I'm taking a class on organizing for change, and our group decided to organize around doing random acts of kindness in Harvard Square this afternoon -- tough sell but eventually it worked. :)
We approached a homeless guy sitting in front of the metro stop, and started talking to him about his thoughts on using compassion as a force against violence. He shared some really amazing stories about traveling the United States, never being in want for food or water and always giving to others when he was able to. And as I gave him a cup of coffee that we had bought for him, he pulled out this sign from his pocket that said, "Seeking Human Kindness"!
Immediately, we made some make-shift "smile cards" (the little one you see in my hand): on one side, a peace sign with the phrase "believe in peace" and "fight violence with compassion, pay it forward" on the other side. Then the guy started talking about all the smiley face tattoos he had all over his body and was proudly displaying a smiley face pin on his jacket.
It was a lovely afternoon of random acts. We tagged people with metro rides, girl scout cookies, and warm cups of coffee and tea. One of the guys we tagged was so touched, and we ended up chatting for a long time. He shared his own story about a comedy troupe that he started with a bunch of his friends, going into nursing homes and homeless shelters to help make others laugh. All in all the exchange was so authentic, and personally it was so fun to do this with friends who were initially apprehensive about the idea.
As always, so much gratitude to all of you CF'ers for planting these seeds in my own heart.
Our professor, Marshal Ganz, ended our day long organizing training session with:
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
When I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?
--Hillel, 1st, century Jerusalem sage, Pirke Avo