200 Acts of Kindness

This weekend, a dear friend of mine (and former choir-mate, from way back in the day) is participating in the Ragnar Relay in Florida. She and her teammates (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Eat-Our-Pixie-Dust/184861961611913 — how much do I love it that their team name is “Eat Our Pixie Dust”?) are running 200 miles–that’s right, two hundred miles–to raise money for Autism Speaks. You can still donate to the cause if you’re so inclined; there are a lot of us who love people who have autism, so it’s a cause I can totally get behind.


But the race itself got me to thinking today. 200 miles is a long, long way; it’s one of those Really Big Things That Sound Oh-So-Very Daunting, but when you break it down into a relay, it becomes much more manageable.


…Well, more manageable for some folks. I’m not really in a place physically where I could help with a relay like that. At least, not yet. But there are things that I can do, and this is where you all can help: I’d like to declare this Buffalo Tracts’ Official 200 Acts of Kindness Weekend.


I do not have the time or the creativity to seek out 200 acts of kindness that I can do all by myself. It’s a Really Big Thing That Sounds Oh-So-Very Daunting. But if we treat this as a sort of relay, or a crowdsourcing event, or a movement, or however you want to look at it, it becomes much more manageable.


So I need you to do two things (ok, three):


1. Spread the word. The more of us that participate, the more we can do. In an ideal world, we’d find ourselves with gazillions of participants, and we’d end up with way more than 200 Nice Things done by Monday morning.


2. Do something nice for somebody else in the next two days. Anything at all. During the holiday season we’re all encouraged to dump as much cash into the Nice Things For Other People movement as we can–people are forever hinting that you can make your season brighter by giving an extra $5 here or $10 there, or donating an X to Cause Y. But you don’t have to buy your way into a good karma rating; verbs work just as well, if not better. So get creative! What talents do you have that you can put to use for someone else’s benefit? What project can you complete in the next 48 hours that would make the world a better place? And don’t hesitate to think small–washing the dishes when it’s not your turn would totally count, as would taking your neighbor’s paper up to their porch so they don’t have to hike all the way to the end of the driveway. Helping catch your neighbor’s runaway dog when he makes a dash through your yard. Holding the door for the older couple at the restaurant, even if you have to stand there for a couple of minutes. Picking up the $1 bill the little kid dropped at the grocery store, and returning it to him with a smile. Taking a few cans from your pantry to the Food Bank donation bin. You get my drift.


3. Do something nice for yourself. You deserve kindness too, and let’s face it, we can’t always assume someone else is going to do it for us. So do something kind for yourself: throw the family out of the house and take an hour to just bask in the silence; go for a walk when you really should be doing laundry (or start a load and then go for a walk while it’s doing its thing); lock yourself in the bathroom and use that bottle of bath salts you got from a Secret Santa three years ago and haven’t touched. Make your favorite dinner. Go see that movie you’ve been curious about. Pet a kitten. Get creative here too!


The point of this exercise is twofold: first, to see how much positivity we can spread over the course of a single weekend; and second, to remind us that everybody can do something. The Team Eat Our Pixie Dust people have figured that out–none of them is going to try to run 200 miles all by herself, because that’s just crazycakes. But they can each run part of it, and that’s exactly what they’re doing, even as we speak.


So go do something nice! Let’s see how far we can take our own little relay this weekend, shall we?



…Oh, and don’t hesitate to come back here and brag! I love it when people are nice to each other–and besides, if you can’t think of anything else, setting yourself up for love and adulation from strangers (via bragging about your own act of kindness, y’know) totally counts as doing something nice for yourself.


Go spread the love!



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