Power of Kindness #3

This is the third of 10 weekly reading assignments and kind action recommendations using the book “The Power of Kindness” as inspiration.

Reading: Read the chapter called “Sense of Belonging”

Read with a highlighter pen and mark your favorite passages. Pay attention to what stands out for you. Take notes about this with the book closed.

Kind Action: Enhance a Group By Being Kind to an Individual

This week’s kind action is for you to act on the connections we all have to other people.

First, do something kind for someone you know and with whom your connection is obvious, in some way your act enhancing a group to which you both belong. This could be for a family member, a co-worker, a fellow member of a book group, etc. To be clear, make sure your kind action is for an individual but in completing it your shared group is strengthened.

Next, and having the knowledge gained from your first experience, do something kind for someone you see regularly but don’t know well. As the first time, choose a kind action for this individual that also enhances a group to which the two of you belong. You might find you have to be a bit creative to complete this.

The first act is the warm-up. The second act is where the significant learning experience will likely come. Having completed both, reflect on your experience. What new insights have you gained? What was difficult? What was easy?

5 Comments

  1. Hello, I would like to share my experience with this week’s assignment. For the kind action to “someone I know,” I sent a card to my aunt to cheer her up on the one-year anniversary of my dad’s death this week. For the kind action to “someone I don’t know,” I did something to help a neighbor that was a little inconvenient, but that meant a lot to her. The first action strengthened family, the second strengthened the neighborhood community.

    About the reading, this week’s chapter helped me to understand more about the need to belong and especially about the idea of belonging to many different circles or communities, and the role of kindness in that sense of belonging. As an experiment, I made a list of my “belonging” communities; my list included family and neighbors, but also graduate school colleagues, followers of my blog and bloggers I follow, Seattleites, a couple of professional organizations I belong to. But also some informal communities, where I’ve reached out and met or talked to people in those communities periodically – the staff at my favorite coffee shop, the librarian at the public library, the owner of the dry cleaner where I take my quilts to be cleaned.

    It is interesting to think about “belonging circles.” I especially liked Ferrucci’s statement in the last part of this chapter: how large our belonging circle is is a question of how kind we want to be.

  2. Hi Theresa,
    I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying your posts – you remind me of myself many years ago when I began Andy’s classes. Eager, thoughtful, and determined to make a very positive change in your life. I love the concept of “belonging circles” which in our case get extended to the coffee shop attendants at our drive through coffee kiosk here in SLC. We have become very attached to these men and women who have memorized my “decaf soy Mount of Mocha (which has extra chocolate but no whip cream).

    I am grateful because my husband has Alzheimers but is still highly functional. He can be forgetful about the things that are mine, like my specialty coffee. But now he has added walking down the few long blocks to get the coffee because all the employees have my order memorized and he knows walking is good for his brain. It is not a long walk, but they all know him and talk to him as a friend which makes him really comfortable.

    We are pleased to be able to afford a fancy 16 oz cup of my coffee regularly while he gets in a relatively short work of 20 minutes without the stress of having to remember my preferences. He is a generous tipper and I have learned to tip well also. These young people know us by name and they are so pleased that we are not only friendly but that we share our wealth with them. They give us more than they know – kindness comes in many packages and in lots of groups.

    1. Linda!
      First of all, I need to apologize for not seeing your kind comment/observation earlier. It just occurred to me to check back on previous weeks and see if other comments have been added.

      Second, thank you for sharing your lovely story about your husband’s walk and the baristas at your local coffee place. It was wonderful to read. My thoughts and my heart go out to you regarding the living with Alzheimer’s situation. I have a similar family situation and it’s kind of a shadow on our relationship, so it is so helpful to me to hear how positive you are about yours.

      And, thank you for the compliment about my postings. Andy and I are neighbors, and we have known each other in a couple of different contexts for about fifteen years. I just joined this kindness class after another neighbor and I started a neighborhood “social justice efforts” group to help us heal and find a way forward in these confusing and challenging political and social times. I already try to be a kind person, but I loved the idea of practicing more kindness intentionally. These lessons have helped me to think about kindness and connection in new ways.

      So, in posting my thoughts and observations, I’m hoping to encourage others to share their experiences as well. Thank you for telling your story!

  3. Just loved a bumblebee today and welcomed her in a tiny split in our garden, for her a safe cave to breed. Life is beautiful!

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