Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

Secret Santa saves Christmas

January 2, 2015

Cops pull up motorists, they expect the worse, instead given a handful of money.

On behalf of a wealthy donor, police officers in Kansas City, Missouri, gave away money to unsuspecting drivers.

Random acts of kindness

November 27, 2014
In love, we don't exist; We are just an instrument of the Hand that created everything.

In love, we don’t exist; We are just an instrument of the Hand that created everything.

In love, we don’t exist; We are just an instrument of the Hand that created everything. — Paulo Coelho

It must be something to do with Buddhist culture.

Can anyone imagine such an advert in UK? Where the emphasis is on greed, must have, will make your life better, and so the moronic consumer sets out to the shopping centre.

The opening chapter in Revolution, Russell Brand describes the arrival of a shopping centre called Lakeside, it had to have a lake built to make sense of itself.

The first betrayal is in the name, ‘Lakeside’, the giant shopping centre, mall to Americans, and maul is right, because these citadels of global brands are not tender lovers, it is not a consensual caress, it’s a maul.

Growing up in Greys as a bored teenager, hanging around a shopping centre, with a lake to make sense of itself, brainwashed into thinking, if only could have the goods on display, life would be better, only it is not it is an addiction, the need for fame, celebrity status, all an illusion, addiction to drugs, clean for a decade, but the desire is always there, help from recovering addicts, one step at a time, mental breakdown, wandering the streets in a pair of pyjamas raving, but getting away with it because rich and famous.

Greys, the very name depressing. The only excitement for a bored teenager, the arrival of a shopping centre called Lakeside. It had to have a lake constructed to make sense of itself.

Our largest buildings make sense of society, they tell us who is boss.

The mediaeval church, cathedral, palace, castle. The 19th century bank. And now the shopping centre and the corporate headquarters of global corporations.

Our largest buildings are temples to greed.

Giving directions

March 25, 2014
Meaning of Life

Meaning of Life

And what greater service shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? — Kahil Gibran

A stranger stops me in the street and asks me directions to where they wish to be.

I take the trouble to show them the way, we part company, probably never to see each other again.

Why, why bother?

We may never see each other again, therefore even if I have their gratitude, I am unlikely to benefit.

Unless my act is witnessed, I have gained no social credos.

Mediaeval stonemasons building our great cathedrals put their heart and soul into their work. Often no one but God would see their work. They did so for the love and glory of God.

I trip and fall. Luckily I am badly shaken but not hurt. Three strangers rush to my aid, help me to my feet.

Why, what is in it for them?

They did not even think about it, it was an instinctive reaction, a fellow human being in need of help.

It does not even have to be a fellow human being, we do the same when we see an animal in need of our help.

Is it because we know God is watching. Are we trying to amass points on our Get Into Heaven Loyalty Card?

This is not the way it is meant to be, each and everyone one out to maximise their benefits at the expense of others.

Contrast with the corporate world, the ethos is rip off, service is an alien concept, to the corporate slave it is merely a job, going through the motions, doing as little as possible.

Lloyds Bank alone has been forced to repay £9.8 billion on one single fraudulent scam, and the figure is rising. Across Britain’s banks as a whole, compensation costs have now reached more than £22 billion, and are rising.

And yet no lessons have been learnt, banks are still screwing their customers.

If I engage in fraud or rob a bank, I would expect to end up in prison. To date, not a single banker is serving a prison sentence.

Margaret Thatcher infamously told us that there is no such thing as society.

It is everyone out for themselves, more for me, less for you. It is all mine.

The possessive, my hand, my arms, my body, has been extended to our possessions, my money, my house, my car, they have become as much as part of us as our hand or arm.

Hunter-gatherers quite happily share. When you lead a nomadic existence, possessions become a burden. When you drag an animal back to camp after a successful hunt and kill, you share it. Yes, you could keep it all to yourself, but what do you gain, you cannot eat it all by yourself, after a few days it will have gone off and gone to waste. Therefore it makes sense to share, then when someone else has a successful hunt, they will share their kill with you.

We only feel the need to hoard, when we live in scarcity, often artificial scarcity. In a world of abundance, there is no point in accumulation. In the Culture world of Ian M Banks, wealth has no meaning, as it is a world of abundance, whatever you want is readily available, as a result, there is no concept of money.

