“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama
We can’t live in this world and watch our fellow humans and animals struggle without trying to help them… or at least I can’t. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in need, or to just be kind to people and animals. A kind word or a kind deed can be the one small act that a person needs to help them through their own personal battle. Please practice random acts of kindness to strangers and the people that you cherish all year long, not just during the holiday season. You might be the only bright light in their life at the moment. If you need some ideas, here is a list of things to start with:
- Buy a homeless person lunch… or shoes, or a warm jacket, or coffee, whatever you can afford
- Leave a $1 on a vending machine with a note saying “this snacks on me”
- Donate snacks/toys/play time to your local animal shelter
- Leave a hand written note in someone’s mailbox telling them to have a great day or that you think they are awesome.
- Pay for someone’s gas at the gas pump if they need assistance
- Smile and say hello to strangers
- Send a friend a letter via snail mail with kind words and encouragement
- Donate your time to organizations like the Arctic League that go out into the community and provide for people in need
- Be brave and speak up against hate and intolerance
- Adopt an abandoned animal… Welcome to Amanda’s zoo: 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 birds, 19 fish
- Visit with your elderly neighbors and talk with them, help them with chores
- Compliment a stranger
- Every time you go to the grocery store, pick up a couple extra items to donate to the food bank
- Pick up trash when you see it, even if it isn’t yours.
- Open the door for a stranger, and let them walk in first
- Say thank you to the janitor that empties your trash can at work
- Talk to someone who looks lonely
- Feed the stray cats in your neighborhood… capture them and have them fixed if you can afford it to help reduce the numbers of homeless animals. Many vets will offer you a deal on this.
- Be kind to the earth: turn off lights, take shorter showers, ride your bike more, don’t waste food, recycle etc.
- Share your umbrella in the rain with a stranger
- Eat locally at restaurants that are not chains
- Collect coats to donate
- Distribute hand warmers and wool socks to the homeless in January/February/March when the need is still there but the holiday season is over and people are stingy again
- Practice random acts of kindness anonymously so that we can help to restore faith in humanity. By doing it anonymously it shows people that you are doing it to be kind, not for recognition.
The media will have us believe that we live in an increasingly violent and cruel world (to boost ratings, increase fear, etc.) but I’d like to believe that the human race is not as violent and evil as they would have us believe. The media for some reason just tends to focus on the negative rather than the positive.
Choose kindness. Be kind to everyone, not just the people you think “deserve” it. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, with kindness, respect, and compassion.