Power of Kindness #5

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

Reading: Read the chapter called “Warmth”

Consider reading with some quiet music playing or with a candle lit. What can you do to “soften” your reading environment, to make it cozy for you?

Kind Action: Provide “A Warming Help” to Another

The expression “a warming help” comes from Ferrucci’s son when describing the support he received from a friend when he fell behind a group at the end of a long hike. His friend waited for him and offered him supportive encouragement, what the boy came to call “a warming help.” Ferrucci suggests that this kind of support may be the exact thing each of us needs in a specific moment in order to move forward.

So your job this week is to be looking for an opportunity to provide this kind of support for someone and then to provide it. And once having provided it, take special note of how you feel. Find if your specific experience matches what Ferrucci suggests, that a kindness of this sort is warming to both the receiver and the giver.

3 Comments

  1. Sometimes an opportunity to help comes “looking for you….” This evening about dusk, an obviously somewhat handicapped middle aged man sat in a camping chair at the bus stop in front of our house. I was wondering what was happening, and when I next looked out a bit later, he was walking across the street in the middle, not at the crosswalk, to meet a bus on the other side but he left his chair behind. He was asking for help as to when the 220 bus should come, apparently. He came back and sat again for a long while and eventually walked, in his odd gait across the street again, to get information from another bus. By this time he should have had two busses pass our stop, but they do not stop if there is no one there. The schedule he had in his hand was for the 519 bus that does not stop there.

    So finally after I had changed into my housecoat for the night, I tried to get my husband to go out and check on him and see if we could help. Tommy would not go approach the man who was a stranger, so I went out in my slippers and housecoat with the sidewalks wet from a recent rain…. I took with me three schedules, for busses that stop there so I might be able to help him.

    He explained he had left his wallet on the bus and needed to ask the driver if it had been found and turned in – it had all his ID’s and his money. I could not read the schedule well without my readers, so I went back into the house and wrote down the schedule. A bus was expected in about seven minutes I went back to him and explained what I learned. He told me I could go back inside. I told him I would wait with him… just in case he needed me or just to keep him company. Lo and behold in about five more minutes the bus arrived and we both waved vigorously to make sure it stopped.I was unmissable in my long blue fleece housecoat in the street light.

    The man whose name was Roger told the bus drive he had lost his waller and asked if someone turned it in. The bus driver smiled before Roger finished and immediately began to reach for something. He held it out to Roger, who had a hard time reaching across the big drainage, but the driver stretched his arm out to Roger and told him that the woman who has sat across from him saw it when she was leaving the bus. She gave it to the bus driver who would turn it in when his shift was over!!

    All’s well that ends well! The curiosity that catches the cat, gave me an opportunity to comfort someone, who was a neighbor of ours at the Adult Care House about four houses from ours!! I hope Roger will say “Hello” to me, if and when we meet again, but I know if I see him, I will give him a cherry “Hello, Roger!” And three people went home having given A Warming Help to someone that do not know. It is my hope that the girl who turned the wallet in rides the bus regularly and that the bus driver will give her the news that she helped someone too!

    1. Oh my gosh, Linda! How wonderful! I am so heart-touched by your assistance for this man. I love that you patiently heard his story, that you sat with him and waited for the bus, and that the bus driver had his lost wallet. Gosh. Hope in the world! 🙂

  2. Hi, here is my story about warmth:
    This week someone I know slightly wanted to meet for breakfast and “catch up.” I was initially reluctant because something about our earlier interactions had made me feel slightly ill-at-ease, but because she was so enthusiastic about meeting, I decided to agree to meet.

    When we met, to be kind and supportive to her, I asked her how things were going and so on, especially about a couple of projects she has expressed great pride in leading. She told me about them, and then asked me about how I was doing, etc. Well, afterward, I realized that every time I mentioned something I was excited about in my life, she seemed to need to “one-up” me: for instance, I mentioned that I am helping with some of the new grass-roots social justice efforts – then she had to remind me again about her advocacy for native tribes in this area, etc.

    Afterward, I felt kind of “sucked dry” (of supportive emotion). But thinking about our topic for this week, “warmth,” I thought I would share the story here. I believe I made her world a little warmer, and I’m sure that’s why she was so enthusiastic about meeting with me again. As a side note, I think this person must run into my reaction regularly (not wanting to interact with her) because she seemed so needy for supportive emotions. She said, “I have no one who realizes how awesome I am.”

    I’m still debating whether I would continue to interact with this person. In fact, at the same place we had breakfast this week, I had met with a different friend a couple of weeks ago, who also needed support, but the experience was much different. This second friend had offered encouragement to me as well as receiving my encouragement, so, I felt bolstered afterward, not depleted.

    I also wanted to mention that the “Transparent Kindness” lesson from Week 1 has been truly transformative for me. I have used this – explaining why I can’t do something, or raising questions about the way something affects me – a number of times since that lesson, and it has made me feel much more empowered. And authentic. I don’t have to mutter things behind their back or try to ignore my feelings.

    I have always had difficulty turning people down, or expressing why I was dissatisfied with an interaction. Using the lessons of transparent kindness, I have been able to convey my concerns or feelings in a kind way, and so far I have received nothing but a positive response from the other party(ies). In fact, I used it on a particular topic in the breakfast meeting this week (not the one-upping, but another troubling revelation she had made when we met before), and she did respond positively to my concern. Amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s