In a world of abundance, where there is no concept of money, people use their time as they please, not participate as slaves and moronic consumers.

We are bombarded every minute of the day as atomistic, individuals, we must consume, more for me is less for you.

And yet this is not the natural state of the world. The natural state of the world is the Gift Economy. Given a free choice, we quite happily help others. We quite happily give freely, of our time, of gifts, with no expectation of return. If we participate to accrue points on the Get Into Heaven Loyalty Card, we are not participating in the Gift Economy, as to do so is with no expectation of return. If there is an expectation of return or reward, then it is not a gift.

I could write this article for a magazine, charge a fee, instead, it is given freely. Anyone can read it, they can share it, indeed, they are encouraged to share it. They can even cite, reproduce, so long as due credit is given and no profit is made.

When I sit with musicians in the street or talk to musicians after a concert, and suggest they be on bandcamp, and explain the merits to them and people who may like their music, there is nothing in it for me, but they will benefit, those who like their music, who have yet to hear their music, who in turn may share their music, will all benefit.

A financial transaction, I want what someone is selling, they want some money, an exchange has been made, end of story, there is no need or requirement for any further social interaction, a cold, impersonal business transaction.

This is not true of a gift. There is an obligation, though not a mandatory obligation, else it is not a gift. The gift has added value, because of who gave it.

When two Romanian girls gave me a lovely jumper, it had a value beyond a lovely jumper, it had value because it was a gift, because of who gave it to me. When others admired the jumper, I had a story to tell, of how I came to be in possession of such a lovely jumper.

I have a Monetegrappa pen. An expensive pen. It has value beyond its monetary value, because of how I came to acquire the pen.

The St Joseph medallion that I have sitting in a black presentation box, has value because it was given to me by my good friend Paulo Coelho.

I gave the Romanian sisters a couple of books. Not because they had decided to give me a jumper, the decision had already been made. When they gave me the jumper, it was not because I had given them books, as I had yet to give them the books.

When I go away, I take books to read. I nearly always find someone to give them to.

One of the disadvantages of an e-reader and e-books, nothing to give away. Though when I read Sacred Economics on a Kobo Touch, I did recommend to many people a must read, not quite the same as giving a book away, but almost.

I got Sacred Economics for free, a gift from the author Charles Eisenstein. That creates an obligation on me, if I obtain value from the book, ie enjoyment or I like his ideas, then in some way to recompense for the value I have got from the book. That does not have to necessarily be direct to the author, I may do so indirectly by recommending to others.

That is how bandcamp works. Listen on-line free, often download for free or low minimum price. If you like, tell others, pay for a download, go to a concert. A zero cost transaction has taken place, a social interaction between both parties.

How do we place a price on a piece of music or a work of art? The value we obtain far outweighs the price we pay. The value we gain is often priceless.

When we gift, when we put our love into what we create, we create a better, more beautiful world.

When I advised Steph Bradley to publish on leanpub and write on Medium, we participated in the Gift Economy. She has an outlet for her writing, she will now reach a wider audience. She has learnt new skills, knows the value of the sites for writers, and can do as I did, advise others. The gift gets passed on.

That is one feature of the Gift Economy, gifts get passed on.

When someone commented they enjoyed the Christian fellowship in a bookshop cum cafe, they completely missed the point. What was relevant was the friendship without the Christian qualifier.

When a local cat greets me, I could walk on by. I do not, I stop to say hello.

We are all interconnected. We are nodes in a network of interpersonal relationships, and these networks of interpersonal relationships form nodes in still bigger networks. We have relationships with the natural world. The networks create the conditions for the nodes to exist, the nodes interconnect to form the networks. The actors interact to create the environment, the environment creates the conditions for the actors to thrive.

Man stumbles when Man think he is apart from Nature not part of Nature. The Fool surveys all he sees and thinks all is mine, to become Master of Nature, the ultimate aim to turn all into Money.

The Gift Economy is far far older than the Money Economy.

Money is a unit of exchange, a standard of measure, a store of value. We lump all three together and there is blurring at the edges but they are not the same.

Much of what happens, occurs outside the Money Economy. Those who work in the Money Economy only do so because they are forced to do so.

