A Basket of Kindness

Yesterday, we were the beneficiaries of a random act of kindness. After a long day of renovating and painting, while still running our business, we cleaned up and collapsed on our deck to discuss our plans for supper. I haven’t been feeling well lately and we had just agreed we were both too tired to get into cooking, when we heard a car winding down our long driveway. We both groaned. We were hot, tired and not desirous of company, but we had forgotten to close the gate.

When the car rounded the last corner of the drive we immediately identified who our visitors were — dear friends, who are always welcome at our home. They trundled out of the car and ascended the stairwell carrying a large wicker basket. We greeted each other with warm smiles and hugs. After a few moments of catching up on the progress we had made on the renovation they were leaving.

The basket contained a superb summer picnic dinner for two.  Inside we found crispy sesame chicken fingers, vegetarian spring rolls, grilled celery salad with tarragon dressing, deviled eggs  and fresh corn bread.  For dessert there were  lemon-lime tarts.  We ate our delicious picnic dinner with enthusiasm. Then we toasted our friends for their kindness with glasses of  Riesling and made a mental note to reciprocate one day.

Being kind is a vital way of making our own lives, and the lives of others, meaningful. Being kind allows us to communicate better with others, to be more self-compassionate, and to be a positive force in other people’s lives.  How to be Kind

This research provides evidence that being kind can make a difference in your well-being.

The Biology Behind the Milk of Human Kindness
Is Technology Killing Kindness in Kids?
The Power of the Smile
10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

  1. Savor Everyday Moments
  2. Avoid Comparisons
  3. Put Money Low on the List
  4. Have Meaningful Goals
  5. Take Initiative at Work
  6. Make Friends, Treasure Family
  7. Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
  8. Say Thank You Like You Mean It
  9. Get Out and Exercise
  10. Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

Random Acts of Kindness

Music -Song of the Sandman by Enya

Discusssion

Kindness matters. Every time someone does something kind for another or says something kind to another the level of consciousness in the world rises. If every day each person on Earth consciously committed an act of loving-kindness — what a wonderful world this would be.

I don’t think I’m as kind as I could be, so I’m focusing on developing more compassion and empathy for myself and others.

Do you consider yourself to be a kind person?

Have you gifted someone else with an act kindness lately?

Have you been the beneficiary of a random act of kindness recently?

34 thoughts on “A Basket of Kindness

  1. Hi timethief, hoping you’re feeling a bit stronger every day. I’ve just nominated you for the Super Sweet Bloggers Award! When you have a chance kindly look at my post for Saturday, September 1 for the details. Big smooches, Miss Maura — — currently a t-shirt tie dying fool but it’s for an animal adoption fundraiser so the colored hands are worthwhile (yes I wear gloves but sometimes acts of kindness require bare hands)

    • Hi Miss Maura,
      I respectfully decline all blogging awards and hope that will not offend you.

      My health issues are chronic and cyclic in nature. I will take them with me to the grave and I know that there will be more recurrences but that doesn’t make me despair. I have had a good life since I married over 30 years ago and I’m getting the most I can out of the time that I do have left.

  2. Sometimes we need a spark to light the warmth of happiness. Its not always possible to do that for ourselves. Kindness is a wonderful way to light a little fire of happiness for others, which also brings us so much reflected warmth. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Some years ago, a colleague at work lent a shovel to a friend – someone else at work – to take on a caravan holiday.

    The friend brought the shovel back, broken. Apparently it had broken when they were digging some ground to level the caravan on a camp site.

    My colleague – the one who had lent the shovel – was furious. He hadn’t said anything to his ‘friend’ but he as far as he was concerned, the friendship was over.

    I thought about it – about kindness, kind words, about expressing one’s feelings, about ‘bitching’ to someone else (me, in this case) about a supposed friend – all of these thoughts went through my mind.

    In the end, I thought that my colleague was only ‘bitchy’ because he had been placed under pressure from an ungrateful friend.

    And I thought about the phrase ‘a fair-weather friend’ – someone who is there until the going gets tough – in this case, until the friend had to put his hand in his pocket to pay for a replacement for the shovel.

    So, fine words are nice – and needed – but at some point, it is action that counts.

  4. Hi TT,
    I was reading your story of Kindness here and I couldn’t help thinking of something similar which just happened to me yesterday. As I came back from a visit to the Hospital to have my calf muscle looked at, I was tired and wet as it had been raining throughout my journey home from the station. So I was tired and hungry. A minute had gone after getting home and I heard a knock on my door. It was my neighbour with a yummy and colourful big plate of Couscous that she made herself! She even decorated it with fresh mint leaves, adding more colour to the bits of peppers, corn, boiled egg etc…
    I’m always giving things/food etc to her and this was so suprising (yet not the first time) and in such great timing.

