Category Archives: Kindness

Journey Forward: Roadblocks

If life were an Olympic sport, I would be a hurdler.  For sure.  I might even be a good one.  But that did not come without practice.
In yesterdays post, I talked about my biggest ambition: getting my degree.  
It is so close I can almost feel the tassel brushing up against my cheek.  
It has not been an easy journey by any means.  Roadblocks, detours, dead ends, etc.  You name it, I faced it.  This process has really taught me a lot about resilience; it has really shown me how to apply myself despite unfavorable odds.  That’s the thing about hard times: they tend to build your fortitude if you’ll let them.
On my journey through living kindly, there are challenges I face on a daily basis.  
We live in a world where being critical is encouraged; a society where cynicism and sarcasm are built into our very language(s).  This is by far one of my biggest confusions while I try to put kindness and love at the forefront of my actions.  My intentions are true and pure and good, but translating that into constant kindness is way, Way, WAY easier said than done.  I find myself having a negative thought sometimes, and I really have to catch myself (if I can) before it flies out of my mouth.  I have to almost reprimand myself:
“Oh man… that’s not nice, I shouldn’t.  Woosah, Meg.  Woosah.”

I seriously do that.  
By far, my arch-rival on the kindness-mission is traffic.  This may sound really silly, again, but I become a different person behind the wheel of my car. 
My blood pressure rises up to the tippy-top of my ear lobes and
I can literally feel a panic attack waiting in the wings of my soul. 

I have a real problem with how inconsiderate, or neglectful,  or unaware, or RECKLESS other drivers are, and my anxiety levels shoot through the roof. 
When this happens, kindness flies out my passenger side window.

It is something I am working on, but it is also something I think I need help with.
A driver’s therapist?  A certain type of music?  A different route?
(Yeah right.  In Northern, Va. all routes are awful).
As I said before… challenges are a good thing.  They are healthy.  The teach you.  The build character.

But only if you let them.  

Linking up (a day late) with Chelsea from Life is a Sunset.  Check her out!!  

Kindly~

Meghan

[in photos]: Journey Forward

I joined the Journey Forward series for the first time last week.
It is a perfect pairing with the vibe of Smile at a Stranger.

The goal of participating in Journey Forward is personal enrichment, self awareness, and moving toward your potential.  It is based on a central word, or theme, on which you focus your energy and attention, and blog about it weekly.

My “word” was an easy choice for me because it is an attitude I wish to impart on life in general: Kindness.
This week’s Journey Forward post is about images, or graphics (i.e.- videos) that embody your chosen word; to share some of your pins from Pinterest that exemplify the significance of your word. 
This is what kindness looks (and sounds) like to me:

1- Sarah Kay– Spoken word artist.  “Hands” Listen- It’s just beautiful.
2- Kindness is an animal instinct.  And an animal NEED.
3- Kindness is priceless, ya know.
4- Video- Amy Krause Rosenthal’s “Thought Bubble”- asks “How Do YOU Want to be Remembered”  “What Have You Filled the World With?”
5- Because making others feel good makes ME feel good.
6- Simplicity.  Kindness is not complicated.
7- Anis Logjani– Spoken word artist.  “Shake the Dust” Another amazing person trying to lift people up with his wonderful gift with words.
8- This is what I see everyday at home with my two boys, and besides a mother’s love for her children, sibling love is one of the purest forms of love (and kindness) there is.
9- Do RIGHT.  Because it’s wayyyy cooler than doing wrong.
10- Parents.  And especially my mom.  From whom I learned what kindness was.
11- What Teachers Make- Taylor Mali.  Powerful stuff, y’all.  
Linking up with a fellow NoVA girl, Chelsea, for Journey Forward!  
Can’t wait until next week!
Ciao!  
Kindly~
Meghan

