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Archive for September, 2014

Launching 21-Day Challenge Portal! (And Oct 2nd Challenge)

KindSpring 21-Day Challenge
Dear KindSpring Community,

Last year, you helped create a 21-Day Challenge that rippled out a lot of good in our communities. Today, we’re thrilled to announce a launch which steps up that spirit: KindSpring’s 21-Day Challenge Portal! This labor-of-love platform makes it easy for anyone, anywhere to join an existing challenge or host one of their own.

The Back-Story: Last year over 17 thousand people joined our 21-Day Kindness and Gratitude Challenges. It was clear that people everywhere were ready to embody Gandhi’s words and "be the change they wish to see in the world". Afterwards, many of you asked about ways to continue that ripple of positivity in your lives. We brainstormed various ideas and ended up creating an entire platform where anyone can host a new challenge or join an existing one. Current themes range from Kindness, and Mindfulness to Gratitude and the Eco-Footprint challenge! We’ve even created tools that enable you to design your own challenge around any theme of your choice. You can then invite friends, manage groups, and have a private story feed. Our intention is to offer participants a rich array of themes, and the intimate experience of taking a 21-Day Challenge with their own community of friends, co-workers, classmates or family members. And things are already taking off! In just the last few weeks of our beta release, more than 70 challenges have been created, and we’re excited to see what emerges next 🙂

To kick things off, KindSpring will be hosting a world-wide 21-Day Kindness challenge. It starts October 2nd. To join a group of global friends practicing kindness together, simply register here. Throughout the year, we will continue to host challenges on different themes open to all.

Thank you for your friendship in these collective experiments of love. Together, we can unleash a revolution of good.

With smiles,

The KindSpring Crew

Small Acts with Big Love

5 Ways Science Says Kindness Will Change Your Life

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September 23, 2014

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5 Ways Science Says Kindness Will Change Your Life

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

– The Dalai Lama –

5 Ways Science Says Kindness Will Change Your Life

Is kindness just an old-fashioned value celebrated in kindergarten and then soon forgotten as one grows older and more ambitious — or is there more to it? As increasing numbers of people look to live a purpose-driven life, research is beginning to reveal the tremendous rewards that come with living kindly. What follows are some of the most compelling recent studies on the topic of kindness, and the ramifications they hold for ourselves and our world. { read more }

Be The Change

Do your mind, body and spirit a favor today and commit to kindness by joining the global 21-Day Kindness Challenge that kicks off on October 2nd! { more }

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Awakin Weekly: Suffering Leads to Grace

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InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from ServiceSpace.org
Suffering Leads to Grace
by Ram Dass

[Listen to Audio!]

1041.jpgFor most people, when you say that suffering is Grace it seems off the wall to them. And we’ve got to deal now with our own suffering and other people’s suffering. That is a distinction that is very real, because we may see our suffering as Grace but it’s quite a different thing to look at somebody else’s suffering and say it’s Grace.

Grace is something that an individual can see about their own suffering and then use it to their advantage. It is not something that can be a rationalization for allowing another human being to suffer. You have to listen to the level at which another person is suffering. When somebody is hungry, you give them food. As my guru used to say, God comes to the hungry person in the form of food. You give them food and then when they’ve had their belly filled then they may be interested in questions about God. To give somebody a dharma lecture when they are hungry is just inappropriate methodology in terms of ending suffering.

So, the hard answer for seeing suffering as Grace, and this is a stinker really, is that you have to have consumed suffering into yourself. There is a tendency in us to find suffering aversive, and so we want to distance ourselves from it. Like if you have a toothache, it becomes that toothache. It’s not us any more. It’s that tooth. And so if there are suffering people, you want to look at them on television or meet them but then keep a distance from them. Because you are afraid you will drown in it. You are afraid you will drown in a pain that will be unbearable. And the fact of the matter is you have to. You finally have to. Because if you close your heart down to anything in the universe, it’s got you. You are then at the mercy of suffering.

