When was the last time you did an act of kindness? When was the last time you either helped or offered something to another person? Something needed without any expectation of something in return?
An act of kindness does not have to cost us anything. No matter how little we think we have in our lives, kindness is possible. Even children can be taught to randomly give away their kindness. Kindness to ourselves is important. Kindness given away is deeply rewarding.
One of the most memorable times for me was when I was in Ashland, Oregon, checking out the small-town shops, enjoying the wonderful energy that was present. A local school was selling baked goods. And since I always try to support schools, I bought some squares to take with me.
Just down the street a few yards away was a group of very young homeless people sharing messages of love. They asked for nothing. They simply shared loving comments. So I asked one of them if they were hungry.
"Yes," one of the young men answered gently. So I handed over the goodies I had just bought for a couple of dollars. I was rewarded with a genuine "thank you so much" and a sight I hadn't before seen.
The young man broke off a small piece from one of the squares, put it in his mouth, then handed the bag of squares over to one of the other homeless fellows. And he did the same. And so did all the others, the bag making its way around to everyone in the group. It was a beautiful act of kindness from each of them, all of whom were hungry. Very heartwarming.
An act of kindness can be giving up something you already have. Like in the photo above. It can be buying a coffee for the person in the next car when paying for your own. Or paying for the next 3 coffees requested. It can be offering some or all of your sandwich to someone who needs to eat. It can be shoveling your neighbour's driveway or mowing his lawn. It can be helping a stranger in the parking lot put something heavy into her car. It can be letting the person behind you go ahead in the line up for the cashier.
We are all One. Individuated, yes, but One nonetheless. And as One, we owe it to our fellow human beings just as much as we owe it to ourselves to share. It was Oscar Wilde who wrote: "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." Kindness warms the heart of the person receiving. But it also breaks open the heart of the person giving.
What small act of kindness can you do for someone today?