What are two things we have in common with everyone around the world?
Kindness and love.
No matter what country you’re from, what language you speak or what you believe, we all want to be loved and to love. When someone is kind to us, it makes a difference. Love and kindness are our commonality; it’s what makes us human.
Yesterday, there was an attack on London’s Parliament. At last count, four people have died and 29 people were injured (could be more). In the midst of all this chaos, kindness and love appeared.
While everyone else was running to safety, this brave minister ran into danger to try to save the life of the police officer who shot the terrorist. Covered in blood, he gave of himself to try to save another human being.
Kindness and love.
Today and every day, show kindness and love. Stop trying to see what makes you different from others and see the glaring commonality. Spread love and be the embodiment of kindness.
How do you show kindness and love? Share in the comments below.
St. Patrick’s Day is this Friday so I thought it would be appropriate to feature inspiring quotes by Irish writers all week. Today’s inspiring quote is from Edwin Hubbel Chapin. While he did not live in Ireland, his family descended from Ireland.
Did you know that every action/thought in your life vibrates tenfold in the Universe?
Think about it for a minute. Every kind thought you have, every act of kindness you do, reverberates throughout the Universe creating a chain reaction. The same can be said for negative thoughts and actions. Whoa, that makes you feel very powerful, doesn’t it?
You and I are powerful creatures and with that power comes responsibility. We have the power to change lives for good or evil and our influence is most potent in the lives of our corner of the world. Through smiling and saying a compliment to the person serving us coffee or our co-workers, we’re starting a positive chain reaction. By giving of ourselves, we’re sewing seeds that’ll bloom into gratitude flowers which will spread joy to many.
Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
Spread kindness, gratitude and Light today and every day. Help one another and celebrate life. Encourage those who are struggling and rejoice in each other’s triumphs.
George Bernard Shaw is one of my favorite Irish authors and the above quote inspired my motto: spread the Light.
Each of us is a burning torch and every time we encounter a situation or a person, our Light is a reflection of how we live our life. Are we kind, encouraging, helpful or are we mean-spirited, demoralizing, unsympathetic?
Taking Shaw’s life as an example, it’s our duty to shine our light brightly, not only for ourselves but for future generations. Kindness is infectious and helping others is a trait passed on from generation to generation.
Let’s all be glorious torches so the world can see how to live a meaningful life. It starts with you, here, today. Are you ready to shine?
Kindness isn’t like the flu shot; you need to incorporate it into your daily life.
I get asked a lot, “How can you be kind all the time? Isn’t it exhausting?”
The truth of the matter is that kindness is a part of myself, like an arm or leg. Through daily acts of kindness, I’ve made it a habit and it’s something I don’t even think about anymore. But it wasn’t always like that.
I can remember a time when I weighed everything I did by what it would get me in return. I loved to be loved. I did someone a favor expecting a favor in return. I gave money away to get it back in return. Everything I did was calculated into an invisible ledger. Kindness didn’t even factor into my life, and I was an important member of my church.
Then I met Jack. He was a co-worker at the bookstore I was managing. He and I got along great. We hung out all the time after work and one day he invited me to go with him to a “thing”. I wasn’t sure what it was but I said sure. He gave me directions and I met him. I looked up at the sign and it said:
Rainbow Outreach: Free to be Yourself
Hugs Free of Charge
It was a safe haven for LGTB youth and young adults. I had never been to one before and truth be told, I almost bolted.
What am I doing here? Sure, I believe in equal rights and the gay/lesbian lifestyle but what can I do?
Jack waved for me to come in from the window. It was too late to run. So I decided to stay for a few minutes, for Jack’s sake. What harm could it do?
I spent the next few hours there and it totally changed my outlook on life and kindness. These kids were like me and had troubles and insecurities, too. They were looking to be loved but didn’t expect anything in return. The biggest thing they taught me was to be kind, to each other and to perfect strangers. They took me in and made me feel loved without expecting love in return.
From that moment on, I chucked my invisible ledger and tried to incorporate kindness into my routine. I started small, opening doors for people, smiling and saying good morning, that kind of thing. It was hard at first because there are mean-spirited people in the world and they would take advantage of my kindness. I wanted to last out at them but I didn’t. I just poured on more kindness.
Kindness is a good habit to form and the results are impressive. Being kind to others takes getting used to but soon it will come natural to you, like breathing.
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.
