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!

 

 

 

best of rally-106

It’s the nature of things to be vulnerable, the disorder is imagining that we are not. -Nora Gallagher

There are people in the world that when they speak, you lean in, just a little further. I have found over the years they tend to be a little quieter by nature, good listeners and very wise. Nora Gallagher’s writing feels like this to me, there is a weight of knowing, a wisdom from hearing and a depth from serving…all wrapped in a vulnerable honesty that sits true in your bones.

You can see it all here:

She knows the in-between, the mystery of a future unknown and the struggle of finding your way through the unexpected. She lives the beautiful balance of the tenderness of vulnerability and the power of resilience. It made such perfect sense to me to honor her gifts and work through serving fellow women who are trying to navigate their own moments of transition just the same.

Here’s the mission:

WomanKind shared  an opportunity to support Hilliard House—a local nonprofit that provides transitional housing to homeless mothers and their children. Upon moving in to Hilliard House, each family gets a private bedroom and bathroom.  The room is supplied with basic necessities like sheets and towels that the family keeps when they move on to permanent housing.  Don’t you love pretty towels and sheets, doesn’t it make such a difference when you crawl into a beautiful bed at night?!

WomanKind has set a goal of supplying 15 rooms at Hilliard House with basic necessities.

1. We get to shop. I know. Head on over to this Target Registry or go to the store.

If you go to the store: Visit the registry kiosk, click on “Target Lists” and search for the organization name “Womankind.”  Print your list, shop, and be sure to show your checkout attendant your list so he/she can mark off your purchases on the master list.

If you shop online:  when checking out you can choose to have the item(s) shipped to you and bring it to St. James’s, or you can select ‘Ship to Cristi’ to have the item sent directly to Cristi Head, the volunteer coordinator for this WomanKind kindness mission.

In addition to Target registry items, donations of blankets in like-new condition are also welcome. Donations will be accepted in the St. James Narthex on Friday and Saturday (8/9th).

2. Make a Valentine or card. A simple note of love and encouragement will join these sheets/towels/blankets of sisterhood kindness. If you are not attending WomanKind and want your note of love shared, you can leave it in the comments or send it to me at patience@kindnessgirl.com. There will also be a table at WomenKind to make a card or write a note.

There is something about sharing with each other really tangible human needs, a warm bed, a towel to dry your body, a kind word. So glad we get offer this to each other in honor of Nora and the truth that kindness changes everything. 

 

 

monkee post its

I took a pregnancy test at a Harris Teeter grocery store once. It was one of those moments where my namesake was of no help at all. There was NO patience, not even a little bit, I had to know.

I remember looking at the two pink lines in shock but somehow I shoved the truth telling stick in my bag, washed my hands and finished my grocery shopping, of course. While standing in front of the 1,000 choices of yogurt, I glanced over at an older woman standing next to me. It instantly felt so very surreal- I was holding this information that would drastically change my life, information so big, and she was standing next to me with absolutely no idea what just happened- we were just both deciding whether to pick cherry orchard or key lime pie yoplait.

Part of me wanted to blurt out- “I’m pregnant!! THIS IS SO WEIRD and I’m kinda terrified and excited, and CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?!!”…but that seemed super creepy, but now I wish I had. Because then there was another time when a dear friend was dying, way before her time, a girl with more life and fire in her than anyone I had ever met- and this time I found myself in front of that same row of yogurt, now with a baby on my hip, wanting to burst into tears. It felt surreal in a different way, the whole world was going on, buying yogurt and bagels, and she was still fighting…and losing…and that felt so wrong. In that moment, it was all too much for any of us to hold alone.

So we walk through life, standing right next to each other with no idea and yet with all the humanity required.

In a bit of divinity and magic, we sometimes find the words and crawl towards each other, or we hear of gatherings in the bread aisle where people find each other in the most ordinary of places and exchange offerings of bravery and kindness- Momastery is such a place.