Kindness is: Flushing the Toilet

Warning:  This post contains the word “poop” in several instances, and could possibly bring about a nauseating sensation.  
Reader discretion is advised.
Ladies, ladies, ladies.
What is WRONG with some percentage of the female population?  Why must we behave so poorly in an already uncomfortable situation?  
I hate public restrooms as much as the next chick, and I hate the fact that I need them.  
Yes, in fact, we all need them.  No one can go all day, everyday without “the urge” overtaking the strength of their bladder (or sphincter– love that word).  
When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.  
Am I right, or am I right?
The problem I have is this:
Not everyone goes to the bathroom with the same amount of grace and dignity that I personally try to demonstrate, whether at home or in public.  
I mean, let’s just start with washing your hands when you’re done with your business.  Is this not considered important any longer?  Is it just acceptable and not-digusting-at-all to finish up and touch surfaces with your germy hands?
Moving on… I realize that some of us would rather be “the squatter” than use seat protectors- they are loud, and crinkly, and totally pointless anyway.  But… if you’re a squatter and mess up the seat beneath you, is it not in MY best interest that you clean up your nasty pee from the seat so that I don’t have to worry about accidentally sitting on it when it soaks through my previously mentioned pointless seat protector?  Toilet paper serves many, many purposes, ladies.  Let’s get creative… and sanitary?  please.
It gets to a whole other level of sofouligaggedjustthinkingaboutit when poop comes into play.  
First of all, I get it.  The bottom line here, folks, is that everybody poops.  (that’s right men- we poop just like you!!!).  But could we all just agree to be respectful of each other?  
Here are some things that I think would help in poopy situations:
The Courtesy Flush:  I am a HUGE fan of this one.  Not only do I believe in sparing my stall-neighbor, but I don’t wanna smell your doo either.  Just a quick, fair flush.
The Double/Triple/HoweverManyTimesItTakesToGoDown Flush:  Don’t just leave your doo in the toilet for me to stumble upon.  Take care of your own shit, literally.
The Once Over:  Let’s all just make sure that our poo, in its entirety, makes it INTO the toilet bowl.  Not onto the seat, not on the wall or floor.  We’re not animals here, are we?  ARE WE?
And lastly, please, no grunting.
Hilarious via one of my favorite websites
Okay… well that felt good to get off my chest.
I’m sorry for the sofouligaggedjustthinkingaboutit post, and I apologize if it offended anyone. 
But I was inspired in a not-so-good way earlier today
when I was the unsuspecting victim of another woman’s disgustingness.
Thoughts?  Reactions?  Have you ever felt this way?  TMI?
Have a GREAT rest of the day, and may the Poop Gods be in your favor.
Kindly~
Meghan

Notes from the Universe

“Thoughts become things… choose the good ones!”
Every weekday morning, I wake up to an affirmation in my inbox called “A Note From the Universe.”

These little nuggets of wisdom provide everything from an insightful statement, to a beautiful piece of praise, and they are such an amazing way for me to begin a brand new day.

In case I have misplaced it, they offer me a renewed sense a positivity on which I can base my overall attitude.

Some days, it’s as if The Universe is actually speaking directly to me, telling me exactly what I need to hear.
These notes, simply put, are a breath of fresh, valuable, HAPPY air.
 I think we could all use that, from time to time,
regardless of if you believe it’s The Universe herself speaking to you.
We can all benefit from hearing positive words on a regular basis.
Here are some of my favorite “Notes” that I have received over the last year:

“Laced throughout every day of your life, Meghan, are hidden highways of opportunity, invisible crossroads of time, and golden avenues for personal transformation that if only traveled upon would reveal the extraordinary, the sublime, and the unexpected.  Yet most slip by undetected until there’s first a childlike wonder at the ordinary, the routine, and the expected.  After all, it’s usually a dirt road that leads to a diamond mine.”

via

  “True life mastery, Meghan, is more a function of knowing what to want, than knowing how to get what you want.  Anyone can get stuff, but it takes an old soul to choose their stuff wisely.” 

via

“There is perhaps, no greater debilitating belief, Meghan, than thinking there are elements of your reality that you cannot control – be they fate, karma, the influence of other people, your stars, your palm, your loves, your looks, your personality, your intelligence, your sense of humor, or chocolate. You simply decide everything, moment to moment.”

