MoK: Acknowledgement

There are a lot of ways to take action in this world. Some people do it through clubs they belong to. Others do it casually, as circumstances arise, while still others become formal volunteers or contributors. Even if it’s in small ways, most people contribute to the world around them in a generous and thoughtful way.

People hold doors, do favours, offer money, or engage in labour all for the benefit of someone else. Today in the March of Kindness our job is simple: we want to watch life for these acts. We want to openly acknowledge the act as being generous and kind. It’s one thing to think inside your own head, Wow, it was nice of that lady to carry that older lady’s bags to her car, and something entirely different if you thank her on behalf of the world.

The impulse to be kind is already alive and well in the person, but we all know how it feels to get criticised. It makes us feel smaller and weaker. Using the same mechanism, getting acknowledgement for doing helpful positive things helps us feel stronger and more capable. But too-often the acknowledgements are silent. Why would we stay quiet about delivering such good news?

Today your job is to notice the little things people didn’t have to do and to acknowledge them. The gratitude feels good for us to experience, and every one of us would be motivated to do even more kind things if we were more consciously aware of how it helps us to feel like we belong. Being valuable to the group is a win-win for all involved.

It’s funny that we can be afraid to say nice things to people. Do we really think people are going to get angry and upset with us for bringing up their niceness? Most people light right up. It’s a nice connection between people and it’s worth developing. But for that sense of unity to exist in your community, people need to be able to sense their bonds. They can’t be silent and uncertain. We have to speak up and offer praise more than we offer criticisms.

Just yesterday I had a grocery store clerk help me load grocery bags into my arms, a tech support person was particularly helpful, I had a woman hold a door for me at an office building, I had a friend drop by to offer some expertise on an important family issue, and I got a welcome invitation to an event. And that’s just off the top of my head.

Today is about acknowledging those good things in life, whether we’re the benefactor or someone else is. The idea today is to focus our grateful attention on people who are taking action. Before the day is out try to offer at least three different acknowledgements. Turn your radar on to how kind the world is and you’ll see that it’s better than you might have thought.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Right Action

891 Relax and Succeed - Even the smallestLife can feel counter-intuitive even when it’s not. A lot of you were nervous about saying something nice to a difficult person but, as many of you found out, grumpy people don’t get a lot of compliments so they’ll either scoff at yours or they’ll love it. I’m glad so many of you got such positive reactions.

Okay, so yesterday we shared some nice words with a person we might otherwise avoid. Today we’ll take some small action. This can be as simple as bringing a coffee for the grumpiest person you work with. Or maybe it’s taking your poorest-behaving kid out for some special solo time doing something they really value.

How these things work is that co-worker might genuinely be going through something tough and you create a valued connection. Or maybe the kid’s being bullied and needs a safe alone-space to share that. No you’re not going to change someone’s personality with one nice act, but you can do things that encourage them to have their awareness a little more open.

891 Relax and Succeed - Right thoughts produceIf you get a negative reaction for your gesture, considering who you’re giving it to that’s not entirely a surprise and so then you can focus your attention on the act of giving–which always feels good. And if the reaction is positive then you have used your candle to light another. That’s how the world gets better. Imagine if every one of us just did that once a day. Even if no one responded we would all feel so much better just from the giving.

The world didn’t get impersonal and corporate and legal and complicated on its own. We made it that way and we can make it another way. We can stop worrying so much about the fences our ideas create between this person or that idea of property and we can focus instead on how our life feels.

Yes, the world does improve when people take positive action. But your world improves the moment you take that action. This is the wonderful selfishness that is giving. Generosity in general will lead people to very positive feelings.

891 Relax and Succeed - It is love aloneThere are no guarantees in this life. You can put in something good and get something terrible out. But by far the best odds of getting something good out does come from putting something good in. Call it karma, call it God, the name or concept matters far less than how that manifests in the daily experience of those on this Earth.

Your life is not where you are, who you are, or what you are doing. What matters is, what are you thinking? What are you holding in the preciousness of your consciousness? Because if it is the welfare of another, then that automatically implies that you have not only enough for yourself, but also enough to share. And there is no richer person than the one who needs nothing.

Give. Not for their sake. For yours. Today. Take some action. Say something nice to continue yesterday’s meditation and add an action for today’s. Enjoy.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.