This Saturday, I will be speaking at WomanKind, a wonderful conference created by women who yearned for creating a community and lasting togetherness. In the spirit of this goodness, we are inviting our fellow sisters to join us in 3 kindness missions this week- one mission each to honor the work of 3 main speakers and the communities they serve.

Today we have a mission in honor of Glennon Melton and the Monkees who are finding each other, again and again with so much hope and love.

So here goes:

There is a woman waiting for her latte who is getting a call about her chemo results later this afternoon…

There is a kid who just stepped off the bus that changed her clothes 10 times this morning because she is wondering if she will ever feel beautiful…

There is a mom who is reading every weather report know to man and panicking because she is just not sure she can handle another snow day…

There is a woman that is cleaning someone else’s toilets and feels completely defeated when she looks at the state of her own house, there is just no time in 3 jobs world…

There is a woman walking into the business meeting of her life, the kind where she has to gather her deep bravery to stand in all her power…

There is a woman who has to tell her children that their dad just died of a drug overdose, he had been sober for 23 years before last year, bless his very tender heart…

and all these women will be walking to a bus stop, or waiting at a Starbucks, or opening a locker, or pushing the elevator button or stopping by the grocery store.

Here’s your mission:

1.Find a post-it and write down  a note of hope or encouragement*, maybe even something you need to hear yourself and leave it in a public place for someone to find.

Because the truth is, even if we never speak to each other, or we have no idea…we can be together. It just doesn’t work any other way.

2. Take a picture of you, or your note or where you left it and post it to the  WomanKind Facebook page  . Be sure to tag it #WomanKINDness on Instagram , Facebook or Twitter.

3. ALSO, if YOU need a message today, let me know at Patience@kindnessgirl.com  and we’ll send you a post-it pic of hope privately or on the LOHK page.

Hope to see your kind faces on Friday night or Saturday, if you still need tickets, you can get them here .

With kindness,

p

*p.s. simple messages work just fine- you are loved, you matter, we are with you, you survived, you are beautiful…just the right person will find it.

what your heart needs…

January 5, 2014

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Your heart needs a hug too… by Lucy, age 8

I don’t always know what my heart needs, in those moments I find my mind wanders in circles only stopping to turn the old rocks of my soul over or to imagine (i.e. obsess over) some sort of despair and forever lack of clarity. This may or may not happen every third week. I find this is possibly the dark side of FEELING ALL THE FEELINGS ALL THE TIME.

Then in an unexpected moment, someone wise says something so simple…and obvious. …like your heart needs a hug too.

Oh yeah, that.

Could it be so uncomplicated? It seems the most foundational truths usually are. This is why it’s good to keep babies and old wise ladies around. Newness reminds us how we all just need to be close to the source of safety and love, and the aged show how to loosen our grip, that everything changes (both good and bad) and we will find our way. There is no need for worry and fear, the energy need not leave our hearts and is best served other ways.

The fortitude grows, leaving only enough space for that which you truly need.

It’s too much for me to think of a whole year or life change. So today I start small, and new…the most simple need, the most simple thought…let it be, let it grow.

If you like, you can tell us your most simple need or truth in the comments. Is it a shower? Is it that you need someone to squeeze your shoulder or hand? Is it a walk or fresh air? Is it a one more blanket? Is it that you actually are very, very tired from the holiday? Is it that you need a stranger to send some hope or make you laugh? Is it that you are scared and strong at the same time? tell us loves…we are here.

his gentle wisdom…

January 4, 2014

jackie boy love

jack, age 11

His entrance to the world was not an easy one…it was my hardest birth, giving birth to a deep bond between us- only the other knowing just how deeply we loved and worked.

He walks through life much the same, a quiet persistence and wisdom. Both with a very matter-of-fact delivery but somehow with  ancient roots.

He asks me how I am with sincerity every single day and thanks me for every meal.

He watches too closely over his sisters and is frustrated by the lack of respect he receives from them for this careful eye.

He is forever loyal to his brother, like a twin who is bound beyond even blood.

His charm is unconnected, he is unknowing of the power it possesses.