“Most think that perception works a lot like a flashlight in the dark, illuminating whatever it’s aimed at. The truth, however, Meghan, is that instead of revealing what’s there, it creates it.  Focus is everything.”

“It’s true, Meghan, sometimes when you’ve had a difficult day, or met difficult people, been let down, disappointed, or heartbroken, it’s easy to completely forget the most important thing of all… you’re alive.  And you will be really happy again.”
via

  “Did you know, Meghan, that it’s perfectly OK, even highly ideal, to claim all is well amongst doubt and confusion? To be happy in spite of challenges? To laugh at problems? Dance without a partner? Sing without a rhyme? Talk to inanimate objects?  Go for it!”

“Meghan, don’t let appearances keep you from seeing the obvious: your nature is joy, you were built for success, and money, honey, grows on trees.”
via

 “What if every wrinkle, scar, or gray hair only made you more beautiful? What if every tear you’ve shed, mistake you’ve made, and challenge you’ve faced, only drew you closer to the light? And what if, Meghan, for every breath you’ve taken, every sentence you’ve spoken, and every path you’ve chosen, your fans in the unseen multiplied?  Well, I’d say it’s about time you found out.”

via

   “Guidance, attention, help, maybe. Love, always. Criticism, never. What to give others, Meghan.” 

And lastly… my favorite–

“Meghan, sometimes, in hindsight, it may seem that your prior kindnesses were for naught, and that in the end, they were too high a price to pay for the pains you’ve endured.  That is, of course, until you get a little further into the future, when the pendulum has been allowed its full swing, and all the seeds you’ve sown have begun blooming in more gardens than you ever knew existed.  Kindness ALWAYS returns.

via

 To check out Notes From the Universe, visit Tut’s Adventure Club and sign up to start receiving these beautiful messages. 

Kindly~

Meghan

Kony 2012

If by chance you haven’t yet seen the Kony 2012 video that is spreading like wild-fire online, it is just below.  Please take 30 minutes to watch and listen.  
This is so important!   
 

Not only will these efforts help to catch Joseph Kony, the #1 International War Criminal (learn more here), but this encourages global unity on the basis of PEACE, not war; LOVE, not hate; HARMONY, not division.  

This is such a pinnacle moment and such a poignant movement, but only if we as a collective people believe it is possible.
I believe!!
Do you?
You can read more about Kony 2012 and pledge your support here.

I know that most people have seen this by now, but if somehow my blog reaches someone who hasn’t, then posting this is worth the redundancy.  The point is to remember this guy; to not let his heinous crimes fall to the wayside of daily superficial life.  
Let’s not let that happen.  
Like Jason Russell (the director and voice of the video) said, if this were one of MY children, you better believe I would be exhausting my efforts to stop this man.  I would stop at absolutely NOTHING. 
And so, the time has come for humanity to unite and take a stand against injustice.  
A FOLLOW UP POST (for informational purposes)

Kindly and with faith~
Meghan

The Rubberband Project

Actually, it’s called “Rubber Kindness” but I thought I’d call it something else in my title.  This is totally, 100% NOT my original idea, but I LOVE IT!  
I found it on the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page, and instantly decided that this was a project for me to openly and happily tackle.  
I will be dropping, shooting, laying and handing these little nuggets out all over campus this week.  And wearing one for myself of course.  A little way to give myself an affirmation or two.
I hope at least one of these reaches someone who really needs to hear exactly what is written.  I hope it makes at least one person smile.  🙂
Kindly and with love~
Meghan

To: Someone, From: Someone

Randomly, Bren brought home a new bottle of perfume for me last night.  Sweet man.  
It ends up, though, that he didn’t actually buy it for me.  It was given as a gift from a regular customer where he works to his manager, and she for whatever reason did not want it.  He offered, then, to kindly take it off her hands and give it to me.  
From Dubai India, I think.  Someone check me on that.
 
