Happy Thanksgiving Week everyone!
This week, as is the tradition in the USA and other countries around the world, people are celebrating with their families and loved ones. And here in London, over the last few years, thanksgiving is being celebrated more and more. I feel it’s a truly wonderful way of getting reconnected to what really matters in our lives.
Thanksgiving Week is a reminder for us all to live with an Attitude of Gratitude
As we look back this week at our lives and be thankful for all the goodness around us, we can also remember all the little kindnesses that make our lives so wonderful and worthwhile.
At the same time, we should also look at the kindnesses we have carried out for others, whose impact though not immediately obvious can be far reaching and hugely significant.
There are so many ways to randomly make a difference to people – check out my 31 ways to carry out random acts of kindness every day.
So many times in our life, people show us great kindness and yet are not even aware of the impact they have had on us and others as a result of their kind deed.
This week I have been looking back on my own life and reflecting on all the little kindnesses that people have shown me over the years. There are a couple of life changing experiences of kindness which I’ll never forget and which continue to drive me to share more of such kindness and spread the goodness,
To start with there was the kind Mr Roy – this diminutive Indian man was instrumental in starting my real life journey and who completely changed my life and that of others 16 years ago.
He showed me how to be kind to others and get to your own Nirvana.
Please do check out the story of how in just a few hours he transformed my life and ultimately that of thousands of Nirvana School children.
Another time of life changing kindness I experienced was 6 years ago in Dec 2007, when my father passed away and I received so much love and support from strangers and friends alike.
Once particular friend invited me to her home and just let me be with food and drinks aplenty, a bunch of CDs and the space to finally grieve properly.
It is such little kindnesses that we all remember and which make such a big difference to us.
Let Kindness Underpin Your Life Mission
After my lovely friend was so good to me all those years ago, I have made a special effort to support and be with friends who have also lost a loved one.
And today I was able to do just that. Earlier this evening, I had tea with a remarkable man Doug Manuel who is on a mission to transform the delivery of education in schools around the world and especially in Africa though the power of drumming via his international organisation Sewa Beats.
I first met Doug 6 months ago literally in the street – he was on his mobile and I overheard his conversation about coaching and I handed him my business card requesting him to contact me. And since then, we have remained in touch and we finally met properly today.
I viewed Doug’s TED Talk a few months ago and was stuck by his authenticity and his passion for his world and for making a difference in the world.
Doug’s father passed away this week after a long standing illness and having lost my own father 6 years ago, I invited Doug to meet for tea and to talk about his loss and just to be with him.
Little over an hour later, I was blown away by Doug’s vision for his life and for his work – I was left inspired to create something much more and bigger the way he has!
This is Doug’s mission for his life and his work – “To be a Pioneer in Education“.
And by education he means in the true definition of the word ie to learn from within. This is opposed to most of modern schooling which is mainly about cramming information.
What’s really inspiring is that Doug and his organisation are truly living up to his mission.
Get Beyond Your Judgment and Let Kindness Ripple Through
Then on the way home this evening, I met one of my neighbours living in the next street, an elderly gentleman who was happily chain smoking lying down on a bench despite the bitter cold. For all anyone could see, he didn’t have a care in the world and he was just chilling.
Until recently, every time I passed him on his “smoking bench” I had all my judgments coming through about people abusing their health through heavy smoking etc etc.
Then one day, I saw him in the middle of the road, standing outside his car and seemingly talking to himself. I said hello and when he seemed to be not even aware of me, I felt something wasn’t quite right. So I stopped and asked him if he was okay.
It was then that he told me that his wife had passed away two days before and he was saying his last goodbyes to her outside their car.
He was a broken man and looked so helpless and in so much pain, my heart went out to him – and gone were all my judgments and preconceptions about his smoking habits. Turned out that she had been suffering from a fatal illness for a few years – and smoking was one of his ways of dealing with his impending loss.
And this came on top of him losing both his parents over the last 2 years. Now here he was, all alone with no partner and no parents. And having no children or siblings made him feel terribly alone in his life.
He was so grateful for my interest in his well-being and I felt that I had touched something in him whilst he was at possibly the darkest point in his life. His words of gratitude and appreciation, and the grateful look in his eyes will stay with me forever.