He works towards his dreams methodically, catching them, holding tight.

His mind forever curious, his heart tender and kind.

Some days, to me as his mother, he doesn’t seem of this world- I have no idea where he came from…almost an enigma to me.

Without trying to understand why or how, I land in a place of deep gratitude that we are in a family together.

…that I am his mother.

 

Happy Birthday Jackie-boy! We love you so…

 

green harvest festival

Sometimes when it looks like nothing is happening, everything is happening…

let the quiet intuition take root.

be soft…

November 29, 2013

narnia wardrobe leo

 

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place. -Kurt Vonnegut

 

sunrise-2

I’ve written no less than 10 posts…and hit delete or save draft every time.

There is so much I want to say, and yet I have no idea where to start. I wish I had written all along, but alas, I did not.

So instead of trying to catch up, let’s start right here.

I’ve been battling a stomach bug for the last 36 hours, yuck. …but the good part is I am resting, watching mindless television (hello Scandal!!) and it gives me time to make a small offering to you (and myself) today.

I am working on a small project with my dear friend Jen , trying to think of ways to reach a hand out to each other in the dark, or even just a “I am here. You are not alone.”

So if you are plagued with a stomach bug, or too many bills, or family shit, or general sadness, or had a fight with your partner, or have a hard work sitch, or are an exhausted mother, or have no idea what to do with your life, or on the verge of something big or hard, or nothing is wrong in particular but nothing is right either…we have an audio message for you, from one of us, or from a kid.

Text NEED SOME LIGHT to us at: (804) 426-2357

Tell us in a sentence or so what’s going on…and we’ll text you back some love…and kindness…because kindness changes everything…and we can be together in the dark.

(audio messages are available until 12am (EST) on October 8th- but don’t worry, we are going to do this again and soon!! )

hams hand cover invite2

My dear friends… whew, so much has happened to get us here. More than I ever could have imagined…in so many ways I don’t even feel like the same person after doing this project.

I have been humbled on like a bagillion levels, discovered the beginning of perseverance, and been cracked open by the dark. …and now it’s time for the light.

Tonight we will light the kindness lights,there will only be a few lit- it’s our job to get the whole wall shining. You may want to find your light that night, the one you will light with your act of kindness.

AND then we will be able to interact with the togetherness part of the wall. (thanks to the brilliant crew at the Martin Agency) Put one hand on one of the touch points on either end column at the wall, then join hands with a friend or stranger to reach another touch point in between. Watch the wall light up, changing colors and patterns in a display of human connection. The more people you connect to, the longer the chain, the bigger light show will be.

I can’t wait for you to see and be part of it…it will only happen if we do it together. It doesn’t work any other way.

Thank you to so many that have loved me through all this…and been my light in the dark more times than I can count.

Much love to you all,
p

http://www.thelightofhumankindness.com

stories of humanKIND…

August 12, 2013

binford stories

 

Stories of HumanKIND is a community art event on 8/17/13.
Join us as we kick-off The Light of Human Kindness mural installation by hand writing and painting the stories collected at www.thelightofhumankindness.com on to the kindness wall at the old GRTC Depot as part of the RVA Street Art Festival.
Hamilton Glass will start painting the mural over parts of the stories on 8/19/13.

Feel free to come and go through out the day. We will be there with paint and markers covering the 80ft. wall with stories of dark and hope.

If you have ever wanted to be part of a mural installation, here is your chance!

For more info: www.thelightofhumankindness.com
To share your story: http://thelightofhumankindness.tumblr.com/

Kids can chalk on places on the wall while the adults/teens paint and write. All supplies will be provided.
Rain date: 8/18/2013

LOHK story quote4

 

The stories are rolling in…and they are more beautiful, dark and hopeful than I ever imagined.

You can read them here: http://thelightofhumankindness.tumblr.com/

The Light of Human Kindness is a cutting edge light + mural project installed on an eighty-foot wall in the city of Richmond, Virginia.

The stories shared at The Light of Human Kindness go on the wall and inspire others to commit to intentional acts of kindness around the world.