It was unopened, untouched, unsprayed, unsmelled.  And it was just for me.  What started as a random act of kindness turned into a generous gift to me.  And the best part is that it actually smells good and I will be inserting it into my perfume rotation, starting today!
What is really weird about this is I had just bought a card and a chocolate bar as a small gift for someone… anyone… a total stranger.  I sat in my car for about 5 minutes writing an anonymous message of kindness in the car before heading home. 
The card said: “If I had 8 arms and could give you a hug with all of them without freaking you out, I totally would.  Hugs to you!”
I brought the card and chocolate to work with me today and I am just going to leave it somewhere on campus that is totally neutral and accidental.  Like in the elevator.  Or on a bench or a shelf.
As I said a few posts ago, I plan on using this blog to highlight some of the ways I express kindness to myself and those around me.  Mainly to hold myself accountable and keep myself thinking of creative ways to give back.
I am following a blog called 366 Random Acts of Kindness.  He has some really awesome ideas for spreading the love.  I know of a couple that I will definitely be trying.  Check him out!

Till next post!

Kindly-
Meghan

If you don’t have anything nice to say…..

“No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent.”  
~William Ellery Channing~

We are a social species, and we have a tendency to allow our self-images to be rooted in the opinions or (mis)conceptions of others.  

It is far too easy to become trapped by labels and “definitions” that others place on you.  

While it is nice to be aware of your affect on those you love, and it is important to be mindful of how you might make others feel, it is also important to try hard not to base your self-worth and dignity on external opinions.  


To be a good person, to  be honest and kind to yourself and others, and to make choices that will lead you with happiness; these are the measures by which I have learned to base my moral and personal pride.  

I have started to narrow down what makes me most happy: To be kind— all around KIND. 

While this may seem to contradict my above statements (on not defining yourself by others standards), it is (also) is a decision I made for myself.  Because being kind to other people is what makes ME feel good.  Also, it is something that my family, in particular my mother, taught me, and I find it to an invaluable characteristic to pass down from generation to generation.  

I have two sons who motivate me daily, and are a huge source of inspiration to be kind and treat people nicely.  I hope they learn from me what I have learned from me my Mom.


I hope to make this more of my focus on this platform, my blog.  I hope to chronicle the special ways in which I display random acts of kindness. 

This was inspired by quite a few people, but most recently, I have rediscovered a global campaign that I find to be absolutely beautiful.  It’s called Guerilla Goodness, and if you follow that link, you can read all about it.  I hope you take the time to do so, and I hope it finds a place into your heart as it has with mine over the last 3 years, and mainly within the last few weeks.


Kindly,
Meghan

Give

Opportunities to help frequently come in such ordinarypackages that it’s easy to let these precious moments slip through our capable fingers: 
How manytimes has someone tried to hand youa flier on your way into a grocery store? How do you respond?  Do you takeit and read it, or perhaps transfer it to the nearest trash bin?  Do you simply give an unreceptive “no thanks,”using your hand as a fleshy barrier between you and what you assume to be anunsolicited marketing ploy?  But what if itweren’t just a pushy attempt to get you to fill out another Sam’s Clubapplication form?  What if it were, forexample, a list of basic food items that families across your community urgentlyneed but cannot afford?  Would thatchange your knee-jerk reaction?
This past weekend,Northern Virginia community members had a chance to do something for a cause byparticipating inStuff the Bus– a Fairfax County initiative to collectdonations for the most vulnerable citizens in the area: those living in poverty.

