Random and not-so-random acts of kindness. Pass them on!

Birdsfoot Trefoil...abundant gifts of universal kindness!

One of the best things in life is free.

Doesn’t cost a penny.

Yet it continues to give and give and give.

What, you ask, is this mysterious gift?

You know.

The gift of kindness.

The random nature of logs atop our covered wood pile

Some kindness is wild and crazy and reckless and random.  Other kindness is more controlled and tamed.  Some kindness is the rainy-day variety, astounding us with its rainbows through the mist.  Other kindness is ordinary and almost expected.

Yet all of it probably should be regarded as a treasure.  A garden, perhaps, to be cultivated in each of our lives. 

So let’s start planting some more seeds, OK?  Let’s consciously remember to be more present with those we meet today and tomorrow and, yep, even into the weekend.  We can do it!

You’re wanting to know why I’m thinking of this today, aren’t you?  Two random on-line posts sparked me to remember the power of kindness.  The first was a Facebook status by my friend John.  He wrote: 

Here is an experiment: Next person you are with, be fully present and smile from your heart with great love.  Now – do you notice the change in this person? Make this not about you but about them . . . what do you notice? I’m curious.

Simple reeds in a big big lake

Now I know we don’t usually think of simply being fully present with another person as an act of kindness, but, truly, I do believe it is one of the biggest gifts we can give another person.  After reading John’s status I vowed to be fully present with every person I met.

Next stop:  the bank.  The teller was a little rushed and preoccupied.  I gave her my full attention, really not saying much, simply staying fully engaged with her.  Before I left the bank, she was beaming.  Truly beaming!  And that was without more than six words of connection.  Simply being very present to the beauty within her soul.

The rest of the morning in town was incredible.  I think we undervalue the gifts of presence, a few words here and there, a smile, some encouragement.  Many of us may feel lonely, hurting, suffering, confused, uncertain.  Simple presence and sharing from another person can brighten the day of our neighbor, the owner of the coffee shop, someone walking down the street.

And sometimes we can be lead to do wild & crazy acts of random kindness.  Like call over a complete stranger and whisper positive words in their ear.  Perhaps draw a picture for a child in a restaurant. 

Kindness shines through and reflects everywhere

Following our deepest inner promptings, we can make a difference in the lives of others.  This morning, in the coffee shop, I paused by so many delightful blogs to admire the wide variety of sharing and to leave some words of appreciation.  But one blog completely stunned me with its tale of random and not-so-random acts of kindness.  You simply must read Julie’s blog and hear about the divine synchronicities of What Julie Learned in her post  When we listen.

Julie, your sharing of this blog has inspired me so much today!  Thank you from the bottom of a heart which now wants to spread more and more kindness.  Hopefully it will be like a stone tossed in a pond with the ripples of kindness spiralling in wider and wider circles.

I can’t even begin to list the hundreds of thousands of random acts of kindness that have made a difference in my life.  Every day, simply by reading or commenting here, you brighten my day and often make a difference to many others.

Let’s all re-dedicate ourselves to share more kindness!  And I would love to hear of some random and not-so-random ways you have shared kindness with others recently (or have been gifted with some yourself.)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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48 Responses to Random and not-so-random acts of kindness. Pass them on!

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    Thank you for going along and noticing blogs. I needed that one especially. Big Hugs! If i carry too much, i might not notice those who carry me, and then, there you are again…posting. I appreciate you.

    • agardenfriend says:

      Beautifully said. Your ability to convey what I am thinking is a gift. Thank you. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Elisa, you are so welcome. When you think about how many cool blogs are out there in the cyberworld…it’s a wonder we get anything done at all. LOL! I appreciate you, too. You know it.

  2. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, this is so beautiful! I, too believe this…wholeheartedly! That the act of simply being as present as we know how to be, as often as we are able, in each moment of our day and with every person we are blessed to encounter is an act of kindness. Towards others and maybe just as importantly, to ourselves. And there is such beauty and such power in simple kindness….no matter how it is offered or what form it takes 🙂

  3. Wow Kathy,
    It is so crystal clear how what you have said in this blog is so true. The kindness of one woman in a hospital waiting room led to another kindness and so on, and here it is still being payed forward. I can not wait to read the shared acts of kindness people will post in your comments. And I cant wait so share this with Jamie and Andy. As it is Rob and I already cried as we read your post. Thank you for the shout out, but mostly thank you for the beautiful Lake SUPERIOR SPIRIT that you are. I am honored!!!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Julie, thank YOU for the inspiration. Your post really blew me away–and it looks like it affected lots of other people, as well. My daughter read your post last night and then shared it with another friend. And so it goes. Pass it on, pass it on! Blessings to you, dear friend…

  4. Barbara says:

    Thank you, Kathy, for highlighting kindness.