Do you have a story to share?

Tell a story about needing hope or light during a dark time and what kept you going. Share a memory of someone important to you who gave you something to hold on to at just the right moment. Share your story here.

I have about 57,000 stories to tell you about this project, but for now I’ll just say this…it’s here, *big sigh of relief*, and I can’t wait to do this together because…

everyone has a dark story

everyone holds a light

everyone needs kindness

 

the light is coming…

 

you can follow our project on:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

 

photo (24)

Hey friends! I am working on an e-mail to privately share my latest kindness project with the hopes of gathering some much needed soul support (oh man!) AND grass roots magic before it gets released to the world.

When looking over my Guerrilla Goodness mailing list, I realized I am missing some of my nearest and dearest ones…SO if this calls to you at all or you have done a project with me before or you would like to be included, can you e-mail me at patience@kindnessgirl.com with “secret GIANT kindness project” in the subject line?! 

love wins door

We put a red heart on our door to celebrate the SCOTUS decision with our beloved friends!!! Want to join us?!!

Hash tag all door heart pics with #lovewins on Instagram/Twitter

or

share your photo on the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page!!!

dog doors, office doors, business doors, garden gates…any door will do.

love wins.

home to love…

June 14, 2013

my loves

 

…heading home to my loves after:

experiencing the gentle giants that are the redwoods, they were massive, so tall and had old souls,  yet fragile and so delicate to the touch

finding the courage, dare, and rush of crossing a snowy ridge while on a hike to a spectacular view of Crater Lake

being not quite the same after witnessing such beauty

crash and burning with someone I love

being cracked open in a way I never have before and unable to recover (imagine your inner 6 year old crying, crying, crying)

crying in at least 11 public places (including a white water rafting trip)

falling pretty much to the bottom after carrying too much for too long

releasing (in tears) what I have carried for myself and others for years

having a collective group of people help me

receiving more than I ever have before

finding such gentle truth and clarity at the bottom

still feeling so vulnerable and raw, but more hopeful by the second

having a strange calm and peace resting over me…

now heading home to love…a very messy, tender, and dear…

love.

(comments are closed but  you can reach me at patience@kindnessgirl.com if something is on your heart!)

into the dark cover big

art 180 broad appetit

Art 180 ‘s The Wheel of Kindness will be at Broad Appetit today starting at 11am…I will be there with the teens for a bit! Come spin the wheel and eat some yummy food with us!

You can read the story about the wheel was created here.

*also, for all those looking to make your own kind wheel, ART 180 is working on a short how-to page, soon to come.

mother journals

I have a new mission for us to do together… below is a video explaining…and I hit publish before I chickened out or went to try to put myself together and re-record.

The MOTHER of all Journals Mission:

1. Leave a comment for me today to share in the journal before we send it out into the world- tell me something you wish someone had told you, your fears, your best (and worst) parenting moments or stories, something funny or shocking, anything you wish you could say but don’t always feel like you can, a note of kindness for another…anything really! The comment can be anonymous or you can send them to me at patience@kindnessgirl.com.

2. I’ll write them in the journal and then leave the journal in a public place where I think a mother might find it.

3. When the journal is full, on the last page we will leave the journal’s fate entirely in the last person to find it. They can decide whether they send it back to me to have the collection shared as an art exhibit or online, or they can keep it, OR they can bury or burn it!

4. If you want to start a community journal in your city, here is what we are are writing on the inside and back page to help explain this project:

Inside: The MOTHER of all Journals found you! (yep, you) This is guerrilla kindness project is a collection of advice, confessions, joys, failures, encouragement and kindness from mothers all around our fine city. You can add to it, just read it, curse or bless it, cry in it, yell at it, kiss it, put it next to you like a friend, it’s totally up to you- you know just what to do (and so does it)…the only thing we ask is that when you are done, you leave it in a dry place for the next mother, sister, friend to find. If you aren’t a mother, that’s cool too… you can leave a message to a mom, or tell us how you wish you were one, or share what you think!