Tony Robbins and Basket Brigade on 23rd Dec
“One small act of generosity on the part of one caring person can transform the lives of hundreds. It takes only one light to dispel the darkness, and even just one basket, or a few could bring hope.” – Tony Robbins
Many years ago a stranger left a basket of food outside Tony Robbins’s home at Xmas time when his family was struggling for money. He was so touched and inspired that he said that one day he would do the same for others.
And now today this single stranger’s kindness has grown into the Anthony Robbins Foundation’s International Basket Brigade, with baskets of food and household items for an estimated two million people annually in countries all over the world.
The International Basket Brigade is built on a simple notion: one small act of generosity on the part of one caring person can transform the lives of hundreds.
Talk about the impact of one stranger’s kindness!
So here is YOUR opportunity to join myself and 100s of other like-minded people in London on 23rd Dec 2013. The intention is to create and anonymously deliver Xmas food baskets to a world record 3,000 families (for one city) on that day.
Please sign up here and join me – I can guarantee you a day you’ll never forget.
In the meantime, please check out these photos from Basket Brigade 2012 and find out just how much fun it can be making a contribution to others!
Never Ever Under-estimate the Power of your Kindness and Goodness
So this is the key takeaway from my special blog post for Thanksgiving week – never ever under-estimate the impact of your kindness on others.
Look to make a difference to others no matter what – you just don’t know what’s really going on for them.
And your kind deed and kind words can dramatically change forever their life and also that of others.
Before you go off and start carrying out your next act of kindness, please check out my 5 special lessons for Thanksgiving Day:-)
Thanksgiving Week Lesson 1 – How To Embrace What You Already Have
Thanksgiving Week Lesson 2 – How To Let Yourself Give and Receive
Thanksgiving Week Lesson 3 – How To Add a Little Sizzle to Your Relationships
Thanksgiving Week Lesson 4 – How To Harvest the Wisdom from My Top Blogger Friends
Thanksgiving Week Lesson 5 – How to Serve Others at the Global Table
Finally, do also check out my post from a year ago about how the greatest Thanksgiving gift of all is this precious and miraculous life that we all have.
Images courtesy of woodleywonderworks, doyouspeakdembe.com and sewabeats.com
Arvind, I love this post! I have had the experience several times of being either the giver who forgot a kindness, or the receiver who reminded the giver. Once I happened to overhear someone’s last conversation over the phone with her dying mother. (Long story about how that happened–it was a semi public place.) Anyway, afterwards, I introduced myself to her and offered my condolences. Years later we had become colleagues. She told that story one day of someone who had helped her. I was so touched by the story. Then she said, “Don’t you remember? That was you!”
So your point is well taken. What might seem like a small kindness to us, one we quickly forget, can have a lifelong impact on someone else.
Speaking of kindness, this post gives me the perfect opportunity to thank you for all the kindness you put out in the world. I have posted my last blog post (hope you’ll stop by), and I’m visiting blogs that have made a difference to me these last few years. You have been a model of kindness and joy and wisdom. Thank you so much. Wishing you all the best, Galen
Galen, welcome again to my blog!
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story of helping someone and changing their life. As you know, it takes so LITTLE to make a difference to others:-)
So please continue to make a difference to everyone you can in 2014 and beyond. And you just don’t what lasting and massive impact a simple and small act of kindness can have on someone.
Galen, the world needs more people like you!
Finally, thank you all your words of kindness – I have had so many role models to learn from, people like you:-)
Here’s to a wonderful 2014 – a year of love, kindness and compassion…
What you are saying here is so important. We must also remember that our acts of kindness should not require a reward if they come from our deepest sense of love and wisdom. If we give simply to give, we can’t ever burn out.
From my own journey of healing, I found that others’ acts of kindness piled up against my hardened heart. When I was awakening, I remembered all of the kindness I’d received which I was not grateful for in the moment.
Give love and give some more. You never know when you’ll be remembered and how much of an impact you can make.
Vironika, welcome to my blog!
Yes, we should give openly and without any expectations – and then we usually get lot more back:-)
I reckon we should write a book containing all the acts of kindnesses which have come back to us many fold…
Vironika, I wish you all the best with your new book!
Lots of love