Slaves have no choice, either work or die, but at least they get fed, a roof over their head.

Why do most people work? They work to earn a living, in other words to live, to put food on the plate, a roof over their head. They are working in a Slave Economy because they are forced to work, they are not willing workers.

People put their heart and soul in their work. If they are not happy, it shows in their work, that is why we get shoddy products, poor quality service.

Contrast with a craftsman who loves what he is doing. Contrast with a writer or artist or musician who loves what they are doing.

The Internet runs on the Gift Economy.

People freely write reviews on TripAdvisor.

I write using Open Office, that is when I do not write direct into a web page which is what I do most of the time.

The internet is a disruptive technology. It is worth billions of dollars, but what it has displaced, is worth ten, a hundred, maybe a thousand times more.

People may not be aware they are, but slowly slowly, they are moving out of the Money Economy and into the Gift Economy.

Why bother with a Travel Agent when I can do it all myself, helped by the internet?

The Gift Economy pre-dates the Money Economy.

The Money Economy did not evolve out of Barter. Barter is used when the Money Economy is not working. You have what I want, I have what you want, we can exchange.

If I give a gift, the recipient may feel under an obligation to me, but have no gift with which to show their appreciation and gratitude. They therefore give me a token as a measure of their appreciation. If I receive a gift, I may have nothing to give. I pass on the token as a measure of my appreciation.

The Money Economy evolved out of the Gift Economy.

There are still societies in which the measure of esteem, is what a person gives away, not the wealth they accumulate.

When we give a gift, the pleasure is as much in the giving as the receiving. If I receive something, even if not wanted, I show due humility and appreciation. I can always pass the gift on to someone else. If they do the same, the gift will eventually arrive where it is needed.

Much of what is in the Money Economy was looted from the Gift Economy, then sold back in the Money Economy.

Childcare is a classic example. Children would arrive home from school. If no one home, they would pop around to see a neighbour, who would give them something to eat. Now, parents have to go to work in the Slave Economy, to earn the money to pay for childcare.

Eating out, junk food, fast food, is another classic example. No time to prepare food or to shop, too busy working in the Slave Economy. A ready meal, a trip to a junk food outlet, a fast food takeaway. Before we know it, we have a generation with no food skills, now dependent upon the Money Economy for the very basics of life.

In Switzerland, neighbours get to together to decide who is growing what. Surpluses, that before went to waste, are now shared with neighbours in the local economy.

A garden that is too big or too much work. Someone without a garden or an allotment, works the garden and the produce is shared.

An act of kindness

October 31, 2013
an act of kindness

an act of kindness

The woman on the left is a mother from Miami who was so desperate to feed her hungry family that she was trying to steal a lot of food.

The woman on the right is Miami-Dade County Police Officer Vicki Thomas. Officer Thomas was about to arrest Jessica Robles but changed her mind at the last minute.

Instead of arresting her, she bought Robles $100 worth of groceries: “I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry.”

And there’s no denying they were hungry. Robles’ 12 year old daughter started crying when she told local TV station WSVN about how dire their situation was:

“[It’s] not fun to see my brother in the dirt hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘There is nothing here.'”

Officer Thomas says she has no question that what she did was right: “To see them go through the bags when we brought them in, it was like Christmas. That $100 to me was worth it.”

But Officer Thomas did have one request: “The only thing I asked of her is, when she gets on her feet, that she help someone else out. And she said she would.”

And guess what? The story gets even better.

After word got out about what happened people donated another $700 for Jessica Robles to spend at the grocery store.

And then best of all a local business owner invited her in for an interview and ended up hiring her on the spot as a customer service rep.

She started crying: “There’s no words how grateful I am that you took your time and helped somebody out. Especially somebody like me.”

And to think it all started with one veteran police officer trusting her “instinct” instead of going “by the book”.

No 1 Top Story WordPress Insider (Thursday 31 October 2013).

Random acts of kindness

September 17, 2013

Random acts of kindness, make the world a better place.

