There is a national ad campaign called “One Kind Act a Day.” You’ve probably seen the signs on businesses, billboards, and online. Regardless of the good intent, this is a sad statement on our society.
Are we so overwhelmed, self-absorbed, and busy that we need this prompt? In the gym at my children’s grade school there was a sign that said “Stop, Look and Listen” – in order to be aware of your surroundings and be safe. It seems adults need that reminder for different reasons…
Apparently, our lives have gotten out of hand! Let’s get back to basics. I want to outline some bottom-line approaches to your daily activities, for those who want more calm, peace and centeredness in their lives. One kind act a day should be a natural outgrowth of this small shift.
You probably already do things in your day that can be tweaked to become a moment of presence. Several small changes in perspective can build to impact the quality of your day. These moments actually slow down your sense of time and relax the nervous system.
Stop - Maybe you open the door in the morning to let a pet out, check the weather, or (if it’s warmer) sit outside for a minute with your am beverage. Stop and notice – is there a breeze blowing, birds talking, clouds in the sky? Is the air crisp or humid with scent? How does that drink taste? Any of your senses can be focused on briefly (the more the better!) Before you get online or prepare for the day, you can probably find that moment of Being (ah, that’s an act of kindness toward yourself.)
Look – Be aware of your environment and the people near you; passing on the sidewalk or entering a building, and everyone else you encounter as the day goes on. Take the time to really see them - their clothing, body language and expression. Is there an opportunity to interact with a smile, a nod, or just simple eye contact? Better yet, help if they are struggling with something like a package or a door. Even in a car, you can wave someone through or stop for them to cross the street (hmm, those are kind acts.)
Listen – Once a day make it a point to simply listen, without comment or a overt response. Whether it’s while working, at home or with a friend (on the phone or IRL) just be present. Don’t interrupt or give any feedback. If you ask “How are you doing?” they will probably have a superficial short answer, but try this out – wait quietly after they have spoken. Invariably the person will say more, and come from a deeper place. Silence can be awkward, but it’s also golden! We can support one another so much in this way (oh, and that’s a kind act.)
This may seem simplistic, and probably nothing new for you - but a reminder is always good. And I’m sure after reading this, you will appreciate how many kind acts a day you already do!
Peace, love and healing -
Other kind acts that help both people are a high five and hugging! For more on that read my last blog - Essential Touch