To have finally dealt with suffering is to consume it into yourself. Which means you have to, with eyes open, be able to keep your heart open in hell. You have to look at what is, and say Yea, Right. And what it involves is bearing the unbearable. And in a way, who you *think* you are can’t do it. Who you *really* are, can do it. So that who you think you are has to die in the process.

Like, right now, I am counseling a couple who went to a movie and when they came home their house had burned down and their three children had burned to death. Three, five and seven. And she is Mexican Catholic and he is a Caucasian Protestant. And they are responding entirely different to it. She is going in to deep spiritual experiences and talking with the children and he is full of denial and anger and feelings of inadequacy. In a way, that situation is so unbearable and you wouldn’t ever lay that on another human being but there it is. What may happen is she may come out of this a much deeper, spiritual and a more profound, more evolved person. And he, because the way he dealt with it was through denial, may end up contracted and tight because he couldn’t embrace the suffering. He couldn’t go towards it. He pushed it away in order to preserve his sanity.

There is a process of suffering that requires you to die into it or to give up your image of yourself. When you say, "I can’t bear it", who is that? In India, they talk about their saints as being the living dead, because they have died to who they thought they were. And they talk about the saints for whom all people are their children, so that everybody that is dying is their child dying. In that way, suffering leads to Grace.

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Suffering Leads to Grace
How do you relate to the notion that ‘to have finally dealt with suffering is to consume it into yourself’? Can you share a story of a time when your own suffering led you to find grace? How do you die to who you thought you were?
Smita wrote: Reading this passage marks the *3rd time* Ram Dass has shown up in something I’ve read…just in the last 36 hours! Important message for me, I think. 🙂 Several nights ago, I started reading th…
Denis Khan wrote: Mother Theresa endured 50 years of Darkness and Depression. She reportedly asked for exorcism before her death. Yet she lovingly served us till the end. "Spread love everywhere you go: Fir…
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The Amazing Story of Lilica: A Dog Who Lets No Animal Go Hungry

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September 22, 2014

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The Amazing Story of Lilica: A Dog Who Lets No Animal Go Hungry

Our brains have been designed to blur the line between self and other. It is an ancient neural circuitry that marks every mammal, from mouse to elephant.

– Frans de Waal –

The Amazing Story of Lilica: A Dog Who Lets No Animal Go Hungry

Imagine that you are feeding a hungry dog and instead of eating all of the food you brought for her at once, she picks up the bag and brings it home. Every night, she eats only part and take the rest with her. One day, you follow her home–four miles away– and discover that she is bringing the bag of food you prepare her to share with the other hungry animals in her extended hungry family, including dogs, cats and chickens. This is the true story of Lilica, whose generosity will inspire you. { read more }

Be The Change

In honor of Lilica’s example, feed someone today who is hungry.

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A Wish of Enough

KindSpring.org: Small Acts That Change the World

About KindSpring

For over a decade the KindSpring community has focused on inner transformation, while collectively changing the world with generosity, gratitude, and trust. We are 100% volunteer-run and totally non-commercial. KindSpring is a labor of love.

Inspiring Quote

Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.- Louise L. Hay

Member of the Week

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September 21, 2014

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space EditorEditor’s note: As September shifts into October, KindSpring is gearing up for our next 21-Day Kindness Challenge on Oct 2nd! Join us this year, as we collectively practice 21 consecutive days of small acts with great love. space
space Smile Big space
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Small Acts of Kindness

space kizmet777 wrote: “I keep “blessing bags” in my car. I wrap them in gift bags with a bow to hand out to the homeless. I fill them with toiletries, food, and books of inspiration.”
space cabbage wrote: “Filled up my colleague’s water bottle for him cuz I noticed it was empty— he has done so many little kindnesses for me and we “tag” each other with small acts like this all the time.”
space Eren wrote: “Today at school when one of my schoolmate forgot to bring one of the car seat down to let the other students come out of the car. So I bring the car seat down to let the other students come out.”
space Give Freely space
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Featured Kindness Stories

