Levitation From Passing It On -- Again And Again!

Posted by susan schaller on Mar 30, 2011
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[My friends lost their wonderful deaf daughter, Haley, less than two years ago.  She died at 14.  They gradually picked up the pieces of their broken hearts and decided to sail around the world with Haley's pug dog, Sushi.  They found a languageless deaf boy and some older uneducated deaf boys, in a town where they docked in Mexico.  They asked for donations to help pay for a teacher/interpreter to educate the kids.  I thought you would love to see what happened, especially, on the "inside." --Susan]

Dear Friends,

Levitation (from Latin levitas "lightness") is the process by which an object is suspended by a physical force against gravity, in a stable position without solid physical contact.
 
Remember the game we played as children where one person lies down while everyone else gathers round them packed side by side, shoulder to shoulder each placing two fingers under the reclined person?  Then on the count of three we would close our eyes and lift our two fingers and magically the person would float up in our midst seemingly with no effort at all. That was the levitation game.  It was fun and magical but of course now we understand that it was really the additive force of all those single fingers which could do such a great deed seemingly effortlessly.
 
This is the same amazing magic I have witnessed with the Zihuatanejo project.  We set a goal to raise $1000 and we are within $100 of that goal which is phenomenal in itself but the most delightful part is that every donation was small and hopefully painless but added all together we really have something powerful!  This whole event has awakened in me an idea which I had forgotten in the busy day to day practicalities and flashing catastrophic headlines innundating us with images that humans are essentially evil and the world is spiraling toward its gruesome doom.  What I had forgotten was recently published in collaborative  research from UCSD and Harvard University as the first laboratory evidence that cooperative behavior is contagious and that it spreads from person to person to person. "When people benefit from kindness, they pay it forward by helping others who were not originally involved and this creates a cascade of cooperation that influences dozens more in a social network."  They go on to say that the effect persists and the generousity extends forward in time.
 
With this in mind, the image of a single good deed spreading to three more and then to nine and then to 27 and then to 81 and on to 243 ... 729... 2,187... 6,561... 19,683... 59,049 ... and then forward in time to another good deed which starts it all over again, I am realizing that  a small group of people could indeed very quickly infect the world with a kindness virus epidemic.  Perhaps rather than reacting to the fear inducing slap of a headline with another lock on the door or downward gaze or heart palpitations we could simply do something nice and start an epidemic.
 
I am going to perpetrate a random act of kindness today. I am going to innoculate humanity with a little infective agent. Perhaps I will buy a coffee for someone on a street corner or put a quarter in a parking meter about to expire or let someone go ahead of me in line with a smile or pick up trash blowing in a field or thank a serviceman for what they do or leave an extra big tip at a restaurant for a slightly flustered obviously new young waiter who tried but didn’t really do a very good job ... How fun is this?  I’m grinning already.  This epidemic is not only painless, it feels GREAT!  I would LOVE to hear more ideas!
 
I love you all and I thank you for all the many ways you give because if you are on my email list it is because you have already given something wonderful and precious to me and I hope I can find ways to give it back AND pass it on again and again and again!
 
Always,
---Pat

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