ทรูมูฟ เอช เชื่อเสมอว่า “การให้ คือการสื่อสารที่ดีที่สุด” โดยเราสื่อสารผ่านภาพยนตร์โฆษณาทางโทรทัศน­์ เรื่องราวในภาพยนตร์โฆษณาเรื่องนี้ สะท้อนแนวคิดของแบรนด์ ทรูมูฟ เอช ที่เชื่อว่า…การให้โดยไม่หวังผลตอบแทนเป­็นจุดเริ่มต้นของการให้ที่แท้จริง

ทั้งนี้เค้าโครงเรื่องได้รับแรงบัลดาลใจ มาจากเรื่องราวทางสื่อสังคมออนไลน์ เล่าถึงเรื่องราวของการให้ที่ไม่หวังผลตอบ­แทน แต่ได้รับบางสิ่งตอบแทนราวปาฏิหาริย์

เพราะการให้คือ คือการสื่อสารที่ดีที่สุด แม้ไม่มีคำพูดสักคำ แต่กลับเป็นการสื่อสารที่ทรงพลังที่สุด
ทรูมูฟ เอช เชื่อในพลังของการให้โดยไม่หวังผลตอบแทน และจึงมุ่งมั่นที่จะพัฒนาเทคโนโลยีการสื่อ­สารใหม่ๆ ให้กับคนไทย เพื่อสร้างโอกาสและพัฒนาคุณภาพชีวิตคนไทย ให้ทุกๆการสื่อสาร เชื่อมต่อถึงกันอย่างไม่มีที่สิ้นสุด

ชีวิตอิสระ ชีวิตทรูมูฟ เอช

8.000.000 on Facebook: prayer or oração or oracíon

April 4, 2012

He cannot be well known can he? Or he is not popular. – Waterstone’s Guildford

eight million

eight million

August of last year I asked in Waterstone’s in Guildford why Aleph by Paulo Coelho was not chalked up on their board of new releases.

The reply was unbelievable:

He cannot be well known can he? Or he is not popular.

I walked out in disgust.

Aleph was published September 2011. It was not on display in Waterstone’s.

Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

The paperback edition of Aleph came out last month. Again not on display in Waterstone’s.

Aleph now out in paperback!

Aleph is currently published in 74 countries, Paulo Coelho the most translated living writer.

Bookshops in Bassano del Grappa were a breath of fresh air, especially Libreria Palazzo Roberti, a former palace where Napoleon once slept the night.

Bookshops in Bassano del Grappa

On Sunday Paulo Coelho passed 8 million friends on facebook. Not bad for a writer not well known or not popular!

By common consensus Paulo Coelho has proposed the following for 6pm local time today (Wednesday 4 April 2012):

This past Sunday, when I asked for your suggestions on how we should celebrate reaching 8.000.000 friends on Facebook, the vast majority of you suggested we should say a prayer at a particular time.

Therefore, on Wednesday, April 4, at 6:00 PM (always your local time) I encourage you to say a prayer.

In my prayer, I will ask:

A] For myself. May God guide me and inspire me for the years to come.
B] For my family and friends on Facebook. May God allow all of them to follow their call, their Personal Legend.
C] For my work. May I always be an instrument of the Light.

As we are in different time zones, I strongly believe that the Planet will be filled with light and prayers during 24 hr.

If you don’t feel comfortable with praying, a random act of kindness during the day will certainly be very helpful to humankind.

I will attend an evening service at St Mark’s. It will not be 6pm but a little later. I will light a candle (maybe more) for Canon Andrew White (for his work in Iraq), for Paulo Coelho (thanks for his writing and the wonderful St Joseph’s Day party at which I was his guest last month), Mio Baba (for a wonderful three days together in Bassano del Grappa). I will donate a book to the church library.

Please join us. Tell your friends. A 24 hour wave of prayer and kindness will roll around the world.

In the end, it is between you and God

January 19, 2012

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

— Mother Teresa

The circle of joy

December 5, 2011
Circle of Joy - Ken Crane

Circle of Joy - Ken Crane

An old story tells that one day, a countryman knocked hard on a monastery door. When the monk tending the gates opened up, he was given a magnificent bunch of grapes.

– Brother, these are the finest my vineyard has produced. I’ve come to bear them as a gift.

– Thank you! I will take them to the Abbot immediately, he’ll be delighted with this offering.

– No! I brought them for you. For whenever I knock on the door, it is you opens it. When I needed help because the crop was destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine every day.

