kindness & karma week: keeping it in perspective

April 29, 2010



yesterday we talked about spreading the kindness in real life. today we're talking about the theory of relativity.

no, not that one.

it's the fact that our outlook is totally relative to the mood we're in and the circumstances around us.  the very same reason i said on day one that i want to watch the pale blue dot video every morning.

here's the thing about all the awesome stuff we've talked about this week:  it's freaking common sense–  we KNOW all this stuff already.  the key is to remember it at the right time.  a smile would brighten someone's day?  no shit.  you should be nice to people online because you're interacting with a real live human on the other end?  well duh.  you have the power to change your own mood and remember how good things are?  of course you do.

but in the blackest parts of our nights and the busiest parts of our very busy days it seems impossible to remember.  my challenge for today is to REMEMBER.  to remind myself when i'm running late and bang threw up in jon's shoe and i stubbed my toe and my gas light is on that all these things aren't really that important.  sure, they suck, but they shouldn't keep me from letting the van over in front of me in the construction zone or smiling and holding the door for the lady at my office.  because she probably had a crap morning too.

yesterday the feminist breeder, who i don't know at all and isn't in on our kindness & karma week project, posted an awesome post about moms helping out other moms.  it's the required reading for today.  and her post was excellent, but what really got me was this comment left on her facebook page from a woman named Gerri:

When my eldest was about 10 (he's now 22), we were in the parking lot of a grocery store, loading our food into the trunk of my sad little car. My son asked me for something out of the grocery bag - a granola bar, I think. I was very preoccupied with how much we'd just spent, and had dropped my patience off in aisle 4. I snapped at him. I ranted on, something like "Don't you know that those granola bars are for school? There are only 5 in a package and if you have one now you'll be doing without one in your lunch next week! And we've just spent so much extra on the groceries that I don't have enough money left for gas, and you're going to have to walk to school until I get paid again!"

My poor kid looked at me with big sad eyes and got in the car. It wasn't even true, I did have some money left for gas. I felt a tap on my shoulder. An old lady was standing there, staring at me. I anticipated that she was going to tear a strip off me for being so rude and impatient with my kid. Instead she grabbed my hand and forced four dollars into it. "Get some gas for your car so you can drive your boy to school. I've been where you are, I understand how hard it can be." I tried to give the money back to her, and to explain... She walked away and didn't see the tears of both shame, and gratitude that flowed from me.

As much as I deserved to be hollered at for how I'd spoken to my kid, she took the high road and did something that actually HELPED him by being KIND TO ME. It wasn't about what she gave me, but what she said to me. I'll never forget that, and in every situation I find myself wanting to holler at a mother, or judge her, or shame her, I try to show her kindness and generosity because I know THAT is what will help her kid.

yesterday i felt myself falling back into... the funk.  i wasn't getting a lot of feedback about these posts and i was worried that i was boring you and feeling quite glum.  i hadn't heard from many friends yesterday on twitter.  so i sat down and talked myself through it.  why was i feeling this way?  is it really important if i have ten million comments?  NO.  does that change anything about this project and it's purpose?  NO.  are my friends probably busy doing things because we're all incredibly busy?  YES.  now go home and cuddle your ridiculously fat baby, you whore!  life is really quite excellent.

and this morning- my reward.  the receptionist upstairs, who i'm not particularly friends with, bought me coffee.  and i'm writing her a handwritten thank-you note.  because the WEATHER IS GOOD and a stranger bought me coffee and it's FUCKING THURSDAY and I LOVE THIS, you MOTHERFUCKERS!!  look up, not down.  i know you can do it.  i really really believe in you.

hot damn. and that's the word.

Written Permission checked in today with a sad tale of (non) kindness in an airport.  go give her your two cents.
Wonderous Clusterf#@k is also participating!  follow along with her Kindness & Karma week posts

tomorrow is the final straw, kindness and karma contest day.  you'll have all week to enter while i go back to our regularly scheduled babbling about babies and breastfeeding and fat little toes and an update on plants that i'm actually keeping alive this time... so far.

xoxo.

16 comments:

Biscuit

I haven't commented too much because I've been an asshole all week, in every area of my life. I've barked at my kid, thought very evil thoughts about my neighbor (justified, but still not cool, and felt a general disdain for society.