Story1 An imperfect act of kindness, that ended up being kinda perfect!
Story2 “I wish you enough.” A powerful lesson in gratitude.
Story3 A beautiful way to spend the afternoon. We should all do this!
space Love Unconditionally space
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Idea of the Week

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For more ideas, visit the ideas section of our website.
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The Importance of Mindfulness In Children

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September 21, 2014

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The Importance of Mindfulness In Children

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

– Benjamin Franklin –

The Importance of Mindfulness In Children

While meditation practices are usually associated with adults, there is a growing movement focused on implementing mindfulness practices to optimize the health, well-being and happiness of children. From helping kids thrive in school, to being an effective intervention with autism, to even serving kids that are suffering from cancer and other serious health conditions, meditation is showing that it can have a significant long-term positive affect on child development. { read more }

Be The Change

For more thoughts and ideas about the benefits of meditation for kids, visit the aptly named Teaching Children Meditation website. { more }

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Margaret Wheatley: On Working With Human Goodness

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September 20, 2014

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Margaret Wheatley: On Working With Human Goodness

What becomes available to us when we greet one another as fully human?

– Margaret Wheatley –

Margaret Wheatley: On Working With Human Goodness

“There is nothing equal to human creativity, caring and will. We can be incredibly generous, imaginative and open-hearted. We can do the impossible, learn and change quickly, and extend instant compassion to those in distress. And these are not behaviors we keep hidden. We exhibit them daily.” When faced with everyday struggles, and more broadly, the weight of wars and human suffering, Margaret Wheatley reminds us that a belief in human goodness is crucial to seeing us through the “dark times” of our lives. { read more }

Be The Change

Write down three things you witness or hear about today that affirm your belief in human goodness.

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How We Think: John Dewey on the Art of Reflection

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September 19, 2014

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How We Think: John Dewey on the Art of Reflection

To maintain the state of doubt and to carry on systematic and protracted inquiry — these are the essentials of thinking.

– John Dewey –

How We Think: John Dewey on the Art of Reflection

More than one hundred years ago, psychologist John Dewey wrote “How We Think,” a book examining “what separates thinking, a basic human faculty we take for granted, from thinking well…” This article summarizes Dewey’s findings, more salient than ever in our age of “snap judgments and instant opinions.” { read more }

Be The Change

Notice the thoughts this article inspires. What does it help you to imagine that you hadn’t imagined before?

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Birds of Paradise

This week’s inspiring video: Birds of Paradise
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Video of the Week

Sep 18, 2014
Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Deep in the isolated wilderness of New Guinea lives extraordinary beauty as you have never seen it before. It pours from within the existence of 39 species of birds found nowhere else on earth. For over a decade, Ed Scholes, a Cornell Lab scientist, and Tim Laman, a National Geographic photojournalist, took on the Birds-of-Paradise project – an incredible journey to capture the majestic splendor of these birds. Mother Nature is full of abundance and boundless wonders. When we are in tune with nature, it connects us back with those universal creative powers and healing energy. Let the birds of paradise dance, parade, and serenade you with their extraordinary ornaments and plumes.
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Tom Carter’s Epic Journey Through China

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September 18, 2014

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Tom Carter's Epic Journey Through China

Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.

– Norman Vincent Peale –

Tom Carter’s Epic Journey Through China

Tom Carter’s wanderlust had taken him through the entire length of Mexico, Cuba, and Central America. To continue seeing the world, he decided to teach English in China. Working in this role for a few years non-stop allowed him to save up just enough to traverse the country. Equipped with a digital camera, listening ear, and no agenda, Carter unwittingly ended up creating the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author. This epic journey taught him much about the people of China, and the unscripted photos have much to show the world about this global superpower of a nation. { read more }

Be The Change

Treat today like an epic journey. Whether you are walking to work or cycling to the market, notice something new or subtle and take a picture of it.

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