Last page: YOU ARE THE LAST PERSON TO FIND THIS JOURNAL…oh my lord, this is so exciting. You get to decide what happens next. Please do one of the following:

1. E-mail patience@kindnessgirl.com to find out an address to mail this journal back to. We will then share all the content online and in an art exhibit- anonymously of course!

2. Keep it for yourself or give it to someone you love as a treasure find!

3. Bury it, burn it…destroy it in a grand and beautiful way!

Whatever you choose, it will be awesome…and let us know at patience@kindnessgirl.com. We love you last finder! Kindness Changes Everything!

mother journals-2

Jokes, secrets and poem journals are next…if you want to hide one, hit my e-mail up…OR if you start a journal in another city, let me know too so we can tell our friends in that area to be on the lookout!

*update*- LOTS of goodness is coming into my e-mail box for The Mother of all Journals …lookin’ for a few funny and light lines or stories if you got ‘em! patience@Kindnessgirl.com

wheel of kindness

photo by Marc Cheatham

When Betsy from ART180 asked my good friend Marc Cheatham (of the famous RVA blog The Cheats Movement) and I to facilitate a program at Atlas, their new art center for teens, I was super stoked. Oh, how I love ART180, so much. I love their intention and process, their values, how they do things and hold a certain kind of space in the world.

To be honest, I was also a little worried about the whole thing. I had no idea if we had enough ideas/material to teach a 6 week class on Guerrilla Kindness…or rather what the approach should be so that it would be meaningful to teens. I knew teens hold all the power and goodness to access their call to kindness but I didn’t really know what the path would look like or how I could help exactly.

wheel of kindness-4

…but the best part of art, kindness and facilitation  (not so much teaching really) is the teens really led the way. After a few weeks of connecting, talking, a few missions (remind me to tell you how they kindness bombed a city block) and a brainstorming session, the teens came up with THE MOST BRILLIANT KINDNESS PROJECT. 

I was out of my mind listening to them and watching the project evolve. I loved how bold and creative they were, how they each stepped into kindness in their own way.

I give you The Wheel of Kindness my friends:

wheel of kindness

Nic Cossitt, a good friend to ART 180 built the giant wheel of kindness with the help of the kids’ design and idea, then we all got to paint it together.

So here’s how it works:

1. A player spins the wheel and lands on a particular color.

2. They are given the same corresponding color balloon.

3. The person then pops the balloon (this part was SO much more exciting than I thought it was going to be).

4. Inside the balloon was their very own kindness mission rolled up on a scroll to be completed that day.

5. We included the hash tag #art180kindness on the little mission scroll so they could share their pictures of the kindness on twitter and instagram.

wheel of kindness-3wheel of kindness-2

It was so, so thrilling!!! We set up the wheel in front of ART180 on RVA’s First Fridays Art Walk and in conjunction with the

Love: Through the Eyes of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Exhibition 

at Atlas.

wheel of kindness3

photo by Marc Cheatham

The kids invited folks walking by to play, I was amazed how many different kinds of people joined us…and I wish we had more pictures of their faces. It may be almost impossible to walk by a giant rainbow wheel and not want to spin it. You find yourself yelling things like “Come on!!! Big kindness, big kindness, no whammies!” and cheering for someone, anyone to land on the double dog dare GOLD triangle of kindness.

It’s kind of wonderful when we let kindness lead even if we have no idea where it will go or how we will get there…when we invite joy, wonder and simply listen to each other…and when it all starts in friendship and connection. I think this is the magic of ART180- making space for all of that.

Early in the class, Marc asked the teens if there had ever been a time someone was kind to them, their faces went blank. I then asked them if anyone at ART180 had been kind to them, they all spoke at at once and on top of each other. My favorite answer was from a young man that really had not said one word all day… “They respect me here.”

wheel of kindness2

photo by Marc Cheatham

If you are in RVA, you can still see the Wheel of Kindness at The Big Show on May 15th at 6pm at Planet Zero (0 E. 4th Street) along with art from kids across the city.

