Practice Random Kindnesses
Senseless Acts of Beauty
It's a crisp
winter day in San Francisco. A woman in a red Honda, Christmas
presents piled in the back, drives up to the Bay Bridge toll
paying for myself, and for the six cars behind me," she says
with a smile, handing over seven commuter tickets. One after
another, the next six drivers arrive at the toll booth, dollars in
hand, only to be told, "Some lady up ahead already paid your
fare. Have a nice day."
The woman in
the Honda, it turned out, had read something on an index card
taped to a friend's refrigerator: "Practice random kindnesses
and senseless acts of beauty." The phrase seemed to leap out
at her and she copied it down.
spotted the the same phrase spray painted on a warehouse wall a
hundred miles from her home. When it stayed in her mind for days,
she gave up and drove all the way back to copy it down. "I
thought it was incredibly beautiful," she said, explaining
why she's taken to writing it at the bottom of all her letters,
"like a message from above."
Frank, liked the phrase so much that he put it up on the wall for
his seventh-grade students, one of whom was the daughter of a
local columnist. The columnist put it in the paper, admitting that
though she liked it, she didn't really know where it came from or
what it really meant.
later, she heard from Anne Herbert, who lives in Marin, one of the
country's ten richest counties, where she house-sits, takes odd
jobs and gets by. It was in a Sausalito restaurant that Herbert
jotted the phrase down on a paper placemat, after turning it
around in her mind for days. "That's wonderful" a man
sitting nearby said, and he copied it down carefully on his own
the idea," Herbert says. "Anything you think there
should be more of, do it, randomly." Her own fantasies
include: 1) breaking into depressing-looking schools to paint the
classrooms; 2) leaving hot meals on kitchen tables in the poor
parts of town; 3) slipping money into a proud old woman's purse.
Says Herbert, "Kindness can build on itself as much as
violence can." Now the phrase is spreading, on bumper
stickers, on walls, at the bottom of letters and business cards.
And as it spreads, so does a vision of guerrilla goodness.
Oregon, a man might plunk a coin into a stranger's meter just in
time. In Patterson, New Jersey, a dozen people with pails and mops
and tulip bulbs might descend on a rundown house and clean it from
top to bottom. In Chicago, a teenage boy might be shoveling off
the driveway when the impulse strikes. What the hell, nobody's
looking, he thinks, and shovels the neighbor's driveway too.
anarchy, disorder, a sweet disturbance. Senseless acts of beauty
spread. They say you can't smile without cheering yourself up a
little -- likewise, you can't commit a random act of kindness
without feeling as if your own troubles have been lightened, if
only because the world has become a slightly better place.
And you can't
be a recipient without feeling a shock, a pleasant jolt. If you
were one of those rush hour drivers who found your bridge fare
paid, who knows what you might have been inspired to do for
someone else later. Wave someone on at the intersection? Smile at
a tired clerk? Or something larger, greater? Like all revolutions,
guerrilla goodness begins slowly, with a single act. Let it be
Practice Random Kindnesses - Senseless Acts of Beauty
article was taken from a computer network where it had been sent
out to all subscribers -- an act of random kindness itself. Please
duplicate it and hand it out, send it out, give it out randomly,
frequently. Join the guerrillas of goodness, the underground
movement of senseless acts of beauty. In the same way many drops
of water can become a flood, let's transform the world with a
deluge of random kindnesses.
article was first written, whenever it was, at least three
television programs have featured "Random Kindnesses" in
some way: Oprah Winfrey, ABC, 2/15, Good Morning America, ABC, the
week of 2/14, and Crusaders, NBC, 2/5/11.
Nightingale of the East
Joel S. Goldsmith
the flowering plants of a garden in Egypt sat a
nightingale of great beauty.
soaring song filled the Oasis with lilting melody.
song was a carol of love; a message of peace from out of
of the Infinite, stilling the waves of a world of sense.
thou, O Bird, of the peace that fares forth with thy song?
Knowest thou of the strife that is stilled by the melody
from thy throat?
the nightingale knows naught of the power of its
and less of the unrest that is quieted by its sound.
should ye be as the song of God pours forth from you
willing carrier of the divine message—
unaware of the power of your being
and still less aware
of the troubled
ye quiet with your melody of love.