As part of the #26ActsofKindness campaign that Ann Curry conceptualized to commemorate the 26 victims of the Newtown shooting by paying kindness forward, I decided to participate. It always feels…well… nice to be nice. If you’re there to receive someone’s thanks, gratitude is a warm hug, but even if you aren’t it still feels pretty darn good to be kind (most of the time.)
I started a personal tradition years ago in which I always pay for the car behind me when going through a toll booth. I stole this simple act from a car that did it for me once. So, I decided to expand on the concept and paid for the gentleman’s lunch behind me in line in my office cafeteria. I don’t bring this up for any kind of recognition, but because I was taken aback for a moment by his reaction.
Dazed and confused when the cashier told him I’d paid for his lunch, he yelled for me — almost in an accusatory tone. He then proceeded to interrogate me as I walked away, “Why did you do this?” His tone more irritated than I’d expected. My answer, “Just ’cause. Merry Christmas.” His face changed when he realized that I didn’t buy his lunch as retribution for something he didn’t even realize he’d done, and simply said, “Thank you.”
When I’ve done this in the past, I prefer to slink off and just let the person enjoy a pleasant surprise. But I couldn’t get away that quickly this time. I really don’t honestly don’t do it because I want to be heralded, I just do it because of all of the times someone has done something nice for me and I wasn’t even paying attention. I also hope that it changes someone’s day enough, that the kindness grows.
It’s a bit troubling that we, as a society, enter each day braced for battle as if life were a combat zone. When we’re shocked more by acts of kindness than by criminality or day-to-day insensitivities, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Take a step back today, and evaluate (without judgement) how you face the world each day. Are you ready for battle? If so, can you shift perspective? Karma is the concept of “action” or “deed”, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect. Why not change you Karma and put out goodness for goodness sake.
- Your Charmed Yogi
- Yoga is letting go of results
- Kindness is always possible