Hope to see you there or hopefully on some street corner in the future spinnin’ the wheel!

a light for jen…

May 1, 2013

angel jen

 

A guest post from our dear friend Nicki Peasley:

 

A couple months ago, I posted a story about my friend Jen and her hero’s journey through one kidney transplant… and the looming imminence of another.

I am sad to report that Jen’s health issues have become more complex and urgent.  The doctors have discovered a growth on her pancreas that needs to be removed before a kidney transplant can be considered.  And with her kidney failing at a more rapid rate than anticipated, Jen and her family are struggling to remain hopeful in the face of fear and the unknown.

That’s where we come in.

Today is May Day, a day when the veils between the worlds are thin and anything is possible.   A day when all the forces of the Universe are working together to bring Light to our world.  A day that invites us to connect heart to heart and experience deep compassion, sacred unity, divine oneness.

And so tonight, I invite you to a light a candle at 7:30 pm.  To hold the Cave family in your heart.  To pray (in whatever way you pray) for Jen’s healing and her family’s peace.  And in the sanctuary of your heart, to know that you are not alone, but united in a Love effort with the power to create miracles.

See you tonight, in the Light.

For more information about Jen’s journey, go to her facebook page… Sunshine for Jennifer Morris Cave.

 

From Patience:

Share this with fellow mothers, families, friends and please feel free to send pictures of your candles lit on the page too. It would be so powerful to light up Jen’s wall and the world with hope and love.

Sometimes when there is too much around me and I am just not sure where to start or what to do in my life, I head to the vault. It’s a collection of pictures, a group of moments I keep buried in my files waiting to be held, processed, finished somehow…At times the vault tortures me as I can never seem to get to the task and at other moments I think of it as the vessel where little bits of treasure rest, where stories wait to be told or the reminder of how sweet things were resides.

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I often wonder how many small moments of our lives are still there waiting for us, hanging out in the back of the vaults of our hearts…places for us to escape back to with a more gentle and kind view of our lives…maybe this is the best part of leaving things undone, unfinished, and not exactly having it organized the way we think we should.

As I looked through the pictures of Lyra’s birthday last September, all I could see was what it looks like to be loved and adored.

The love started by Jen offering her back yard for the party and I was reminded that no mother should ever do birthday parties alone… and how love doesn’t always look like a Pinterest page and is often more of a modge podge of simple kind offerings.

Things like…
One princess tent already infused with joy from a birthday of another dear girl earlier that year was lent for fort goodness.

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One old slip n’ slide that gave many a never-ending slide was shared to double the awesomeness of the new mega slide.

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A last minute decorating job to a store bought cake made mermaid cake dreams come true.

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…and each person shared what they love about Lyra on magic rocks that she will keep in her own heart vault to pull out when times are rough, or she loses her way, or just to know what it feels like to be loved and adored…again and again.

lyra grace-42

And it isn’t so much about perfect parties and picture moments but how each little part, each little offering adds up to something bigger …and that when we love each other and share whatever we have, the circle of love and adoration grows wider and wider, including us all.

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step in with your heart

family mornin’…

April 24, 2013

family morning family morning-2 family morning-3 family morning-4 family morning-5 family morning-6 family morning-7 family morning-8

morning light wisdom

what change asks…

April 22, 2013

new me

 

What change asks of you…

change reveals what you care about the most

change checks your perceptions and judgments

change makes space for you to fall apart, then asks you to get it together

change shows you the path to grieve

change asks you to take a chance or risk

change calls us without our permission

change invites you in… and out

change asks you to stretch in ways you never planned or imagined

change asks us to honor our needs

change invites power or let’s you be the victim, it tells you to decide which one

change surprises you

change leaves no where to hide

change knows our secrets and even the parts we haven’t discovered yet, like our resolve and tenacity

change asks you to widen your heart

change connects our shared humanity

…and whether we survive, celebrate or fight it, it always wins…and where we find ourselves and souls in the midst of it is up to us.

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