Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Kindness Project: Walking

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month.

Almost every day I walk my dog. He needs the exercise and so do I. Some winter days (well, most winter days) I don't want to throw on all my winter gear and head out into the cold. But I do. Because my dog needs the exercise and so do I. Any other season and our walk is lovely. Quite honestly, my walking time has become my quiet time, my thinking time . . . and for my writing, it becomes my plotting time, developing character time, working through a writing snag time. Even in the winter. And maybe it's my way of being kind to myself and to my dog.

My Teddy and I meander a lovely path through a park and a quiet wood, emerging along a semi-busy road flanked by two lakes. Along this stretch of road, Teddy and I often see an older gentleman. His hair is white with age. He walks slightly bent at the waist. He treads quite slowly. And he always has a garbage sack tucked in his hand. He stoops every few steps, picking up trash that has flown out of cars or been thrown out of cars. He's out on blazing hot summer days and blasting cold winter ones.

This man's daily walks are so many different kinds of Kindness, and each time his aged body stoops and places someone else's trash in his sack, he makes such a Kindness mark on the world.


For more Kindness posts, here are links to everyone on The Kindness Project this month:

Alina Klein                             Katharine Owens 
Andrea Hannah                      Len Lambert
Barbara Watson                     Liza Kane
Carolina Valdez Miller            Lola Sharp
Christa Desir                          Lindsay Scott
Claire Hennessy                     Matthew MacNish (available Jul16)
Elana Johnson                        Michele Shaw
Elizabeth Davis                      Sarah Fine
Elizabeth Poole                      Sara Larson 
Erica Chapman                      Sara McClung
Jessica Corra                         Sophia Chang
Leigh Moore                          Tracey Neithercott

26 comments:

  1. I run for the same reason you walk. It's great for the writing.

    The first time I read this, I missed the part about the man. I thought Teddy was picking up the garbage. I was very impressed. I'm still impressed by the kind act of the senior.

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  2. People like that are so inspiring. Has to make you think what opportunities for kindness or thinking of others we bypass on a regular basis out of inconvenience.

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  3. It's interesting to me how a kind act to others can become a kind act to yourself. The act of walking your dog for his sake becomes a matter of maintaining your health too--and at some point, it elevated into another sort of kindness for you--a quiet time just for you, some alone time to think about your writing or anything. It's become a source of fuel for you. I'd say perhaps that man's act of kindness in picking up the garbage day after day may very well be the same thing for him. It's a generous thing, and an inspirational act, but I'd wager he's getting as much if not more out of it than anyone else.

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  4. what a terrific meme!!! it's such a wonder to stop and recognize sweetness in the world, so i really appreciate you bringing it to us!!

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  5. I walk my dog every morning too. Recently, I've started getting up between 5:30-6 just so he can walk before the heat gets too bad. I did start out thinking I was doing it for him, but as you stated, it became something I do for me too. What a great guy picking up trash! I hope more people notice him and that some of them thank him for setting a good example.

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  6. I wish everyone (including myself) would do what that man does for the environment. It's a lovely thing. And your walks sound like very peaceful, very mental-health-building moments.

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  7. There are so many people quietly making a difference in the world...they are the ones who inspire me the most.

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  8. LOVE it! My daughters started their own Go Green Club in our neighborhood when they realized how much trash people throw out of their windows on the backstreet behind our house. They were worried about the animals that live in the woods there choking on the trash. They made signs and asked neighbors to put them in their yards one day a month about not being a litter bug. They meet up with their friends that day to pick up the trash (with their gardening gloves on!). They wrote the president, our senator, and our congressman about banning plastic bags in grocery stores b/c of the great Pacific garbage patch. They were soooooooooo excited when they got the responses!!

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  9. Love this! It's wonderful how one person can make a difference that so many people see the effects of the action, but never know who has done it.

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  10. Wow, that's so powerful. It makes me want to bake cookies and go on your walk with you and give them to him. Thank you for sharing this.

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  11. I do the same with my dog. I love walking her but at times it seems a bit of a chore until I actually get out. That man is so great. What an unsung hero. How lovely that are people like him in our world. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Oh I love that man. I do this all the time, especially on the beach, because I cannot stand to see litter, or the harm it does to our planet. You don't want to get me started on all the plastic in our oceans.

    I too seem to have my best writing breakthroughs on walks...and in the shower. :)

    Thank you for noticing the man on your walks and sharing him with us. <3

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  13. A quiet act that improves the lives of people who will probably never notice it. Thank you for telling us about him, and for the reminder to look a little harder, both for opportunities and for those quiet folks.

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  14. What's interesting about this is that my kids do this all the time. My husband told them to stop the other day bc their hands would get filthy, but I said to let them bc so many of us have given up on this. Great post.

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  15. I love this post, and this project. Wonderful!!!

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  16. oh, man, Barbara. If everyone did this, imagine what a cleaner place the world would be...! :D My mom actually used to do this. It's a great practice. Leave something nicer behind. Thanks for the idea! :o) <3

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  17. omg that image is SO SHARP - I got emotional seeing that old man cleaning up our land :)

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  18. Oh, that is such a lovely image.

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  19. I knew you were kind. Only a kind person really sees another's act of kindess like you saw that man's. Thank you.

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  20. Aww, I can totally see that. I'm wondering how he got started and why? What a lovely post!

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  21. I love this post Barbara! I'd not heard of the Kindness project, but what a fun blog hope to be a part of - seems very needed mid-week/mid-month!

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  22. Did I need some kindness today! This was a perfect post. I already feel better . . . and kinder myself. Great idea.

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  23. I love the reasons why you walk! And that old man...wow, so amazing. If only more people took the time and effort to be kind like that....

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  24. I just love that. What a lovely image. My son and I always carry trash out of the park when we go. He may become a version of that old man one day.

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  25. What a beautiful post! I hate to see litter on the street and this man is doing something so nice for everyone. Thanks for sharing.
    ~Jess

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  26. If only more people would care about their neighborhoods the way this man clearly cares about his. And thank you for sharing your observations of him with us.

    I love the Kindness Project concept. I think I'll have to jump in on it next month. Is there a place where I have to log-in/sign-up to be part of it?

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