It’s a brand new year and my inbox is bombarded with ways to live healthy, be successful and make a difference. Granted, a lot of these articles are geared towards losing weight, saving money and donating money to a particular political cause but it got me thinking.
Can I translate the idea behind these articles inward? Can I create change that makes a difference or is it all braying into the wind?
Read the above quote and ask yourself this valuable question:
Is my vision backed by action? Do I act upon my goals or is my vision just a dream?
Four years ago, I had a vision. I wanted to shine a spotlight on homelessness and food banks in order to change the world. What did I do? I co-wrote Princess of the Light with MR N and started this blog.
At first, it was a vision. But once Princess of the Light was published, it became more than just a dream; it became a mission. We took part of our proceeds and donated them directly to our local food bank. We shared our passion for helping others on social media and this blog. We took our vision and combined action in order to change the world.
But MRS N, how do you know it’s working? Are you really making a difference?
Yes I am! I see the difference among my fellow authors who donate proceeds to their causes. I see the change in people’s reactions when I ask them to donate to their local food bank/pantry. I notice those around me (family/friends/bosses/colleagues) helping those less fortunate. It’s miraculous and I’m blessed to witness how one person’s vision can change the world.
What vision is burning in your heart? Partner it with action and never give up! You can change the world with your Light and passion. If I can do it, you can too!
Sometimes it helps to broadcast your vision (makes you accountable) so feel free to share it in the comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Are you a Holiday Angel? Do you have the Holiday Spirit living in you?
I have the Holiday Spirit living in me every day but it is extra bright this time of the year. During the holidays, I strive to give more and to make more of a difference. The reason? It’s not because I have to or that it is expected of me. I do it because my heart calls me to do something, to be the Light, to be someone’s angel. Whether it is donating money, time, food, and clothing or even smiling to everyone you meet, it all makes a difference.
I am a huge fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra and have all of their music! Four years ago, I heard a song that made me stop and listen. It speaks a simple message of helping your fellow people and this is the message I’d like to share with you today. Listen to it below and let the song light up your heart!
Old City Bar – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
In an old city bar that is never too far From the places that gather the dreams that have been
In the safety of night With its old neon light It beckons to strangers and they always come in
And the snow it was falling the neon was calling the music was low and the night Christmas Eve
And here was the danger that even with strangers Inside of this night it’s easier to believe
Then the door opened wide and a child came inside that no one in the bar had seen there before
And he asked did we know that outside in the snow that someone was lost Standing outside our door
Then the bartender gazed through the smoke and the haze through the window and ice to a corner streetlight
Where standing alone by a broken pay phone was a girl the child said could no longer get home
And the snow it was falling the neon was calling the bartender turned and said, not that I care
But how would you know this? The child said I’ve noticed if one could be home they’d be all ready there
Then the bartender came out from behind the bar and in all of his life he was never that far and he did something else that he thought no one saw when he took all the cash from the register draw
Then he followed the child to the girl cross the street And we watched from the bar as they started to speak Then he called for a cab and he said J.F.K. Put the girl in the cab and the cab drove away And we saw in his hand That the cash was all gone From the light that she had wished upon
If you want to arrange it this world you can change it If we could somehow make this Christmas thing last
By helping a neighbor or even a stranger and to know who needs help you need only just ask
Then he looked for the child but the child wasn’t there just the wind and the snow waltzing dreams through the air
So he walked back inside somehow different I think for the rest of the night No one paid for a drink
And the cynics will say that some neighborhood kid Wandered in on some bums in the world where they hid
But they weren’t there so they couldn’t see by an old neon star on that night, Christmas Eve
When the snow it was falling the neon was calling and in case you should wonder In case you should care why we’re on our own Never went home on that night of all nights we were already there.
This week, be someone’s Holiday Angel and by giving of yourself you will be spreading the Light!!!
*** This is the last Inspirational Thought of 2016. I hope my thoughts have inspired you this year and I look forward to seeing you in 2017. ***
I’ve been blessed to have met many wonderful people in my life. Each one has encouraged me in some way. Their words healed my soul. I thank them (you know who you are) for without their encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
Are you an encourager?
Words have the power to heal, uplift and motivate; words also have the power to murder, destroy and annihilate. Choose your words carefully for they are more powerful than any weapon on this planet!
For many people, wealth and status defines who they are. It’s about making a lot of money and getting into the “right” neighborhoods. Society is obsessed with wealth and status.
