Lessons from the White Queen

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Day 4: It’s all too easy to take things for granted in our lives; to get wrapped up in what we don’t have or where we would rather be instead of focusing on being thankful for all that we have in the here and now. Personally, the thing I am most grateful for in my life is the amazing people I am lucky enough to share it with. My 4th act of kindness was to write a thankyou card to my beautiful friend L, who is like a little ray of sunshine: positive, joyful, considerate, honest and loyal. I’m sure that those closest to me know that I am grateful for them, but I have to say there is something really lovely about taking the time to put into words just how awesome I think they really are.

Day 5: Carrying on the giving to friends, my 5th act of kindness was to babysit for my fantastic friend A and his wife who definitely deserved a night off, especially considering it was also his birthday this week. It was the most stress-free babysitting experience I’ve ever had and I think it was much appreciated by both parents. At this point, being kind to friends certainly feels far more natural than being kind to strangers but I’m hoping eventually to be equally comfortable with both.

 

Day 6: My acts of kindness towards strangers do tend to make me feel slightly insane (saying hello to people, buying coffee for randoms …), and today was no different. Inspired by the website operationbeautiful.com, I snuck around putting post-it notes with positive affirmations where lots of people would see them. For example, in a public toilet: “You are beautiful. Never forget it” and in a pay phone: “Be yourself. No one else knows how.” I got a lot of funny looks from people wondering what I was doing and I must admit, at first I felt a little disappointed – it just isn’t the same when you can’t experience people’s responses. But then I began to imagine all the different ways the notes might brighten someone’s day. (Maybe someone was working up the courage to make an important phone call and that note was the little nudge they needed, maybe that conversation will change their life …) My happy imaginings were probably far more fanciful than anything that actually took place but I’m grateful that this project is allowing me to embrace my idealistic tendencies. I happily take a leaf out of the book of the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland (by C.S. Lewis) who makes it a habit to imagine “more than six impossible things before breakfast”.

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