Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Kinder and Gentler Eagles' Game?

     Well today was January 1st and the "official" start of my kindness project.  As it turned out, it was also the last football game of the season for the Philadelphia Eagles, and as a season-ticket holder and a diehard fan, I certainly wasn't going to miss it.  I chose to make my act today a fairly simple one; one that required no money - just awareness.
     Since I knew that I would be among crowds of people getting into, through, and out of the stadium, I decided that I would make a conscious effort to let someone go ahead of me at every reasonable opportunity, rather than forcing my way into every line of people or cars.  Nothing earth-shattering took place, but I still took away some interesting observations and lessons.
     If I compare today to the previous 3 days, what I notice most is that my gestures of kindness on those days directly affected the quality of someone else's day.  I surprised strangers in small, but probably memorable ways.  In contrast, my efforts today likely weren't even noticed by those to whom I offered them.  I was just another car or another body in line like everybody else and I doubt that anyone went home and remarked to their spouse about the person who gave them space to get out of the parking lot 30 seconds faster.  So did my gestures have any impact?
     Interestingly, I think today affected me more than it affected anyone else.  I noticed a greater feeling of peace and ease, rather than the typical feelings of stress that "fighting" with crowds can produce.  As I allowed myself more time and realized that there was no big hurry, it became easier to become more gentle and to allow others to go ahead of me.  It simply didn't matter to me. 
     It's possible that if more people took this approach in crowded places, a greater sense of calm and gentleness might spread.  I don't really know.  But I do know that I felt better and that is certainly enough to make it a worthwhile practice to cultivate.

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