kindness class blackboard

My guerrilla kindness class that I teach at a local high school has been just okay lately. Not bad but not really good either. I’m just not sure if I am really connecting yet, which is very unusual for this empath- and slightly torturing. It’s been a source of discussion in my house off and on, everyone offering their suggestions and opinions. Today was no exception.

“Mom!” my six year old shouted from the other room. “How are you feeling about your kindness class today?!”

“Ummmm, I’m a little nervous.” I replied, shouting while I changed my outfit for the third time.

“You’ll be GREAT! Break a leg!” Lyra shouted back.

I’m not sure this is a Broadway show advice sort of moment but she has been watching a LOT of Annie lately….AND either way, the sun will come out tomorrow.

“Mom, what are you worried about?” Lucy (age 9) responded as she sensed a deeper inquiry may be needed.

“I dunno, I am just not sure we are connecting yet, you know? I’m a little rusty.” I said.

“Hmmmm, let’s talk this through. What do teenagers like? What. Do. Teenagers. Like. Hmmmm, they love technology! That’s it, I’ve got it, why don’t you have them all text EACH OTHER (said with an A-Ha! voice) a kind word?” Lucy offered.

The effort, care and kindness of this moment is enough to make anyone’s day, whether the class sucks or not. I have no idea why they are so invested exactly, but I’ll take it as there have been many a moment in the last week where self absorption was off the charts…for all of us truly, some were just more honest and vocal than others.

It seems every time I fear there will never be any balance in our family on this point, they surprise me…and I find I still have a long way to go myself.

They sent me on my way with one more wish and two little girl smiles… “I hope it goes good Mom!”

*

I stopped on the way to pick up a treat. I bring one every week, it is one part let’s-start-with-kindness and one part I-think-all-teenagers-love-sweets sort of offering. I grabbed a package of Oreos and gallon of milk.

I walked up the stairs with my gallon of milk  and my most hopeful hello voice.

“Is that MILK you are carrying?” a girl asked, who is not in my class.

“Yup and I have Oreos in my bag. Double Stuff.” I replied proudly.

“Are you serious?!!” another girl said. “For Kindness class?!”

I nodded my head.

“OMG Patience….you seriously are the best.” I quietly thanked my lucky stars for this stumbled upon goodness. Who KNEW Oreos and milk were the way to their hearts?! We quickly moved into conversations about celebrity crushes and Halloween costumes.

Later, in our discussion and quest to nail down kindness projects that we could possibly do, I asked what felt the most human. What one thing do we all care about and can share? They were a little baffled, it was a big question to tackle.

“Apparently it is Oreos and milk today…” I said. They all half smiled and totally agreed. “We can do that, we can give Oreos and milk to the entire school.” I said.

Their faces lit up….because this is where kindness begins some days… With a break-a-leg, and teenage junk food.

Summer Stories
7.2.14
7:30 pm
A backyard show
Info here: on.fb.me/1pJ4gkJ

It’s summer guys and time to bring the LOHK community together! Join us for a night of stories featuring Kristin Pedemonti and local storytellers Jennifer Lemons , Katie Holcomb , Susan Howson, Josh Epperson, Doug Orleski and more…we’ll have beer, s’mores and some LOHK magic all in the backyard.

It’s a free show (a kind soul gave us beer people!) and night, but bring your dollars because we’ll be passin’ the hat so we can send Kristin off with lots of love and kindness! (in true LOHK fashion)

AND you can pick up your LOHK t-shirts from the pre-order sale! Hope you can join us!

With kindness,
The Light of Human Kindness team
thelightofhumankindness.com
#lohk
music by “Self-Portrait” by Jahzzar

sharing bravery…

April 3, 2014

photo (18)

Because I don’t want to forget his words when he is old, old like a man, because he might forget in a moment of doubt, and I know I will- probably in 2 more seconds, my faith is shakier than his. It seems this conversation might be the kind we are building our lives on without even knowing it exactly. We are slowly figuring out we don’t have to do it alone, we were never meant to. It’s the kind of knowledge you need to be whole and together…and to do something really great (or maybe just survive), for and with each other.

The story:

Jack overheard me on the phone lamenting to my sister about a film project I am working on. The weight of everything I don’t know is swirling, the feelings of just how ludicrous it is to even take it on are BIG, the revelation of how much growth is required… and wanting it so bad and knowing it is meant for me, all at the same time. I hung up the phone unaware he was listening.

Jack: Mom, you are gonna do that big film.

Me: I dunno, it just feels so much bigger than me some times,

I just have to keep being brave, you know?

 

Jack: Do that for me mom…

You do it for me

and I’ll do it for you

you keep doing it for me

and I’ll do it for you…

 

Me: Yeah, I can do that.

 

Jack: Yeah, me too.

 

Me: Like for our whole lives, huh?

 

Jack: Yup, that sounds good.

It never occurred to me that we could share bravery until he suggested it.   I don’t know why but Jack’s request and belief in me instantly makes me feel more brave and hopeful.  Maybe it’s because he’s 11 or that I feel 11 again, but the idea that we could be brave for each other, taking turns, giving what we have and taking what we need feels profound.

All along bravery seemed like this point to buck up, dig deep, show up- still requiring me to drum something up on my own and that feels so out of reach at times. It seems to me that holding that ground and space for each other is the only chance for us to sustain any work we believe in with all of our hearts.

So…look for a film (way later) and a Bravery Exchange BE (sooner) dreamed up with some new and dear sharing partners.

 

Feel free to tell us in the comments today what you need some bravery for and also feel free to share some of your own bravery if you feel called to a story. Even a simple, “I will do that for you ________.” works just fine.

 

liam extra

The conversations about vulnerability and courage have been on the rise the last few years. Every where you turn, there is a new book, a TED talk, and e-courses giving us permission to drop our various veils and masks.

