt inspired to share the feelings here on this blog. Coincidentally, it was my entry from last week on “Fearing Success” that brought on the act itself. A previous client whom I have not had the opportunity to touch base with in several years was caught driving up my street by both myself and my daughter while we were leaving my neighborhood. I rolled down my car window to say hello and see her delightful smile for a few minutes when she handed me a gift she had intended to drop off on my front porch. She went on to tell me that she had read my blog and wanted me to know that I should continue to write, share my ideas, and find courage in being vulnerable. She had packaged up a book by one of her favorite authors (Anne Lamott) titled, “Bird by Bird” which discussed Anne’s perspective on writing based on workshops she teaches at the college level. Throughout the book she had taken the time and gone through and tabbed particular areas of meaning to her and pointed out prose that was useful to overcoming the fear of being a writer. In the front cover of the book she shared a personal story about her own challenges as a writer. She signed the book with the words, “Write On” before her name. I was so unbelievably touched.

I was inspired by her kindness. The very idea that someone from my past who I have not spoken to in many years read this blog and wanted to connect with me in a helpful way was incredibly thoughtful and meaningful to me. She actually sat down, thought about how to inspire confidence and create courage by giving me a piece of herself. She shared some of her own vulnerabilities in order to help me overcome my own. Meaning is achieved beyond the act itself and this is the beauty behind random acts of kindness. They inspire action, thought, and humanity. What an unbelievable gift to be on the receiving end of such love.

There is an amazing website I came across http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas that provides loads of different ideas for sharing kindness with others. You can even select different kindness categories and filter them by cost and time investment such as “free” kindness act for a “community member” for “30 minutes” (produced bring a cold bottle of water to your bus driver). Kindness breeds kindness and I feel inspired to pass it on. I encourage everyone reading to check out the site and pick one thing you can do with the available resources you have on hand. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than a simple act.

I have been on a mission lately to have the overhead freeway signs (Emergency Alert Billboards) share positive affirmations instead of only threatening messages that are warning of texting fines ($215+ It’s NOT Worth It), seat belt fines, or the punishment being dished out for hand held cells. When not used for Amber Alerts as they were designed, I strongly feel they should promote messages at least one time a month that are kindness based and positive. My partner thinks I am crazy and that people on the freeway would get irritated and annoyed by overhead lights that shared inspirations such as: “Be Kind Today“, “Kindness is Contagious“, “You are Beautiful Just as You Are“, “Love One Another“, and “We’re All In This Together“. She assures me that this would lead to further acts of road rage and not positive humanity but I can’t seem to let it go. To the annoying amusement of my family, I randomly yell these out in the car as I pass below a sign telling me to “Slow For The Cone Zone – ITS THE LAW“. “Be Gentle With Yourself“, I counter.

My quest has gone so far as to actually having done research to find out who I can talk to with my brilliant (annoying) idea. It has been a hopeless loop thus far of Highway Patrol/Sheriff’s Office/Emergency Alert System with no contact names. My partner has suggested trying to find a local politician who may want to take it on as a political platform (maybe she really doesn’t hate the idea THAT much) so I am going to try that approach. I truly believe the more positive, kindness based acts/words we are surrounded with, the further our community will grow.

Kindness inspires. Thoughtfully caring about each other brings out our compassion and leads to a softening of our hard exteriors. I want to say thank you Julie for helping me feel able to move forward and more capable than I may even yet be. To the best of my ability, I will pass it on.

Writing On…
Stacey Neil

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy
    Apr 25, 2014 @ 13:55:56

    Awesome post! Amber has watched me Buy coffee for servicemen and TRY to Do the same for cops in uniform to say Thank you. (Cops can’t accept but are Sweetly touched).

    Heard from your girl? I saw the itinerary. What wonderful opportunity!

    Love you!

    Sent from my iPhone.

    >

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  2. Karen Harding
    Apr 25, 2014 @ 19:20:17

    Hi Stacey, I love your idea! I think people will respond to this idea. Keep saying it out-loud and I bet it will manifest in one way or another. I thought of the Overpass Light Brigade when I read your post. http://overpasslightbrigade.org/how-to/
    Check it out. Love to you today and always…

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  3. Sarada
    Apr 25, 2014 @ 20:31:49

    Cute story! I completely agree. I like your freeway sign idea.. I can’t remember if you noticed when you were in Napa… But in several parking lots around town, an artist has painted words in random stalls… “Courage”.. “Faith”… “Love”.. etc. On days when I feel wimpy.. I seek out “Courage.” There’s also a Bay Area artist that paints little gnomes on blocks of wood and then attaches them to random fences, trees and sidewalks around town. It’s a fun little reminder that someone out there wants us to smile. I like yer moxy kid!!

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  4. Deann
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:41:02

    Stacey,
    I love your writing and your generosity of spirit…but, I have to give a commuter’s perspective to your freeway sign idea.
    I commute during the bad traffic time on 280 S and 85 S, and every time there’s a message on those signs my commute time increases by 20 – 30 minutes. Of course if there’s an Amber alert no one will complain, but if it says Buckle up, or, no handheld device, or anything at all, I still have the same delay. The positive message will not make me feel better, unfortunately.

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    • Stacey Neil LMFT CPT
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:45:07

      Thank you for your feedback. Maybe the larger purpose of just using it for Amber Alerts is a better bet; however, if other messages are going to be there anyway, maybe slowing for positivity is a little better than being forced to slow for a threat? One can hope!

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