There have been wonderful people in my life who have reached out when I needed it most. People who cared enough to reach with their hearts. People who have changed my life.
Most people don’t know this, but for a period of time in my younger years, I lived on the streets. I didn’t much care in those days whether I lived or died. I was carrying the stain of my sister’s death on my soul. The guilt was unbearable and was slowly suffocating me .
I never expected that lost people, the people we call homeless, had their own tribes. There was an unspoken understanding that, for whatever reason, there was something broken inside each of us; and we accepted each other for who we were. A motley menagerie that tentatively became a family – a family without all the baggage.
I kept mostly to myself but was shown kindness from people who had not much more than I. A shared sandwich, a cup of coffee. It didn’t matter that I detested even the faintest smell of coffee, it was warm, and sweetened by the generosity of a kind gesture. And sometimes when it was raining, I would be granted precious space, a corner of a floor, in an old dilapidated building. And I would abandon the bridge, under which I slept most nights, for the sanctity of 4 walls.
I was truly amazed by the generosity of people who had nothing, and still found a way to give.
I spent most of my days indoors reading at the library, losing myself in the most wonderful stories until the clock struck 5:00pm, and it was time to leave.
As if he stood on guard, I usually passed Tiny Tom on my way in and out of the library. He was a rough looking hulk of a man at 6’4, with a black beard, dark piercing eyes and a score of tattoos. Most people were afraid of him and scampered away when he was nearby. But he was kind to me, and he always looked out for me, never asking anything in return. I didn’t think he was scary at all. It’s amazing what you can see when you don’t judge. I am sure I even saw his dark eyes soften once when he smiled at me. And it wasn’t a sinister smile. Maybe I reminded him of someone. I felt safe near him. Everyone said he was dangerous, but I thought he was misunderstood. Weren’t we all? Maybe he was both.
I do not mean to romanticize street life. It is NOT safe out there. I fell prey to violence on more than one occasion. I was a perfect target, and it was rightly supposed that I was unlikely to do anything about it. I saw a lot of suffering and a lot of cruelty, but I know that my experience could have been a lot worse, but for the angels I had watching over me.
I met some extraordinary people and made some very special friendships.
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
These people came into my life for a reason. The kindness that was shown to me was life changing. I am not sure without them I would have ever found my way home and back to myself.
Over the years I have encountered many wonderful souls who have lifted me, or who have inspired me when I see them reach out to lift others.
Kindness can be found in the most unexpected places.
I have met some amazing people on Twitter; people who genuinely care and who openly share their hearts. People whose kindness and whose wonderful words of wisdom make me believe the world is a much better place than once I had thought.
I have many new friends who encourage me and who believe in me, friends who now walk with me on my journey. For this, and so much more, I am filled with gratitude.
Kindness is so pure, so genuine, and so simple.
It’s not something you have to wait to give. You don’t need more money. You don’t need more time.
Opportunities abound throughout the day. You just need to decide it’s worth your time.
- Is your time worth letting someone know they matter?
- Is your time worth sending a message that can ignite hope?
- Is your time worth letting someone know they are not alone?
- Is your time worth a smile?
This is the raw simple power of human connection. Your actions send a message. Not every message will save someone’s life. But every message will make a difference.
For me, spreading kindness has become a daily ritual.
- Often when I go to Tim Horton’s to get a tea, or even when I’m at a grocery store, I will occasionally pay the bill for either the person in front of me, or behind me. It never fails to astonish.
And I simply say, “Do something nice for someone else when you can.”
I am always rewarded with a smile, often with a look of skepticism, and then with what I hope is a glimmer of understanding.
- There was a time when I sent 5 personal notes or cards in the mail every day – Thank You notes, I Appreciate You notes, Thinking of You notes. The messages are always hand-written so they know I took the time. I don’t do this as often as I have but it’s still an important part of my making a difference.
I also love to do things for people when they have no idea it’s me – the anonymous act of kindness.
- I used to think it was sweet to sneak notes in people’s pockets with wonderful messages. Unfortunately, I watch to many movies, have an over-active imagination, and do not wish to be the cause of any unfortunate break-ups, so no more of that!
- In the winter, and I happen to LOVE winter and LOVE shovelling snow,( shocking I know!) I like to sneak around and shovel driveways and sidewalks for others.
My next door neighbour is an elderly gent, so one day after a rather significant accumulation of glorious snow, I decided that I would shovel his after mine. His car was not there and I did not need him to know who had done it. I just wanted him to think that SOMEONE had been kind enough to do it. The thought of it had me beaming through the stomach crunches as I lifted each heavy shovelful. I felt great when I was done!
Much to my dismay, he would never know that someone had done him a service. Little did I know the snow plow he had under contract was to get the credit for my work. No wonder the plow honked at me when he drove by! Oh well, maybe I helped him make up some time.
- During the holidays and with the help of my own elven crew, my family, we buy gifts and leave them on the doorstep for people we know need some help. We never sign the card. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about letting people know that someone cares.
During the holidays this past year, I also took my daughter downtown to Toronto for a few days, to spend some quality time. I wanted her to see how different life is down there on the streets. I don’t think she’d ever seen a homeless person before. We talked to them, we loaded our pockets with twoonies and spread it around to as many people as we could. We also bought extra food and gave it away. I think it’s important that our children see how blessed they are and that not everyone is as fortunate. I’m not sure that anything we did that day was life-changing for the people we helped, but I am hoping it was for her.
And the amazing thing is that when we give, WE get to feel AMAZING!
This video shows 5 simple acts of kindness that you can do yourself.
Do you have people who have reached out and touched your life?
What do you do to make a difference?
Shelley Lundquist is an international best-selling author, motivational speaker, and Self-Mastery & Success Coach who uses her intuitive gifts and powerful transformational breakthrough processes to empower audiences all over the world in leveraging the unlimited power of their own potential.
By guiding you through a journey of self-discovery and a shift in the way you perceive yourself and the world, Shelley will help you create your best life—a peaceful, harmonious life of joy and abundance, that acknowledges body, mind, and spirit.
Get Free Access!
Are you honoring yourself? By setting boundaries, breaking old molds, and investing in your own potential, you let yourself be who you really are, and all things become possible! It's not too late to register! When you do you'll receive complimentary access to ALL the sacred conversations and over 45 transformational gifts from guests and sponsors.
One conversation CAN change your life!