“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”--Anne Lamott
Cell phones. Tablets. Laptops. Desktops. Fitbits. Echo. Alexa. Siri. The astounding array of electronics by which we stay synced to our vast network of connections and entertainment and knowledge and consumables grows daily, and daily grows more... personal. It’s almost as if humans have reached into the Ethernet, and the Ethernet has reached back, offering us the immediate gratification we seek in a smooth and unflappable (female) voice.
And it’s fun. And informative. And helpful. The only thing it isn’t is real. Real happens when out feet touch the ground, and our hand touches our dog’s wet nose. Real happens when our arms embrace a friend, and when our lips kiss a loved one. Real happens when we go down a road because it has a cool looking tree despite the repeated announcement of “Recalculating.” Real is when we sit down at a table for a home-cooked meal instead of scarfing down microwaved hot pockets over the kitchen sink.
The conveniences of life are wonderful, as long as we remember that they are conveniences, and not life itself.
This week, we invite you to revel in the Real and unplug. We may just find out one of modern life's best paradoxes: the more we disconnect, the more we connect. Stay tuned for tips & inspiration--and don't forget to share your own stories, ideas, and tips with us by tagging us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown.
There are few things in this world more powerful than kindness.
Think back to the last time you were surprised by the kindness of another, and the effect it had on you. Or the last time you graced another person’s life with an act of kindness. Chances are, it made your day as much as it did theirs.
And the news keeps getting better, as athletic director and massage therapist Stacy Ford explains. “Many feel acts of kindness can cost too much--give money to this school fundraiser, give time to that charity event, donate to everyone who asks. But an act of kindness can be practiced for FREE,” says Stacy. “They can be as simple as a smile, a hug, a kind word, a phone call to check on a friend, quality time with family.”
For Stacy, growing up in a home filled with kindness, and seeing the example of her parents sharing love so freely with friends and strangers, has helped shape her as a person. She credits her dad with teaching her that “an act of kindness, no matter how small, can be monumental to those receiving. He was a genuine man and superior example of giving and kindness. It was how he was raised and paid it forward.”
Stacy’s mom gave her example through her “generous heart,” impressing upon Stacy that it “doesn’t cost anything to share love and listen to others.”
For Yoga instructor Deb Zobel, kindness is a way of life. “The adage, ‘Do good and good will come back to you always felt uncomfortable for me,” she says. “In essence, it was just giving to receive. I like being kind. It sends out good vibes, makes someone happy, makes me happy and gives me a sense of peace. It’s just a way of life.”
Deb describes the cyclical effect of kindness. “Recently, much kindness has been offered to me, unsolicited and given freely. The kindness I’ve offered to others has come full circle, not because I expected it, but because others like being kind, too. Kindness is like a ring, having no beginning and no end. It continues to grow larger with each act of kindness put forth. We all have the opportunity to be part of the ring of kindness, as a giver or the receiver.”
Reiki and reflexology practitioner and teacher Tracy McGovern appreciates small, everyday acts of kindness. “It is the little things that truly mean so much. When I think of ‘acts of kindness,’ the scroll through my head looks like this:
Tracy points out as well the very special quality of random acts of kindness. “The first time this happened to me was a long time ago in the Starbucks drive thru line,” she says. “The car in front of me paid for my coffee. “I’m sorry, What?????” Sat there at the window with my eyes wide open in complete misunderstanding. It was like she spoke another language to me. And kind as she was, she repeated herself slowly, ‘The car before you PAID FOR YOUR COFFEE.’
Wow. Scrolling in the brain. What car was in front of me? Was it someone I knew who saw me in the rearview? Can I remember the car? Wow. Who does that?! This is AMAZING!!!!”
For Tracy, the random act of kindness had a ripple effect.
“Ya know what? It made me want to do it too. I felt SO amazed and moved that a mystery person who doesn’t know me, doesn’t know if I’m a good person or a total bitch. Doesn’t know my political party, my beliefs, if I’m thin or not….this person has no way to judge me and yet…...Wow.
I’m doing that. I’m inspired. And that never went away. Anytime I can I will and yes, I feel good when I do it--but that’s not why I do. I do it because that move totally rocks someone’s day. That random act of kindness makes someone else go ‘wow.’ And if they feel it like I do….it’s a little renewal of faith of humanity. And if we can get that train rolling--hell yea! I’m in. (Oh please let’s get THAT train rolling!)”
This week we invite you to hop on board that train and join us in saying yes to acts of kindness! Stay tuned for tips, fun facts, and inspiration--and don’t forget to share your own stories, ideas, and tips with us by tagging us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown.