Central Park Random Act Of Kindness Reflection
Posted by Annette Konoske-Graf on Aug 27, 2013
It turns out that lemonade is delicious even on a cold day.
Our meditation began at ten AM, under a tree on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Softball players, children playing, and dogs barking: the sounds of the Sunday morning park happenings floated around us. I was a little distracted during meditation – mostly finding myself attune to the abundant energy around me. I realized I was nervous about our event. What if something went wrong? What if I failed as a leader of love?
At 11:30, after an opportunity to reflect on a passage that centered on loving your inner voice (talk about fitting!), we were ready to share kindness with those around us. We started by creating a “Post-It Pay It Forward” board that allowed those who passed to select a random act of kindness to complete in their own lives, on their own time.
Near the Great Lawn was a line of dedicated theater fans that had been started before sunrise, all to get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park. Those in line had sleeping bags, sweaters, and backaches. After a couple of minutes of discussion on how to start, we began walking along the line, offering cookies and lemonade. One of our participants, Smita, who walked along the line said, “The event was a soul-opening experience. It was difficult for me to approach strangers with gifts, because I feared rejection and judgment. However, once we got started giving gifts to people in the long line, we received so many heartfelt wishes and thanks, even from folks who didn't want any snacks. It felt great to tell people that we were doing this to spread kindness in the world, and I felt it resonate.”
Leena and I, with the “Pay It Forward” board, set up a table and offered lemonade and cookies to passerby. Several tourists stopped with questions about our purpose. Two older people made comments about being glad that “young people do more than text!” At one point, when we were offering free hugs, one of the people in the Shakespeare line made a comment about being a target for “creeps.” Another person in line said, “Hey, creeps need hugs too!” I enjoyed sparking dialogue among people about fear and love. In an hour, we were out of lemonade and cookies! Leena shared, “I think it's always great to see people be so open to receiving our random acts of kindness! It always feels so natural and I can't help but smile when I think about it!”
Another participant – Arti – was moved to be part of a group of people with whom she felt genuinely connected. “To wake up early on a Sunday to meditate, explore a passage for the sake of one's betterment, and then spend another hour or so smiling and making others smile with such innocent and selfless kindness…. nothing really struck me as much as your compassion to serve others.” And hers too!
I suppose that after the event, I realized that in the act of serving, in the sincere act of showing love with no expectations, there really is no going wrong.