By: Suzanne Maiden
I actually ended up recording TWO shows today. Because you expressed such positive energy around this topic – I had to record an addendum to the ‘Random Acts of Kindness: Part 2’ WOW! Your response blows me away. Thank you so much for taking time to leave voice-mails.
I avoided this topic for a long time. This topic feels so personal and deeply private that I would rather disclose other intimate pieces of myself instead of my RAK’s ~ Random Acts of Kindness. I’m not clear why I feel so protective about this part of my life, but I do. What is a RAK? A RAK is Acting Kindly in a Random way. More specifically, I define a RAK as: To spontaneously engage in a selfless act for another without thought of benefit or reward or praise to self.
On my other podcast, TheDivaCast (http://www.TheDivaCast.com), I casually mentioned a recent RAK – and the response was resoundingly favorable. TheDivaCast received emails and voice-mails from listeners who said they were encouraged and inspired to initiate their own RAKs. Listeners expressed so much enthusiasm about ‘passing it on’ that one listener (click in left box listen) challenges all listeners to participate in RAK however possible. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response from listeners, I feel compelled to say more regarding acting randomly with kindness. Here we go.
Many RAK do not involve money. Some RAK may be as small as holding a door open for someone, helping an elderly person load groceries in their car; or not erupting with anger when another driver cuts you off or does something stupid and annoying – respond with a forgiving wave and smile instead. Can you imagine how different the roadways would be?
Other RAK that cost something could include: taking a homeless person for a meal, offering workers a cold beverage, bathroom break, or sandwich, pay for the person behind you in a fast food line, or toll booth. Or, if you see someone using food stamps in the grocery store line, have the cashier add it to your bill, or purchase someone’s prescription drugs. A slightly bigger act is to pay for a (young, or in need) family’s dinner at a restaurant and escape before they know. Several holidays ago, I stood in line and chatted with a newly immigrated Russian woman. She held a single holiday sweater for herself – her first holiday in this country. I purchased it for her and said, “Welcome to America.” This smalll gesture surely didn’t change the world. But, maybe, just maybe, she will remember that moment and it will sustain her belief in human kindness.
Another memorable moment for me, is when I literally gave the sweater off myself to a fellow cancer patient. We both sat and waited for the radiation machine to zap us. This beautiful young girl, Carmen, was terribly thin, and so chilled. She admired my sweater. I took my sweater off and gave it to her. The following week, I walked in with a gift bag filled with new, hip, age-appropriate sweaters for her. She was delighted. The technicians told me she waited for my arrival everyday. Carmen died shortly after. Who received the greater gift? Of course, it was I.
I give money any time someone in need crosses my path. It may be my last $20 – it’s not much; or more if I have it. Again, is this a big deal when I can go to the bank and get more? No. But, I like to think that the act itself perpetuates positive feelings and maybe shifts another’s attitude.
If we just look around, need is everywhere. The idea is to note another’s need and ask yourself, “How can I be of service right now?” Ideally, and when possible, I prefer to do RAK’s anonymously. I don’t hang around for expressions of gratitude. Any public acknowledgement makes me squirm with discomfort and triggers my shyness.
My personal goal is to engage in 1 RAK/day. If I miss a day, I may do something bigger or multiple acts the following. I reiterate, it’s difficult for me to publicly share this piece of myself. I don’t seek affirmation. I do what I do because it is my deepest, highest truth. My efforts are small. I know I’m not some great philanthropist making extraordinary contributions. I think of myself as a spiritual being having a human experience and just doing the best I can each day. I offer my very private RAK concept as one way to simply, selflessly perpetuate global goodwill.
How do you feel about RAK? Do you do RAK? Would you be willing to challenge yourself into engaging in One RAK/day for 1 week? Call me and share your thoughts: 678-884-0524