    Julie’s blog moved me today, too. I went out food shopping after I read it. It was just a heartfelt smile, but it started a chain reaction. As I was going into the grocery store a mom and her two boys were coming out, happily talking about how much fun they were planning to have at the beach after they helped mom put the groceries away. I smiled at them and the boy surprised me by saying “Hello!” so brightly and cheerfully it caused me to spontaneously return his greeting with the same enthusiasm! (Being a reserved New Englander this is somewhat unusual behavior for me…) I felt joy flowing!

    And then, after we had passed each other, I heard the boy greet a man who was trudging along, coming into the store behind me. The man seemed uncomprehending at first but finally said, “Oh, hey there! How are you today? Like your haircut!” His whole demeanor had changed!

    As I went into the store I heard the young fellow’s delighted voice telling his mom, “That man said he liked my haircut!” It underlined for me, today’s lesson: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~ Aesop (The Lion and the Mouse)

    • Kathy says:

      I LOVE it, Barbara! A chain reaction of love and kindness!! WOW!! Just think what kind of place the world would be if we consciously remembered this every single day. Let’s keep reminding each other!

  5. Robin says:

    I used to practice random acts of kindness all the time but haven’t done so lately. I’m not sure why. Caught up in the rush of life, maybe. Whatever the case, this was a well-timed reminder that I should get back into the kindness game.

    Thank you. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I wonder WHY we don’t remember to do this every day? You’re right…the rush of life probably gets in our way. I want to remember more often.

  6. Kryssy says:

    You AMAZE me EVERY TIME I read your blog. I don’t mean to sound like a broken recorder (sorry if I do lol), but it just REFRESHES my mind, my eyes and BEING. I did my blog for today it’s quite nice lol.

    • Kathy says:

      Kryssy, EVERY time? Ohmygoodness! Oh just you wait, not every one will amaze you. But I am so happy you were refreshed. Oh what a gift it is to refresh one another!

  7. Susan D says:

    Love both yours and Julie’s blogs today, and was thinking “how timely” prior to commenting. Then, decided that “time” isn’t really a factor. Random acts of kindness seem to be more of a “knowing.”

    Like Robin, it seems I haven’t been practicing random acts of kindness lately. But, I wonder if we’re truly in a position to judge whether or not we are, or are not, practicing RAOK? For instance: There are so many loving souls here among the bloggers and the posters that not a day goes by that I’m not touched or influenced by some, or all. Dip in here, and you will leave changed because the authentic sharing of thoughts/ideas are acts of kindness.

    Other RAOK of late: delightful dinner with a friend, and unabandoned laughter/sharing 🙂 Then, over the last 2 days, unexpected visits from 2 former students who just showed up b/c they miss me. Balm to the spirit. And 2 unexpected letters – full of kind words and appreciation.

    Smiling through tears as fresh and healing as spring rain. Thank you.

    • Kathy says:

      Very very good point, Ms. Susan. I don’t think we are necessarily in a position to judge that. Random acts of kindness (or as you have so interestedly said: RAOK…tee hee…) probably come out of us every day. I guess the question is if we’re conscious of them. Or conscious when we’re being gifted. More consciousness of them…that seems to be key.

  8. Fountainpen says:

    OK, Kathy, here is a act of kindness for a cat….Several days ago, I saw this lovely black-with-white-boots cat walking closely behind a young woman and a toddler….three doors from my home….so I stopped inquiring how she got the cat to be so tame as to walk with her…..DUH!….NOT her
    cat, of course….but we both thought it might belong in “one of these houses”…..so I knocked on one, and a lovely older woman came out and said the cat had just come around about a month ago, and they were feeding it, but no one knew anything about its history……

    I ended up taking the cat to the area veterinary and had it tested….perfectly healthy little thing….one and a half years old…male, neutered, short hair…..Well, this little male cat has been vaccinated, treated for fleas, tested….and came back NEGATIVE for feline AIDS and leukemia……perfectly healthy……And with a phone call, a friend of mine
    picked up $100.00 of the over $100 bill………….

    And with a case of food, I brought cat and food back to the elderly woman
    who promised me she would feed it until I come up with another plan or a
    permanent indoor home….

    Another phone call: another of my cat connections said her husband makes winter boxes for outdoor cats and she will GIVE me one…..for my
    new-found male feline three or four doors from my home……

    Anyone out there need a perfectly calm and gentle young male short hair
    cat??!!!!!!!! I may even be able to arrange DELIVERY!!!!!!!! I would check with the elderly woman, Norma, and John, her husband first of course….they have a dog and the dog will not let the cat come into the house!!!!!! Imagine that!!!!!!!!


