Undercover Kindness, Old School Style

In this fast-paced, techno-obsessed age, there is something extra wonderful (and yes, kind) about taking the time to do things the slow way. I have written before about my hippy tendencies, about my vague but persistent urge to embrace the ‘peace and love’ movement. Whenever I am feeling a bit lost, the things that ground me again are getting back to basics – cooking a slow meal, surrounding myself with nature, reading a good book, connecting with others.

So after a couple of weeks of being overwhelmed by “life stuff” and wandering off the kindness path, I decided the way to get back on track was going old school – slowing down and simplifying. I also did around two kindnesses each day to make up for lost time! I spent a day smiling and saying hello to people (always a challenge even to get eye contact). I made brownies for my new housemates. Went for a bushwalk and picked up rubbish. Bought a Big Issue and talked to two homeless people. Helped a lost boy find his father and lost tourists find the train station. I stuck post-its in public bathroom mirrors with comments such as “Hey, good looking! You’re gorgeous – don’t doubt it!” I also sent hand written cards to two of my most beautiful friends. There is something wonderful about recieving mail that is not bills or advertising, especially when you are not expecting it. Knowing someone thought of you and took the time to put pen to paper makes it feel like there is happiness and love tucked inside the envelope amongst every word.

My most fun kindness was an undercover mission to the library armed with my heart post-its, inspired by Kindnessgirl. Many people claim that books will very soon be obsolete with the invention of all the various electronic reading devices. The thought that one day books will go the way of CDs and videotapes is quite horrifying to me – I think there are few greater pleasures in life than curling up with a pre-loved novel on a rainy day. Or sharing a much-loved book with a child. There is something completely irreplacable about the feel and the smell and the very idea of a book and all the promises it has kept and made. A great book has the power to entertain and amuse and inform and inspire – to change your perspective and your life. I read a short story once that said the only people that would truly be able to live forever without becoming bored would be those that love books – there could never be enough time to read them all. For this mission I spent most of my time in the self-help and travel sections, imagining who might be picking up each book and writing notes of encouragement and positivity. For example, on a book about thinking your way slim: “The journey to your best self has already begun. Keep going!” And on a book about Brazil: “Rio Carnevale = the time of your life. Do it!”

I encourage you to take up the library challenge – it costs nothing, it might give someone a very unexpected boost of happiness and really is a lot of fun! Go forth and post-it. I’m off to read my book…

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Low Carb Jo
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 23:58:39

    Love this. I’m a great fan of the post-it messaging method of expressing kindness and I support my local library ..reading 3 books every 3 weeks. Next time I’m there I’m taking a post-it with me. Thanks again for your inspiration.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Aug 18, 2011 @ 21:34:30

      Wow, Jo, a book a week is quite impressive! So nice to prioritise reading like that, you remind me I need to do the same. Good luck with the post-it mission, it really is a lot of fun!

      Reply

  2. Christina
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 01:54:06

    I always thought it would be nice to leave lovely scented cards in random places.
    Just scent, nothing else. A quick way to transform a bad mood. I should be brave enough not to feel silly doing such things.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Aug 18, 2011 @ 21:37:29

      That is a fantastic idea, Christina, and one that I have never thought of. Smell can be so powerful in transforming someone’s mood or even the atmosphere of a whole space. You should definitely try it out! You always feel like a crazy person when you first give these things a go, but you should never let that stop you. 🙂

      Reply

  3. Patricia
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 03:37:23

    Great idea about the notes in public bathrooms…those places are usually ugly… a kindness note would make it nicer.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Aug 18, 2011 @ 21:46:47

      Yeah,you’re right, Particia, it makes the public toilet look nicer and also hopefully makes people feel better about themselves – I got the inspiration from an amazing project boosting women’s self-confidence one post-it at a time called Operation Beautiful (you can read about it at Operationbeautiful.com.) 🙂

      Reply

  4. Juliana
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 02:47:16

    I even like finding other people’s bookmarks in library books. It makes me feel like part of a community of readers who’ve enjoyed the same books. Maybe I’ll start that as my act of kindness! 🙂

    Reply

  5. Paprika Furstenburg
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 05:08:41

    I LOVE the idea of the library post-it note kindness surprise!

    Reply

  6. Trackback: Getting back to basics with cooking can be fun | Best Vegan Recipies

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