A Pillow Book

I wanted a blog to reflect my life and, as with most people, I do and am many things, decided to create a Pillow Book. It will have thoughts, ideas, observations and little snippets of my day to day life. So, thank you Empress Consort Teishi....... I bow to you and your great work and hope, in some small way, mine might be great too.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Random acts of kindness....

I have always believed that intrinsically people are good, that an act of kindness is always repaid ten fold and that the best times are ones that don't cost a bean. So, I was heartened to hear of a new phenomena that is growing at the moment called 'Suspended Coffee' or 'Caffe Sospeso'. This charitable act started in the working class areas of Naples over 100 years ago. When someone had good fortune they would pay for two coffees and leave one for someone less fortunate than themselves, as a little thanks and to share their luck. It is a delightful tradition but one that sadly in more recent prosperous times went out of favour. But, in 2008, the Italian writer  Luciano De Crescenzo wrote a piece about Cafe Sospeso and soon a global movement began. Cafes in Quebec, Melbourn, Russia, Holland and Bulgaria have for the past few years allowed customers to purchase two coffees, one for them and one to be left for a homeless or destitute person. In the UK Starbucks has launched a campaign encouraging customers to leave a suspended beverage. Now the cynic in me questions why at just this moment in time Starbucks has chosen to launch its very own Suspended Coffee movement, I am sure the words tax evasion have nothing whatsoever to do with it, but the fact that they are matching the cost of the coffees as a donation to the charity Oasis Trust can be no bad thing. 

Now, I don't frequent coffee shops, and I feel £6 for many people is quite a lot to spend too often so I have researched other possible random acts of kindness. An American woman Robyn Bomar wrote a blog post about her 38 acts of kindness to celebrate her 38th birthday. She  did things such as leaving cookies for her postman, helping people with their shopping, placing restaurant vouchers on the tables of families and just walking away. From this beginning she started The Birthday Project. The idea being on your birthday doing something for someone else. I applaud her spirit and it has most certainly made me think. On Saturday mornings I listen to Saturday Live, each week they have a short section where people call in and say 'thank you' to someone in their lives who has shown them an act of kindness, most often it was a stranger who had gone out of their way to be kind and caring. This morning's two were a man who, after travelling back to England by ferry penniless, had unsuccessfully tried to hitch a lift home, late at night in the pouring rain he decided to knock on the door of a house that still had lights on, the couple fed him, washed and dried his clothes, gave him a bed, breakfast and in the morning he set off home.  Another was a man who, tearfully, recounted having to travel to St Lucia after his son had been badly hurt in an accident. The family of the man in the next bed showed him and his son great kindness by bringing food for them every day.Every week I listen and think how wonderful people really are. An act of kindness need not cost very much, just effort and time,your motives may well be questioned but do it anyway.  Try it out and see, I am quite sure it will be addictive, give joy to you and the recipient at best and can do no harm at worst....

Links to the blogs mentioned.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. 
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. 
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

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