“Today I’m gonna try and change the world. Gonna take it one day at a time. I’ve made my resolution. I’ve opened up my eyes.” -Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World (Johnny Reid)
If you’ve been following my facebook page, you know that I spent the month of November doing 40 deliberate acts of kindness in honour of my 40th birthday. I’d had an amazing year since my last birthday, and was feeling very grateful, so I began thinking about what I really wanted as a present (i.e. a way to celebrate my birthday that felt like a gift to me – without actually acquiring more “stuff” that I don’t need). All that kept entering my head was to give back. I had read an article about Robyn Bomar and how she’d done 38 acts of kindness on her 38th birthday. I knew I was not organized enough to do 40 in one day, so I decided to do 40 in one month.
You might be asking, why bother giving back? What was my plan? And what did I hope to achieve? The point was to try and make the world a better place. I know it sounds cliché, but I just had this desire to do something! Maybe I can’t change the world, but I can for sure start with me. I can change how I show up in the world and interact with others. My plan was to do the 40 acts of kindness and invite people to join me (in doing whatever acts of kindness felt right for them). My hope was that through our actions we would inspire others to pay it forward – thus creating a kinder, more compassionate, loving world.
“Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.” ~Madeline Rogers~
So, what happened? Friends (and strangers!) started messaging me about what they were doing in their cities and towns. They were buying coffees, baking cookies, giving money to homeless people, reconnecting with old friends, sending thank you notes to people that had inspired or helped them, buying people’s groceries, donating gift cards, etc. They shared how good it felt to help someone else and how at times the experience actually moved them to tears (of happiness). They were living their lives more conscious of how they could make someone else’s day better, and in return they experienced the feeling of true joy.
As for me, I absolutely loved it! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday! I know there is power in doing small acts of kindness, and I am committed to making it part of my life. After all, what I do to you, I do to myself; being kind to you is being kind to me. I am happy to have inspired others to do the same, and it truly warmed my heart to hear everyone’s stories. I felt connected to them even though they were somewhere else in the world and I was sitting at my dining room table (much like I’m doing now – writing this post). I honestly feel like I received more than I gave – not just in physical things (coffees, meals, presents, etc.), but in the feeling of love (kind words I received from people and by watching the effects of everyone’s acts of kindness). I believe that’s a big reason we’re here – to just love each other. More deliberate acts of kindness = more love = exactly what the world needs. Can you feel it?! Here’s to keeping our hearts wide open and inspiring change!
“Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character.” ~Aaron Sorkin~