As I’ve said before, it’s nice to be nice isn’t it?
When I thought about this blog post, I thought ‘there’s probably a couple of bits I can pull together. I’ll really put the effort in next week’. However, the more I thought about it, the more I was surprised that there were more ways than I realised.
My job involves kindness; it could be argued that kindness is at the core of the role and it is practiced so often that the gratitude gets lost. However, I have not been at work this week, does that mean I am kind from within? It is an unconscious way of my life?
Kindness to family
I arranged to meet with my Nana on Wednesday. The planned project was to ‘sort the shed‘. To organize it, to weed through obsolete items, rearrange existing items. It was to take a few hours; 10am-4pm was set aside.
I arrived at 10am, prepared with old clothes and garden gloves. A hot cross bun…just in case. As I got out of the car I greeted her gardener/friend, she really had got the outdoor team together this morning. I joined immediately, she had already started…cleaning. Who cleans objects that live in their shed?! I did the heavy work, lifted and shifted the tiles (tiles in the shed?), heaved numerous boxes up the steps to the ‘sorting table’, relocated the paint tubs, the compost and gravel. Nana helped as her ageing body allowed, she lightened the boxes, carried the lighter items, cleaned (cleaned?).
There was a lunch break, a couple of rehydration stops, take the weight off your feet pauses. During these breaks, small projects continued. I put back together the windchime. Patience was necessary.
Slowly we made progress. We made a good team. The tools were sorted…methodically. It pleased us both. It was decided that unneeded tools would be given to a charity that refurbishes these and uses them in the UK and East Africa to aid vocational training projects. See Workaid for an example of this.
The shed looked good…that was probably due to the cleaning.
I drove my Mum to the cinema to see a film of her choice. We saw ‘A Royal Night Out’, it was enjoying. An uplifting film that did not require much thought. Perfect.
Kindness to my fake twin, my best friend and housemate
I’m not brilliant at empathy or even sympathy; self-confessed. I am improving these with the young people that I work with, but in a more personal setting there is a long way to go. What I am good at, is practical support. Their clothes wash, cooking dinner, the cleaning. This form of support is most definitely in my genes from my Dad.
Kindness to animals
Does this count?
The school guinea pig came to stop with me this week (you can read about his experience here). I can’t say I’m knowledgeable about guinea pigs, I know the basics but not to guru level. Cue googling. We had decided that Jerry had put weight on since his housemate had passed away, there was no one to run around and share food with. Google – healthy snacks for guinea pigs, what shouldn’t guinea pigs eat?, how much food/snacks should they have? And his monitored eating started. His vegetables were vitamin heavy and the correct amount of each one per week. If I was eating clean, he would be too. It was in his best interest.
We did try increasing his exercise level, but I can’t say it went well for either of us, as recounted in the review blog linked above. We both ended up under my bed, neither of us able to move effectively.
Jerry even got a new water bottle this week. A smaller size than he is used too, but this means he will have fresh water more often. Best of all, there is no leaking! His bedding (in that area) now remains dry.
He’s had a quieter week but he seems to have enjoyed that.
Does this count? Being kind to yourself?
This week I have increased my self-respect for my body. My diet has been clean, hydrated, my exercise consistent. I can feel the appreciation, my body is thanking me. It has not been sluggish, bloated, achey. This has further prompted more free-from food, vegetarian (some vegan) food, even more fruit and veggies.
I have given myself time. Time to rest. Time to rediscover what it really is that drives me.
The PDSA charity shop I volunteer in, was closed in February due to arson. That is right, a charity shop set alight in order to break into the safe. Original article can be viewed here. Therefore, we have been campaigning for stock over the past 5 months. Without it, the shop will not be able to reopen, money won’t be made, animals will not be cared for. This week the reopening date was made official here. This is in 3 weeks, therefore I need to step up my part in the campaign. I am using word of mouth, facebook and email.
My garage is getting full and only set to get fuller as friends, acquaintances and colleagues donate.
I cannot say much about this project yet (expect a blog post soon). Chumbrella is aiming to bring people together through spreading their kindness and friendliness. The idea is people use their umbrellas to spread awareness of this social art project. For example, an elderly passer by is struggling with her shopping in the pouring rain – you share your shelter with her. Do that little bit extra, do not ignore. Ask if they would like a hand, how their day has been, why you are holding a large yellow and white umbrella. Firstly, the lady would hopefully be appreciative, someone had taken the time, she was not getting as wet, her back was no longer aching. Secondly, she would hopefully pass her experience on to others. Therefore, hopefully they will follow your example. They do not have to get a #Chumbrella, but hopefully they will be kind to that extra person. Although the passer by may not be able to physically help someone else, she could speak to someone new, smile at them in the street, ask how their day has been.
The Perfect Stranger Project
A second project that I signed up for this week. You may have read about this project in my previous post. This one is about being kind to others and yourself. Putting the thought and effort into what you think your partner may like to receive, or what would represent you. Then feeling the excitement and privilege that your partner has put the same thought and effort into your package. The chance that your partner could be a friend for life, a soulmate and you did not even know they existed in this world.
Further information and the opportunity to sign up can be found on their website.