    I have learnt to be kind and appreciative of everything and everyone, even when I don’t agree with someone or a situation. Because through that “disagreement” I shall learn something. It all ads up to what we have become today as true Inner Beings.

    Your friend’s Gift is beautiful and it is indeed so nice to read other people’s stories about kindness.
    Kindness can only lead to one thing, amongst many: more kindness.

    • Hi treespirit,
      Thanks so much for sharing your neighbor’s act of kindness. I hope your calf muscle is better now.

      I have been courteous and generous in an automatic way, without really thinking about it. Now I’m conscious that examples of acts of kindness are evidenced in my life and have always been. I have been taking them for granted and I’m no longer doing that. You’re right about reciprocity too — one small act of kindness leads to another.

  5. Pingback: 8 Strategies to Becoming Positively Happy and Motivated | *Positive Provocations*

  6. “Do you consider yourself to be a kind person?

    Have you gifted someone else with an act kindness lately?

    Have you been the beneficiary of a random act of kindness recently?”

    I don’t consider myself a naturally kind person. I get absentminded and forgetful or am tough on others/myself. That’s probably an indication I’m not being kind often enough.

    I would like think I have gifted some people recently with kindness… as a surprise. Since I saw my family recently…several incidents where things were unscripted.

    Have I been a beneficiary recently: Every day when dearie is with me. The latest when I was not feeling well…because of swollen eye, double in size: due to a bee sting on my eyelid while bike riding up a hill this past weekend!! A terrifying experience.

    The most poignant act of kindness recently, was a car lift my father gave to me to subway station a few wks. Something he always did when I visited my parents. This may be last time for him…since he has cancer. It is a simple parental gesture that goes back to my early 20’s when I returned back to university.

    • “I don’t consider myself a naturally kind person. I get absentminded and forgetful or am tough on others/myself. That’s probably an indication I’m not being kind often enough. ”

      That describes me too, Jean.

      Wow! Getting stung on the eye while riding does sound terrifying. I’m so glad you didn’t end up in an accident because of it. Maybe you should wear sunglasses or tinted goggles to protect your eyes when you ride.

      Your father’s acts of kindness will remain in your memory long after he’s gone, Jean. I know that because I still recall all the little things my dad did for me and he’s been gone for 10 years now.

  7. What kind and perceptive friends you have…and what a nurturing surprise to have a basket of kindness delivered to your doorstep! I love the term in one of the comments… “picnic basket moments.”
    Thank you for this post and the links….a very helpful reminder. I was just finishing up creating an ambitious one page reminder/checklist for the taking in the good class I ‘m taking…and strangely enough…there were about 90 items I had put on that “list” and the actual word “kindness” wasn’t among them…so, after reading your post and links, I quickly revised it and added “kindness toward myself and others” right at the top….(the format for the list is full, but I’ll try to revise it to include more of those kindness/nurturing/compassion ideas….isn’t that odd that I would forget “kindness” on a “taking in the good” list???…linear thinking, chart creating mode might be part of that.
    When I first started my own blog, I was inspired by a post on Cat from Australia’s blog. (happydancecat, year of kindness) She wrote “But whether you’re holding a bunch of flowers, your resume, or your heart, you have to have faith that whatever you are offering to the world, eventually someone will walk by who accepts and appreciates it completely and joyfully, and there really is no better feeling.” http://yearofkindness.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/today-you-are-you/

    • Melody is a gifted author and poet – a wordsmith with an open heart and bright mind. I loved her term “picnic basket moments” too. Now I treasure the wisdom happydancecat, year of kindness shared as well. Thanks for sharing that link.

      It’s interesting that kindness wasn’t on your list because it wasn’t on mine either. Generosity was on it but kindness wasn’t and that got me to thinking deeply about the two. The more I thought about the two the more they both intersected and diverged. I’m borrowing your idea and placing “kindness toward myself and others” right at the top of my list.

  8. First of all, TT, hope you feeling better soon!
    I am a kind person no doubt, regardless being taken advantage numerous times.
    Yes, I have done something good for others also, received some random acts of kindness as well.

    • Hi Yun Yi,
      You do strike me as being kind and there will always be users in this world but even they teach us valuable life lessons. I hope you are soon the unexpecting recipient of a random act of kindness like we just were.

  9. Welcome back, I hope you’re feeling better. This was a lovely post in every way. Am I a kind person? I’m not sure, but I do try to be mindful of what I do and how I do it. I’m not always successful. Every action we take ripples out, touching others.

    • You are right about every thought and action being like ripples in a pond. I’ve met some very speacil people online as well as offline. I’m going to spend a little more time every day sending some kind thoughts out to people I’ve met online but will be unlikely to ever meet in person.