I learned a valuable lesson when I was a freshman in college. I came from a divorced family and money was always tight. I got a scholarship to one of the best colleges in Minnesota and I was surrounded by people who didn’t have to worry about money. I was judgmental at first because they had what I wanted.
Then I met Lisa (name has bee changed to protect the innocent). She and I had a lot in common. We both loved reading books and listening to music. She was what I called a “free spirit” and we became fast friends.
One weekend, her mother and father came to visit the dorm. I was introduced to them as her best friend. Her mother disliked me immediately. I wasn’t from the “right” home and later Lisa told me her mother forbade her from speaking to me again.
Did her mother’s warning work?
No! We stayed friends for a long time, over 10 years.
When I asked Lisa why she didn’t listen to her mother, she replied:
“I’m not them, I’m not defined by money and status. I make up my own mind whether someone is worth being friends with.”
I’ve learned two things from this life lesson:
1- Never judge others. You never know what they are going through and at the end of the day, they’re just like you. Sure, they may have more/less money than you or live in a different neighborhood but they bleed and hurt just like you.
2- Wealth and status doesn’t have to define who you are. Your character and kindness illustrates to the world who you are.
Again I ask, what defines you? What makes you special and unique?
Share in the comments below. I’d love to get to know you better.
Lisa, wherever you are thank you for not listening to your mother! Your friendship got me through a lot of bad times and vice versa! I’m so grateful our paths crossed when they did. 🙂
Your heart is like a garden and whatever you concentrate on will be sown.
I must admit, when I make a mistake or mess up, my natural reaction is to beat myself up. I spew out hurtful and harmful words to myself, calling myself stupid or ignorant. It’s something I’m working on and I have to fight against my own insecurities.
MR N told me the other day, “I wish you would show yourself the same compassion and kindness you show others.”
It made me stop and think.
Why don’t I?
I don’t want to have bitterness and pain sprout from my heart. I only want to be filled with love, compassion and kindness.
Are there seeds of doubt and resentment growing in your heart?
Start today and weed out what you don’t want in your heart. Just remember to pull everything out, including the roots. 😉
The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?
You’re walking into your local grocery store and you see a small boy trying to sell his teddy bear for food. Would you stop and help him or would you keep walking? One man, a police officer, stopped to help and here is the story:
I read this news story this morning and it made me cry. The poor little boy. But it also made me smile to see the police officer being an angel of kindness and spreading the Light. He helped the boy and his small act of kindness inspires me.
There’s so much evil and darkness in the world and when one person helps another, the Light breaks through. See, kindness is the secret power we all possess and when we use it to help others, we’re superheroes in the eyes of the Universe and the ones we help.
Spread kindness to everyone you meet and embrace your Superhero within!
If you had the power to make life better for another person, would you do it?
Here’s the thing: you have the power to be influential and to help others. You may not know how or where, but you have the power.
I love this quote by Roberto Clemente! He was a generous man who came from poverty. He never forgot where he came from and when he wasn’t playing baseball, he was donating his time, money and resources to helping others in his country.
How can you help others?
You can volunteer your time at local food banks, charities and/or non-profit organizations.
You can donate money in person or online.
You can organize a fundraiser with your friends and family to help those less fortunate.
If you have the opportunity in life to make things better, and you don’t, you’re wasting your time on earth.
When I was eighteen years old, my mom gave me the trip of a lifetime as a graduation present: a two week trip with people from my French class to France. It was an eye-opening experience and one I will never forget.
My French teacher, Monsieur Bouchard, was a kind, generous man. Sure, he was strict in the classroom. He expected everyone to speak French in the classroom and you were disciplined if you spoke English. More times than I care to count, he would raise one eyebrow and say to me,
“Mademoiselle, parler français afin que les jeunes hommes autour de vous tomber en amour avec vous .”
(Translation: Miss, speak French so that the young men around you will fall in love with you.)
Needless to say, being the shy girl I was and having a huge crush on the guy sitting next to me, I blushed six shades of red.
Anyway, we were back in Paris for the final two days and I had almost run out of money. I had a very strict budget and had brought all the money I could. While all the others brought thousands of dollars, I only had a few hundred. While others ate heaping plates of food for lunch, I had a small sandwich and Orangina (my new favorite drink while I was over there). I wasn’t in Paris to eat but to immerse myself in the culture.
Monsieur Bouchard approached me while I was throwing my trash away. He bent his head down and spoke in a voice only I could hear.
“Mademoiselle, are you in need of a small, shall we say, loan?”
