I’ve been noticing my thoughts in response to what I witness my fellow human beings doing in the world to make it a better place. As I’ve watched 60 Minutes this week and a series on ESPN called E-60, that speaks to sports and the ways it which it influences peoples lives, I am continually moved, touched, inspired and fulfilled by these stories, these people that I don’t even know, who somehow take residence in my heart by what they are offering to me and the world of the possibilities of wholeness and healing here and now.
Of course I see this in my spiritual community in the way that we support the non-profits in Sonoma County and the power of our vision in the Centers for Spiritual Living, that we hold fast to creating “a world that works for everyone”.*
I look at these kind, courageous, committed people and ideas, while I sit, and from my point of view, do very little. I brought this up with Lisa, my therapist the last time we met. She lovingly reminded me that people can be lifted up, inspired, transformed by a gentle word, a smile, an act of kindness, even from a stranger in every day life. I confessed I am aware that I have, at times been the person that has offered this and of course have been touched and uplifted by receiving it from others.
In my Practitioner circle last month, I learned of a man who had gone to the Golden Gate bridge to commit suicide. He was on a bus, on the way to the bridge and thought to himself, if someone shows me a kindness, smiles at me, or anything like that, I will not jump. They didn’t and he jumped.
I learned his name this past weekend, Kevin Hines. He survived the fall and
he shared that his first thought as he left the bridge was regret. I was told that for a time he would go to the bridge, engaging in random acts of kindness to his fellow beings. No telling how many lives he touched and maybe even saved. It affirms something I have always believed, that we all want to be seen and heard and valued. He has also been instrumental in the construction of netting that is to be placed under the bridge in the coming year or so to again save lives.
When I step back, viewing these circumstances, I realize that if someone had reached out to Kevin that day, he may not have jumped, he may not have touched peoples lives on the bridge, and there may not have been a life saving netting around it. God only knows what direction his life would have taken. I guess we can all relate to pivotal moments in our lives where our choices have taken us in a multitude of directions. Now there is a series of blogs for me to chronicle!
In my facilitation of our Sunday Evening Exploration conversation last Sunday, I spoke to connection. I feel that what is being offered in these gatherings is the opportunity to connect, to witness, to be seen, heard and valued. Through the experiential exercise, the sharing one to one and in the large group, I witnessed, as often happens, people exposing their hearts, connecting and being supported no matter where they are in their conscious and in their lives. As one of our group quoted Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see”. It always begins within, it always begins with me.
I invite you to consider the possibility of touching someones life today or sometime soon, maybe even your own, by offering a random act of kindness, by smiling inside and out, by showing interest in another, be your authentic self by engaging in the feeling of joy and gratitude for what you already have and see what happens. It is all so contagious.
“Be kind to one another” – Ellen Degeneres
2 thoughts on “Have you noticed…”
I’m familiar with Kevin Hines and his story after watching a documentary on his experience. How we show up in this world, even the smallest of ways, makes ripples in the world: holding open a door, making eye contact with someone, smiling. It doesn’t have to be grandiose or under spotlight to be meaningful. I remember when I worked at a hospital in Denver and I was in the cafeteria at lunch time preparing a drink at the fountain machine and there was a woman beside me who had set down her lunch and bag to fill her cup. I handed her a lid and her face lit up. “Thank you so much! You’ve just made my day!” I will never forget that moment because of HER gratitude, not my action, which was about as simple as it gets — it was a flimsy drink lid. Thank you for the invitation and reminder to show kindness. May we never forget its impact for others, for ourselves.
What a joy to read your thoughtful and loving response. I love you Jen.