  10. Thank you for this thoughtful post. Kindness is one of only few ‘things’ in life that multiplies by divisions … more you give away, more there is. The others are love and knowledge. I have received and given kindness. I am truly grateful for being able to recognize it, appreciate it and pass it on. It is the simplest act of humanity.
    Kind Regards,
    Daniela

    • That’s so true. Smiles, kindness, laughter and love all have a built-in multiplier effect and that means it is true that some of the best things in life are free.

  11. I’ve got so used to similar acts that I don’t even think about it anymore. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate it, but I don’t consider it ‘kindness’ per se, just mutual help and generosity with neighbours. So sending flowers, cards and visiting my older neighbour when she had a stroke, sharing and giving with our Spanish neighbours. I would never consider myself a ‘kind’ person but I suppose it is a bit like Mrs DoAsYouWouldBeDoneBy (or whatever she was called in the Water Babies). If I was old and poorly, would I like a younger person taking time to think of me? Yes. And older people in particular touch me, often neglected and treated as past their sell-by date when they have so much knowledge of life.

    How lovely to have such thoughtful friends though. I could have done with someone like that last night, the fridge was empty and I had no inspiration so we ended up buying a pizza. But what a lovely gift from your friends. They must have been totally telepathic!

    • Our friends were so thoughtful. They did know what we were doping as we are in close contact but the dinner basket blew me away. It reminded me that food is a wonderful gift to give tired and hungry people. And, when they least expect to receive it, is the best time to give it.

      • Our elderly Spanish neighbours asked my partner to paint their house. He’s a professional decorator. We said he would do it for free as we had received so much help from them since we moved in. And every day, she cooked our lunch and brought it to the shared wall for me to take inside. One day it would be Spanish tortilla and salad, with two beers, the next it would be a lentil or garbanzo casserole (and two beers). Sure the food cost a lot less than the going rate for the job, but that wasn’t the point. How much would it cost to have someone cook for you for a full week?

        In fact, they cooked us a meal not long ago – and I asked why. She just shrugged. Preparing or cooking someone food struck me as being charity initially. I later learned what a thoughtful gift it was. Oh and on a practical note, we did the washing up before we handed back pans/plates etc.

        We don’t necessarily need to reciprocate the same way, to offer what we can do that is special is the best way. Don’t know if you read this post http://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/art-for-arts-sake/
        where an internet friend helped me improve a photo, which I printed for my neighbours, who gave me a box of veg, Lots of generosity all round. I noticed your comments about the difference between kindness and generosity, so for clarity, I’m not talking financial generosity, but generous in spirit.

        • Hi again,
          You perceived the difference that I noted between generosity and kindness. I have always been generous in the sense of sharing what I have with others but I have not always been kind to those I do know not to mention those I don’t know.

          I’m now more inclined to remain mindful and go out of my way to be kind to others. Maybe that’s because I’m ageing or maybe it’s because I have lost six people who I loved dearly in these last six years. Most of all I think it stems from learning how to be kinder to myself and that has not been an easy task. Note what Jean said and how I agreed with her.

  12. Kindness DOES matter – and it needs to be conscientiously taught and practised. Imagine a world full of picnic basket moments! What a lovely thought…

    • Hi Melody,
      It’s been a long time since we connected and it’s so good that we agree that kindness needs to be learned. Living in a small community has led to me to expect acts of kindness in times of major trouble. The basket of kindness we received was totally unexpected and wonderful. I intend to pass it on. :)

      • That story so made me smile – there are some very incredible advantages to living in small communities – one being that sense of connection you describe. DO pass it on – what a wonderful way to impart a fresh sense of peace and wonder into a messed-up world!

        • try not to focus on what’s messed up in our world as I tend to be pessimistic and depeed when I do. Instead I’m consciously focusing on what’s good and finding there’s so much good to focus on.

          We chose to live where we do and I’m so happy we did. I can’t imagine ever returning to live in a city where anonymity prevails. Small is beautiful and I live in the most beautiful spot in Canada. Living on a semi-remote acreage where there is no hustle and bustle means I enjoy more peace and quiet every day than most urbanites ever do. For that, I give thanks.

          Every Christmas/Winter Solstice season the exchange of Christmas Goodies Tins is a family tradition that I’m a part of. http://thistimethisspace.com/2011/12/21/grandmas-christmas-goodies-tins/ This year I lost two members of my family and I’m still grieving that loss. Now my friends have inspired me to cultivate more kindness. When I was at the recycle depot today I picked up two used but in good condition picnic baskets and immediately scooped them up. I intend to fill both with goodies and gift someone with a basket of kindness when they least expect it. I’ve also decided to extend my gifting of Christmas Goodies Tins too.

        • Nice – makes me have a warm feeling inside to think of someone on the receiving end of those treats! I, too, an working very hard at finding the beauty around me – there is enough chaos and difficulty to spare and while they cannot be denied or ignored, seeking the good helps to give them their proper place, doesn’t it?

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