I looked up, startled. I thought I was being careful to not let anyone know my money issues. His eyes were soft and filled with understanding.
“Did I tell you when I was a young man, I lived off of scraps in Paris? I barely had two francs to rub together. I was going to school and working two jobs.”
I shook my head. I couldn’t believe it. Him, a sophisticated man was once poor (like me).
“It was only through the kindness of strangers and the baker next door that I ate anything at all. The baker, he was such a kind man… I never forgot his kindness.” He sighed wistfully before continuing. “Now, I wish to repay that debt by helping you.”
He pulled out his wallet and gave me a few hundred francs. I looked around to make sure no one saw before sliding the money into my purse.
“Thank you, Monsieur. You are tres gentil.” I smiled and he gave my shoulder a little squeeze.
It is thanks to his kindness and his discreet nature that a poor girl on holiday was able to eat and have the most unforgettable time in Paris. No one in the group knew of my “loan” and when we were back in America, I repaid the $40.
I’ve never forgotten his kindness and have always tried to do the same. I’ve spread kindness wherever I’ve gone and will do so until the day I die.
Kindness is life’s currency and at the end of the day, it’s much better to give it all away than to hoard it for a rainy day.
If you see someone in need, help them. It may not seem like a big deal to you but it may just save the life of another.
Monsieur Bouchard, if you’re out there, thank you for spreading your Light and being a great mentor to me and others in my class. I learned so much from you about life, love and what it means to be French.
“You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” Prince to an eighteen year old Mrs. N
Last week, Prince passed away. Like many fans, I was saddened by the news. No, that’s not accurate, I was crushed. Prince and his music were the soundtrack of my teen and adult years. His words and music spoke to me, molded me into who I am today.
Prince grew up in Minnesota and even after he made it big, he never forgot his roots. He loved Minnesota and he was one of the pioneers in the Minneapolis music scene. He lived in Minnesota and I had the opportunity to see him in concert three times, once meeting him.
I was a shy eighteen year old college student and I was hanging out with my friend Sue while she worked at a movie theatre. I should’ve been studying for mid-terms but the thought of watching free movies and helping out at the concession stand was too tempting to pass up.
Anyway, after the last movie had let out, it was time to watch a pre-screening of the upcoming movies. Sue whispered to me that a celebrity will be watching it with us. I asked her who and before she got a chance to answer, in walked Prince.
My mouth dropped open in surprise. I closed it just as quickly as I watched Prince and his entourage stop to talk to the manager. Time stood still as I stared. A smile tugged at Prince’s lips as he glanced in my direction. I blushed and dropped my gaze. Sue nudged me in the side.
I looked up to see Prince and his friends enter the theatre. I exhaled. I followed Sue and we sat in our normal spot (middle of the theatre, aisle seats). Prince and his group were in the back. The movie started and I was nervous the whole time.
When the movie was done, I told Sue I had to go to the washroom before the next one started. I made a beeline for the washroom. When I came out, there, leaning against the concession stand was Prince. He held out a box of Milk Duds.
I cleared my throat and nodded. He handed me his box and leaned over to grab another one.
“Hi,” was all I manged to get out.
He chuckled. He stared at me with those big soulful eyes of his for the longest time.
“What’s your name?” he asked after a long time.
I answered him with a shaky voice. Then I said, “I’m a huge fan. You’re a true artist, Mr. Prince.”
He didn’t say anything for a long time.
“You’re shy, like me.”
I blushed and nodded, head down.
“I-I-I’ve always been shy, I guess.” I stammered. “Guess that’s why I wanna be a writer someday.” I peeked at him through my lashes.
“Yo Prince, you ready for the next flick?” one of his buddies asked from the doorway.
Prince nodded, never taking his eyes off of me.
“I guess we better go back,” I offered and turned away. I exhaled, releasing the tension in my body.
Right as we got to the door, Prince whispered in my ear, “You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.”
I never forgot his kindness and encouraging words. Here was a mega superstar who took a moment out of his glamorous life to encourage a shy girl.
So today, in honor of Prince, I’m here to encourage you. You are beautiful and never let anyone tell you differently. Sure, life can be challenging and there are times when you feel like giving up. We all have our struggles (even Prince did) and problems. But together, we’re getting through this crazy thing called life.
Do you know someone who needs encouragement?
Give them a hug, kind word or even a smile. Let them know they’re beautiful.
Prince, thank you for your music and your kind words. You saw the Light inside me and I look forward to seeing you jamming up in Heaven. 🙂