    • Kathy says:

      fountainpen, this is the most lovely story. I love how you were passing it on. You, my dear, have been known to pass along random acts of kindness–of which I am a grateful recipient! Still love sending out those cards of my photography which you gifted. As for that perfectly calm and gently young male short hair cat…we had our last cat about four years ago and NO NO NO we can not accept another one. But thank you kindly for asking. 🙂

  9. Kathy – This was a wonderful treat for me to read this morning, wonderful!

    You’re aware that I recently lost everything on my computer’s hard drive. Including all of my photographs I use for my website and blog. Both Terrill and Jeff offered me the use of their photographs while I was empty-handed. Those were tremendous acts of kindness.

    Thank you for this post!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I would love to offer you some photographs as well. Just tell what you need (or would like) and I will hunt for them. So sorry for your loss. It sounds like a terribly challenging situation that you are meeting head on. Blessings, dear friend. (Oh, for anyone reading this–Laurie has temporarily lost her computer’s hard drive….)

  10. jeffstroud says:


    I first read this last evening, then we were hit with a storm and the electric knocked the power strip out that the computers are hooked too.

    What I notice was you excitement, the energy behind random/no so random acts of kindness, and your joy to practice this service to the community around you. I even went to Julie’s blog and was commenting when the storm hit.

    Neale Donald Walsch use to suggest you “make someone day” by talking to people in the line and the food store, greeting the check out person, engaging them in the process of presence. Smile, share positive comments, etc. It shifts the energy
    From Julie’s blog I see that is just what happened. A beautiful example of playing it forward, being grateful, and being present in the presence of others.

    I am Love, Jeff

    P.S. Laurie, I am touched.

  11. jeffstroud says:

    Opps Kathy I love “Simple Reeds in a big lake” I had to look twice to “see” what I was looking at. Wonderful!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Jeff. Glad you liked the reeds photo. Isn’t it amazing what the energy of passing it along can do? I admired Neale Donald Walsh, as well. His suggestion is right on. Hopefully the storms have ceased in your area and that the sun is shining by now. Hopefully!

  12. Karma says:

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder, Kathy. “Being fully present” is something that takes commitment. We are so easily distracted by the things of life (computers, phones etc) it is easy to become distracted from live people – and they are the ones we should of course be paying attention to.
    I had some kindness shown to me on the last day of school. One student I had helped throughout the school year told me she wished I could come to the next grade with her; others simply wanted hugs before they got on the bus for the last time as 6th graders.
    If commenting on blogs can be considered an act of kindness, I’m very happy to do it! I know the comments I receive always make me tremendously happy.

    • Kathy says:

      Wow! I just teared up, Karma, thinking about the student asking you to come to the next grade with her. And those hugs… See, it’s so simple, isn’t it? Just being present to what comes up and not distracted and rushing on the surface. (I am reminding myself of this…Kathy, quit rushing so much, slow down and breathe….) You, my dear, make me very happy with your comments. I love comments. They feel like condensed hugs of joy. Don’t you feel it, too?

  13. i just love your photos and writing. it’s such a joy to click on your site!

  14. quietpaths says:

    This is such a very important post. I probably won’t read anything as pertinent today… thank you.

    • Kathy says:

      Christine, thank you. Your blog always fills me with such a sense of quiet and peace that I feel equally “fed” all day. Glad to return the favor.

  15. P.j. grath says:

    Kathy, this is such a wonderful idea for an experiment, because there’s no way to lose and everything for both sides to win. Thank you so much!

  16. Thank you, thank you, Kathy for your kind offer of photographs.

    We resume “Energy Medicine 101” over on Speaking from the Heart tomorrow morning. For the duration of that “course” I’ll have enough photographs because I can use them from my website.

    In the meantime, I’m writing and snapping shots like a crazy woman — simply round the bend. As you can see by following this link, nothing is safe from the camera, not even breakfast! http://www.holessence.com/featurephoto.html

    • Colleen Lloyd says:

      Laurie, I’m not quite sure where to go to respond to this. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your photos. They’re marvelous. And with regard to the capri comments….here in California they are worn by everyone…well, many… (including lots of guys) for most of the year. I’m so glad you just say NO 🙂 and continue to look just fabulous in your capris!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, that breakfast looks soooo yummy~ could you send some up here to the U.P. by tomorrow morning? Please?

      And I’m not surprised you’ve found a way to resume class. 🙂

  17. holessence says:

    Colleen – Thank you so much for the compliments!

  18. holessence says:

    Kathy – I have a hunch that it just wouldn’t taste quite the same on arrival.

    It’s soooooooo easy to make, and it’s soooooooo delicious, and it’s soooooooooo healthy!

  19. Deborah says:

    I will do this. I will see what happens when I smile and it is about the person I am smiling at. Seeing their response to that invisible heart that pours out through that smile.