We have been getting brave, finding our voices and starting to talk about the things we think but have been afraid to say.

Folks are sharing stories, pushing past those giant lumps in our throats to a new kind of freedom. …and the craziest part is how hungry everyone is for more.

We are looking at each other, right in the eyes, and letting out a huge sigh and saying, “Me too.”   Just so happy to be seen, to know we are not alone.

While the “Me too” seems like the big event, I am starting to realize, it is actually the opening act, a very important one…but the show coming? The show is amazing, for it is the place where humanity finds their way together. It is where we trade in “me” for “we”.

Because if  we stay too long in the “me too” place we begin to enable each other and lose the hope that drew us to each other in the first place. We start to believe that is all there is, security blankets and no footing for true community and the change we long for. It’s more than “me too”, if our vulnerability does not lead us to togetherness & serving each other, then we’ve missed the whole point.

It isn’t about doing more, being more or improving, it’s quite the opposite actually. It is in our deepest, most human moments that the expression of our true connection can start to unfold.

The service and care isn’t because we are good people, but rather a place of knowing…

because you know what it feels like to be up at 2am with a crying baby,

because you know what it was like to have your lover walk out the door,

because you know the joy of the day that baby was christened and all of her people that loved her and you into being stood around  that room,

because you know how cold the tile is on the bathroom floor at 3am after one too many drinks,

because you know exactly where you were when you got the phone call that he died,

because you know how many hours you spent glued to the television feeling helpless that someone’s home and life just blew away,

because you know what it’s like to wish we didn’t have to play the game of pleasantries while we move our power around or someone steps on ours,

because you know what it meant to you when your girlfriend showed up with a People magazine and Ben and Jerry’s,

because you know what it means to be the family fuck up,

because you know how much you long to be truly content and wish the words “it’s fine” never came out of your mouth ever again,

because you know that buying a cup of coffee for someone else gives you a joy and fulfillment you can’t quite explain,

because you know that every step on the sidewalk towards work feels like you lose a little more of your soul,

because you know that you will forever believe in the underdog,

because you know how worried you felt when you had to tell the kids you were separating,

because you know how you lie in bed at night wishing you hadn’t yelled so much, wishing you didn’t feel so annoyed half the time,

because you know everything and nothing at the same time,

because you know how hopeful it feels to be part of something, anything that is bigger than yourself.

This knowing is the solid ground on which we stand. The next step is the look of empathy we give to the mother in the store with 3 little children, it is closing the bar with your buddy after his girlfriend broke up with him, it is the $5 we slip the homeless dude because at one point you only had $2.35 in your checking account 3 days before payday.  It is the small moments, the subtle exchanges, it is in the compassion offered that every human needs and deserves.

Because of this, the world is not waiting for you to have more money, more time, more resources. It is not asking you to be ready or for you to like your mother-in-law.

It is asking you to be yourself the whole way, and let someone else be themselves just the same…and then offer whatever it is you have in that moment and letting the other person do the same for you, no matter how small, with the heart of knowing, with the heart of a grace you wish yourself, taking the first step outside of “me too” and ourselves towards each other.

Every step outside of ourselves and towards each other reveals more mess, more togetherness, more power, more trials, more beauty, more hope.

…and the world we are all secretly dreaming of, a step beyond “me too”, a world in which we are finally together…the whole way.

hoop dreams

Welcome to Stories of HumanKIND- short stories of humanity held together by hope.

Hoop Dreams

(part 2- it’s really short, I just goofed and hit done on accident!)

*fyi- jack gave permission for me to share this story with us today.

rva coffee love porch

It’ s almost Valentine’s Day guys! There are no neutral feelings about this day, people either love or hate it THE WHOLE WAY. I think this is because the day serves as some measure or barometer of how we love or are loved. Chances are, romantic or not, we could all use a little more. We long to be included in a party of love, one we are ALL invited to.

In the world of love expression, small acts are magic to me. I don’t feel too sheepish to receive them and they still hold a genuine weight in my heart. When done by a stranger, I am sure the whole world is conspiring to be connected- this brings me ridiculous joy and hope.

On Monday, I met with some lovely folks in RVA looking to do something BIG and KIND, then after lots of dreaming and talking, we came to a starting point of small and wide- which I love so, so much. I believe almost everything beautiful starts small and usually with just one person (which turns into a billion).

SO, I give you #RVACOFFEELOVE (a party of kindness, one we are all invited to):

On Friday- Valentine’s Day- the Richmond community is encouraging everyone to share love by buying a stranger a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop.

Check out RVA Coffee Love for more info. Be sure to tag your pics with #rvacoffeelove too!

If you want to participate but are super broke ( been there and still visit often!), we will have a few kindness kits at the LOHK wall complete with coffee gift cards and certificates (look for small boxes in ziplocs behind the window grates).

Inside each box there will be a gift card with enough $ for one cup of coffee for you and one to share, a small tip for the barista, stickers and a bit of chocolate because ALL kindness missions are better with chocolate!

coffee kits

Look for kits starting late this afternoon (2/13)- hopefully some with still be left by morning! I will post pics on my Instagram when they are up.

I hope you feel so loved tomorrow, and if you don’t, I hope creating some will bring you joy and hope.

This is RVA, we have kindness here. *

rva coffee love ryn

logo designed by the amazing Ryn Bruce – check out her VERY rad social experiment here.

*If you are not in RVA, you can still play! Do the mission and hashtag all pics #coffeelove or post them on the LOHK Facebook page.

11999274905_0680042abe_b

Okay good friends, I had a mission, then didn’t have a mission and it became super crystal clear that this mission, in honor of Marie Monville should happen when we are together tomorrow at WomanKind .

See you all there!

 

 

 

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