The monk held the grapes and spent the entire morning admiring it. And decided to deliver the gift to the Abbot, who had always encouraged him with words of wisdom.

The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes, but he recalled that there was a sick brother in the monastery, and thought:

“I’ll give him the grapes. Who knows, they may bring some joy to his life.”

And that is what he did. But the grapes didn’t stay in the sick monk’s room for long, for he reflected:

“The cook has looked after me for so long, feeding me only the best meals. I’m sure he will enjoy these.”

The cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes. So perfect that no one would appreciate them more than the sexton; many at the monastery considered him a holy man, he would be best qualified to value this marvel of nature.

The sexton, in turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, that he might understand that the work of God is in the smallest details of Creation. When the novice received them, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery, and of the person who had opened the gates for him; it was that gesture which allowed him to be among this community of people who knew how to value the wonders of life.

And so, just before nightfall, he took the grapes to the monk at the gates.

– Eat and enjoy them – he said. – For you spend most of your time alone here, and these grapes will make you very happy.

The monk understood that the gift had been truly destined for him, and relished each of the grapes, before falling into a pleasant sleep.

Thus the circle was closed; the circle of happiness and joy, which always shines brightly around generous people.

Told by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Many thanks to my good friend Ken Crane for the artwork.

A man who radiates joy is Canon Andrew White who although he spends much of his life living the tragedy of what is Iraq somehow manages to radiate joy and in doing so infects those around him with joy. It was a pleasure and a joy to spend yesterday evening with him at the Boiler Room in Guildford.

Canon Andrew White at the Boiler Room

Making a deposit in the Favour Bank

August 5, 2011
The Zahir

The Zahir

Yesterday I made a deposit in the Favour Bank.

The Favour Bank is the world’s oldest and most powerful bank. It knows no frontiers. Its clients are rich and poor, Black and White, straight and gay, Muslim and Christian, warmongers and peacemakers, dreamers and realists. All are welcome through its doors.

I meet and help an aspiring writer. I connect his books with people who if they read and like I know they will do the same. I arrange that he is invited to a book festival. Good writers are known not by marketing hype but by word of mouth.

Investment banking is a risky business.

My aspiring writer may achieve his dreams. If he succeeds he may forget how he got there. He may think it was the least he deserved. He may forget or even refuse his payments to the Favour Bank. But should he be so foolish he will find his credit vanishes overnight.

My introduction to Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was a beautiful Lithuanian girl sat by the River Wey outside a pub in Guildford. She was reading The Zahir. I was curious what had her so engrossed. We got chatting. She told me of Paulo Coelho and suggested I read his books. [see Synchronicity and Paulo Coelho]

Yesterday I met a beautiful Black girl. We got chatting. She was curious of the book I had, The Zahir, as she had never come across the author Paulo Coelho. I explained who he was, told her a little of The Zahir. I must find and read it she said. To her great pleasure and surprise I gave her my copy of The Zahir. I said if she got in touch I would also give her a copy of The Alchemist. Had I thought of it I would have invited her to join me for lunch today, but I did not think of it until later.

Yesterday I repaid a favour to the Favour Bank.

Story of a Maths Teacher and Her small Exercise

April 29, 2011
you reap what you sow

you reap what you sow

One day Maths teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter.. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in ‘Kargil’ war and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never attended Funeral of a serviceman before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The place was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk. The teacher was the last one to bless .

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Sanjay’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes..’ Then he said: ‘Sanjay talked about you a lot..’

After the funeral, most of Sanjay’s former classmates were there. Sanjay’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Sanjay when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Sanjay’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Sanjay’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Sanjay treasured it.’

All of Sanjay’s former classmates started to gather around. Arjun smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Prithwiraj’s wife said, ‘ Prithwiraj asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Rashmi said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Pooja, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Deepali said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Sanjay and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Share this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful. But its upto you to share this one.

If you’ve received this, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you’re ‘too busy’ to take those few seconds right now to share this message on, would this be the VERY first time you didn’t do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?

The more people that you share this with, the better you’ll be at reaching out to those you care about.

Remember, you reap what you sow.. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

— From Kgunner’s Blog.

Try each day a random act of kindness.

Special thanks to my lovely Indian friend Pooja for this story.

Top story in Random Kind Acts around Twitter (Saturday 30 April 2011).

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