    I believe this “simply being fully present with another person IS an act of kindness”. My kids show me this all the time. All they want is a moment of my totally undivided attention. What a small price for something so important.

    I am so glad that you have written this because I think you have hit upon some truth here “I think we undervalue the gifts of presence, a few words here and there, a smile, some encouragement.” Attention. How many people in the world as just starving for some indication that their being alive actually matters. How many suicides might such simple acts avert ?

    Next, to follow your recommendation; and go and read Julie’s blog. I tried to call you this morning. You were strongly on my mind. Maybe it was no more than needing to be reminded to stop by here and read.

    • Kathy says:

      Deborah, as humans it does feel like we undervalue this simple gift of presence, of undivided attention. It is such a simple thing–yet yields the greates results of all. Your words reverberate such truth. People simply wanting to feel that their lives make a difference–and when we give our attention and compassion who knows what the ripples might produce?

      I would love to talk with you one of these days, Deborah. It feels like we’ve missed on connecting for months now.

  20. flandrumhill says:

    Lovely post Kathy. Genuine kindness is such a sign of civility and reverence for ‘the other.’ You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those who are unable to reciprocate in kind.

    A crayon should be named ‘trefoil yellow.’ It’s so brilliant.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy, that is a true thought. How people treat people who are unable to reciprocate in kind…when we have no expectation of getting anything in return. That is true compassion, indeed.

  21. absurdoldbird says:

    Lovely post, lovely sentiments. What keeps bringing me back to this post though is your photo of the reeds in water. Not sure what it is, but I love it.

    • Kathy says:

      I am happy to see you back again! Maybe it’s the simplicity of those reeds in the water. Simple lines. That’s what attracted me to them. Glad you liked the post, too.

  22. milkayphoto says:

    I started faithfully practicing ‘kindness’ many years ago, and to this day, my husband is still amazed at how nice people, in general, are to me! I never set out to get anything in return, but well, kindness reaps its own rewards. I’ve seen it time and time again. I tell people when they are doing a good job, as most are only willing to say when things aren’t up to snuff. I treat everyone as if they do the most important job, whatever that may be. I’ve seen so many service employees treated so badly by customers for no apparant reason other than the customer feels entitled to do so, that I NEVER do that. I find life to be happier. A smile does indeed go a long way.

    So, in short, lovely post! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dear milkayphoto, Wow! I am happy to know another person who loves kindness. (I suspect there are many of us.) The key does seem to be not to expect anything in return, although that can get tricky in subtle ways for me sometimes. It was a joy to have you stop by and I hope you visit again.

  23. I really, really enjoyed reading this blog, Kathy, thanks a lot ! Kindness is a way of welcoming people no matter who they are nor how they feel. Your words reminded me of a little poem I have stuck on the top of my PC. I posted it already but it is good to read again 🙂 here it is :

    With Every Breath
    With every breath i take today
    I vow to be awake
    And every step I take,
    I vow to take with a grateful heart
    So I may see with eyes of love
    Into the hearts of all I meet,
    To ease their burden when I can
    And touch them with a smile of peace.

    I am trying every day to be awake, grateful and give a smile of peace. Some days are more difficult than others, but i keep trying 🙂
    Peace and Love to you, Kathy. Smiling, of course 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Isa, that little poem is very touching. Thank you so much for sharing it. The words are beautiful. Like you, with every breath I take (OK, not every breath, but with a lot of them) I vow to be more awake. May just have to print off these words and post them beside this PC, too. Blessings and peace to you my Swiss friend!

  24. Cindy Lou says:

    Hey Kathy…..I really am still alive and well – it’s just very hard to get time to read with Kenzie around and I want to spend every possible minute with her before she goes so far away again. So while she’s napping, I’m trying to get caught up on my blog reading!

    I, too, have long held that RAOKs (or ray-awks as we call them in my family) are vitally important in our lives. I try to tell my kids at school that the smile you give away may be the only smile that person gets all day. And a gentle hug or pat on the arm to those same kids may be their only one that day. One of my favorite RAOKs is to offer to take photos for a family/couple on vacation so that everyone can be in the picture. My kids laugh at me (what’s new?!?!) but I’m always glad I offered as people are genuinely thankful.

    It’s so easy to give just a bit of ourselves away to brighten someone’s day! It costs us nothing and yields such beautimous rewards!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank goodness you checked in, Cindy! I figured you were 1) busy with your family or 2) in Au Train on vacation. But eventually would have had to give you a call to make sure you were still alive & kicking! I’ll bet you’re having a wonderful time with your daughter and granddaughter.

      I suspect that you are a person who shares many, many random acts of kindness every day. And it’s wonderful to know that you’re teaching that to your kids as well. To think that a person might not even get one personal smile a day… That really makes you think.

      We’ll see you again when time opens up in your busy life!

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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