The woman barking at her kid about the granola bar put me in tears. I still hate myself, in case you're wondering, but I'm trying to be a better person...daily. It might not kick in until next week, but I AM trying.

Penelope

I'm loving these posts.

The woman snapping at her kid about the granola bar brought me to tears too.

A much-needed dose of perspective gets me all fired up to just be a better person and mom. :) Thanks!

hand pecked debb

yeah that gronola story made me cry too.

Group hug time Biz & Grum?

wonderousclusterf#@k

I just want to let you know how inspiring I think your Kindness and Karma week is! I totally relate to being wrapped up in those stupid shitty little things that happen in the day to day (instead of a dog throwing up in a shoe, I have a cat throwing up on my bed). Truth is, I've got a lot of really fantastic stuff in my life and it's ridiculous to focus on those silly little things I can't control. So thanks for reminding me to keep it in perspective!

Primal Homemaker

It is totally true. Bad gets more bad. If you can just start to see the good, more good will come. Thanks for the post and the reminder.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

Ug, more tears! That women's comment was absolutely wonderful.

Don't doubt yourself on this week of posts, I bet it has touched more people than can find a way to express in a comment.

Josey

I think I can speak for all of your readers when I say you are NOT boring us with this project, not by a long shot. Even though I haven't had time to participate much this week, I have LOVED reading your posts, and been brought to tears on multiple occasions. Thanks for the reminder of all the good in the world...

the grumbles

oops! everyone! i almost forgot! it's official PAY IT FORWARD day- click here to join

and thanks for your kind words. i just felt like i really needed a boost lately and i hope it's spreading the feeling to all of you as well.

wrestling kitties

Oh this is fantastic!! I have not been blogging over the past couple weeks and had no idea you were doing this but I think it is a great reminder to all of us. I have been in a funk for a number of months and it is SO easy to forget simple acts of kindness towards others when you yourself are feeling down. I will be reading all our posts on this...I think it is awesome.

P.S. That story was great. It really makes you think.

JenN

I walked into the coffee shop next to my work yesterday, crabby as hell because the cleaning people at my job had thrown away the milk I keep in the fridge for my tea. So I had to go to the coffee shop for my tea. Crabby. As I walked in, this older gentleman near the door, who'd apparently appointed himself the welcoming committee for the coffee shop, said in the friendliest tone possible, "Hi there! how are you today?" like we knew each other or something. At first I wanted to be annoyed at him, too. But then, he was just so nice, and he made my crabbiness melt away. And then I had a really good day.

Bradshaw

I'm reading, I love it, I'm swamped!

Love yoooooooooouuuu!!!!!!!!

Written Permission

Tears, inspired feelings of positivity: Check and check.

I've really been loving these posts, too. They aren't idealistic and preachy; they're REAL. I've been in a major funk, too, since returning from vacation (what's up with all us bloggers this week??), and this is helping me regain some perspective. Thank you! This is one of many reasons I heart your blog: I come away entertained AND thinking. And sometimes there are pictures of doggies and babies. :)

(Thanks for the shout-out, too! :))

Ky • twopretzels.com

Oy. I'm so sorry for my lack of commenting. It's been a long (teething-filled) week. A thousand apologies.

AND, I hope you know that to many of us you're a treasure.

Laura

i'm sad that my macbook died this weekend and i missed your earlier posts, but grateful that my honey is finally back home and i finally got to read them all. i love this idea and like so many of your other followers, i really needed this, too. it's insanely hard to be a working mama and so easy to lose perspective on life. thanks for reminding us to enjoy and spread the love. i'm in. and not just for this week :)

allie

Holy shit Jamie, it's like you're reading my mind. Have I already told you that? These posts have all lined up perfectly with my days in some way or another. Lately I have been letting the dumbest little things piss me off. Something so silly like, "We're almost out of toothpaste and I just bought some" will ruin my morning. I should have read this post yesterday...I really needed these words.

Kindness and Karma week has been good for this momma! Thanks for taking the time to write such meaningful words. I'm sad the week is over!

Adventures In Babywearing

Wow, love this.

Steph

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