all we held, together…

January 1, 2013

My laptop is full…literally, full of so many moments and kindness missions. Here are a few that we held as a kindness community this year:

January:

It was a wonderful way to start the year, to be connected to each other and offer some respect and gratitude.

the great day of garbage gratitude– thanks Joe, Lionel and BJ!

garbage love4

I started a new gig blogging for The Huffington Post– which has been so weird for me, still never sure what to write about over there and  have lots of writer anxiety about that gig…hoping I can get in the flow in 2013.

February:

My dear friend Jen and I started the I Trust Women project…learned so much through that whole experience…about myself and voice in the world. I lost quite a bit of followers from sharing my views and heart, it was hard to know that some would disagree with my decision but also really important for my development as a person and a woman.

i trust women-2

March:

A couple of really lovely people in my life joined me in an offer to write encouraging notes to anyone that might need it. True story: I am STILL returning the requests…so please don’t worry if you haven’t heard from me, they are still coming. I just hope it is at the right time, even so late.

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April:

I became friends the wise and soulful Suzanne Vinson and together we released Kindness Changes Everything stickers…it was so, so wonderful to watch the truth of everything we believe in with all our hearts on KindnessGirl pop up all over the world. It was humbling and so exciting!

kindness changes everything sticker

May:

I got brave and together we hid 200 magic wands all over the city for The Magic Wand Project and The Magic Wand Project for Kids .

It was the first time I tried one of those crazy ideas I was always hesitant to try. I showed me that our city and people are so ready and open for whatever kindness our heart is calling us to. We can trust ourselves and the path of kindness.

a side note: a few initial negative comments made this article about the project by StyleWeekly go bananas… I was even grateful for those, it (and kindness of course) helped it move in a way I would have never expected. We are guessing there are about 2K wands out in the world.

Suzanne and I also learned about being Brave and Kind when we released this sweet piece of S’s beautiful art.

June:

June brought the I Am Kind campaign after Karen Klein was verbally assaulted on a school bus. So many rallied around this woman who endured something so awful. It exposed all the goodness in the world when people poured a million dollars in care for her and gave us an opportunity to show our commitment as fellow human beings to stand in kindness in a new way in our communities.

you are loved karen

We also partnered with our dear friends from American Bear and created Kindness Captured. A nasty storm made for lots of downed trees and foiled our plans here in RVA but I hope to still get a chance to do this project in 2013.

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July:

I felt so humbled and really grateful to Bill Lohmann from the Richmond Times Dispatch for an article he wrote about Kindnessgirl and my life of trying to do kindness work. I loved it because he really heard me and the article was so honest, he really shared my heart and hopes for this work mixed with my flaws and broken parts.

We also jumped into color and had a Kindnessgirl Team at Color Me Rad 5K…and a mini-kindness mission after. There was even a ukulele song invitation for the occasion.

color me rad after

I decided to write a book and received so much love and support from you all. After that I promptly fell apart, I was so down…and I am still not quite sure if it was the book or what…but I felt very overwhelmed and had a really hard time seeing/knowing the truth about myself and my life, and this work.

August:

It was quiet, and I spent most of the month trying to get my head on straight again and getting my kids back to school. The sweetest part of this time was that Jorge took care of me. He was my mini-depression doula. He knew just what to do to guide me through…he knew that place himself and I felt safe in his knowledge and care. It was good to receive, and to just be needy…and to know just a little about how he felt and all he went through. This was also the month that we celebrated being married for 14 years and 20 together. 20!!!  so crazy…

gasperilla love-13

September:

Gratitude called me back to my work and to my place in the world. When you can start sinking deep into that place, it feels like everything else sort of follows. I made a gratitude wall with my girls inspired by Kliewer family’s wall of goodness.

wall of gratitude love-4

…and there were lots of births this month which brings you back to the beginning and everything important. It was also the month when healing found my family in a most profound way.

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October:

Ohhhhh, it was reDONKulous….4 speaking gigs, 3 projects and couple writing deadlines all in the span of 10 days. It was the culmination of a very hectic year. I took on way more than I should have and finally learned some huge lessons.

I also launched (with some friends from Shop Class RVA) Tag, You’re It RVA!,  a city wide game of tag.

tag youre it woodsy

November:

It was all about Soul…in November I started Soul Parenting – a Facebook page for folks to share stories and pictures about the messy love that each family holds. …because I believe we were never meant to do it alone.

lucy sweet-4

December:

I vowed, determined, prayed that all the work was done for the year. Rest was so needed, I think I cried at the drop of a hat at that point…but the universe had a different plan. The first week of December I had 4 different calls and meetings about the development of KindnessGirl and where we are heading. It was brutal because I was asked to look at things I had been avoiding and at a complete loss of what to do.

One really pivotal meeting with Tiffany Jana, Matthew Freeman and Carra Rose from TMI Consulting started the avalanche of clarity. They approached me to help with a project and ended up helping me with something completely different. They were wise and kind. The truth of where I was at was laid out in such a way that I could finally hear it and SEE it…and myself.

An amazing plan and incredible clarity unfolded at lightning speed after all that, and I think I have a really good plan/hope/dream for inviting kindness into our lives in a new and broader way…and to start clearly communicating and standing in all that this thing holds and is about.

I was feeling so content and happy to have a plan and direction…and was thinking the work for the year was really, truly over when the Sandy Hook tragedy happened. *big, big heavy sigh* It was almost impossible to do anything, the grief and sadness were so big and so many were holding it so deeply. We shut ourselves off from the media world for our kids but I knew we were going to have to tell our kids at some point.

And the last project of the year was inspired from that talk, In honor of Emilie…and I learned once again that kindness rises in the darkest moments, that we as a people met the darkest dark with the brightest light…and that the only way to restore any hope and truly honor those lost is to be kind. It was so painful and sad. Still sending so much love to those families…may kindness hold them as they hold grief so tightly. May we continue to honor those they love with our kind acts.

emilie love-2

When I started to write this post I honestly had no idea all that was done this year. I rarely even think of the projects and the creating, crafting and promoting once they are done. Everything rises from everyday life and then we move on to the next thing. It’s good to look at it all together, and see all the paths we walked together.

I feel a deep gratitude to you all. Thank you for being part of this with me, for giving and loving, for seeking and finding kindness…together.  Your kindness to me means more than you know…

much love for 2013… it will be bold and require bravery my friends. I am excited and a little scared but very,very sure that kindness changes everything.

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Hi! If you found us through the Kindness story by our friend Sabrina Squire on NBC 12, welcome!  We teamed up with The Cheats Movement and NBC12 for a day of kindness tag. You can find out how Tag, You’re It RVA started here.

We hope you will join us in the city-wide game of kindness!

You can find the game cards at Garnett’s Cafe (thanks Kendra!) and at World of Mirth (thanks Thea!), you can also download the cards and then print on your own! download- (front and back).

Follow along with us and read the kindness unfolding in RVA on our Facebook page here.

Happy Thanksgiving friends! We are so grateful for the good people of our kind city!

photo courtesy of Marc Cheathem