Food for Others, a local nonprofit, maintains that while NorthernVirginia is regarded as one of the nation’s most prosperous areas, the regionhas a poverty rate of about 5%. While that number may sound inconsequential,this equates to 90,000 poverty-stricken people living in NorthernVirginia.  What’s more, an astonishing 30%of that number is made up of children.  This brings us to a tragic reality: Over 25,000 helpless kids are livingin socioeconomic distress in this exceptionally wealthy jurisdiction.  Still sound inconsequential? 
The Stuff the Bus event was held at a Giant Food Store inthe distant and incredible land of McLean, Virginia, where massive castles linegolden streets, where dogs the size of rats wear crowned jewels and velvet robes,and where 6-year-old children have iPhone’s surgically implanted into theirhands.  iPhone’s are just a modern day riteof passage.
The Giant parking lot was ironically tiny, and had troubleholding the hoards of luxury cars, all competing for a front-row spot.  The sky was misting, that barely-there rainthat will totally negate any hair product you attempted to use before leavingthe house, and the ladies had to be extra mindful not to have their perfect tressesmessed with.  Now are we clear whythese front row spots were in such high demand?
A gaggle of geeky tweens were manning the front doors withunimpressive authority, timidly trying to hand out pieces of neon pink paper.  The poor kids were so unsure of themselvesthat they couldn’t even stutter “hi ma’am” without either drooling all overthemselves or breaking out into nervous hives.  
The neon paper that was so readily being dismissed was aninventory of essential items that were needed to replenish the community’s foodpantries.  It was a roster full of simpleitems that are usually taken for granted. Things like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise: staples for hamburgerlovers, who will gratuitously and instinctively drench their quarter-pounders inas much sauce as they can.  But askcountless families across Northern Virginia, and these commonplace condimentsare considered a scarce indulgence.
The store was packed like a family station wagon, readyingfor retreat.  It was filled to the brim withpeople, yet no one was talking to each other! Most people shuffled from aisle to aisle without so much as a glance atanother human being.  Is the Zombie Apocalypse upon us already!?   
Most people didn’t have a CLUE what the pink papers were,and might not have cared anyway.  Like“long multicolored fur coat lady,” who was obviously aging and in denial, withdyed blonde hair that more closely resembled straw than locks.  She and her rigid husband were stifflypushing an over-flowing cart, full of frivolity: Ten pairs of shoelaces, themost expensive coffee in the store, and most importantly, refrigerated dogfood.  God forbid Fifi goeswithout her gourmet meals!
Giant provides 6 types of carts for shoppers to conveniently choose from:
*        There was a tiny green cart for 3-year-oldchildren whose parents allow them to do their own shopping.  Forget teaching them manners andkindness; just teach them how to grocery shop! 
*        There was a smaller cart made for an adult whoonly needs a few things.  The handheld baskets are too laborious. 
*        There was a basket on wheels that shoppers couldtow behind them.  Very wagon-like. 
*        There was a normal sized cart… complete with a cup holder, in which sat a Venti Starbucks drink forevery 2 out of 3 people. 
*        There was even a cool gadget (a portable scanner) at the front door thatallowed you to completely control your shopping experience by price-checkingall of the items.  Price tags don’t exist anymore?
Do I need to continue?  

It was painfully clear that the masses, on the whole, were completely consumed inself-indulgent, self-fulfilling behaviors, and they seemed to be completely outof touch with one another. 

Ironic, don’t ya think, given the context of thecircumstance.  All of this glamor, allof this glitz, all of this MONEY, yet outside stood a group of young volunteers, some ofwhom might struggle with poverty, but who had little way of reaching the peoplewho have the means to support their noble cause, and sadly have absolutely nowillingness to acknowledge it.  Ignorance is bliss.
On a brighter note, there was about a third of the shoppers had that pink paper in theirhands, and were intently focused onfulfilling the rations spelled out for them. These special few were the only people smiling and making eye contactwith one another.  They, collectively, werea compassionate and considerate breath of fresh air.
  
Best part of the event: Overhearing a mother asked her [about] 4-year-old son,“Do you know why we are here?”  
To whichhe replied, “To help people and do the right thing.” 
And THAT is where change starts.
Sometimes a man imagines that he will lose himself if he gives himself, and keep himself if he hides himself.  But the contrary takes place with terrible exactitude.”  –Ernest Hello 
Kindly,
Meghan