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09 March 2020
Words by Andy Smallman / Artwork by Fish Astronaut
Hello Kind Living Friends!

I met Doris a few years ago at Newport Presbyterian Church in the Seattle area when I was presenting a kindness workshop via a series of evening activities geared for adults. She came alone and I learned that in many ways she was lonely outside of the church.

Over the weeks of the class, and then later when I facilitated the church's annual women's retreat that she also attended, Doris took a bit of a shine to me. I enjoyed the feeling of making a positive difference in someone's life and Doris was clear that I was doing that for her.

Beginning in January this year, I started visiting Doris in her retirement community every other week, having lunch and helping with a small project in her apartment. She has an affinity for butterflies, something I mentioned to Fish Astronaut, Kind Living's artist, when I asked if Fish would draw a picture or two for me to give to Doris.

Fish responded with several drawings, including the one here and the drawing of Doris and me that I paired with my haiku above.

In terms of a recommendation for an act of kindness, I encourage you to connect this week with someone outside of your age group, someone younger or older.

Here's to a great week!


PS - I was a featured guest last month on the Heart of Mind Podcast, a recording of which can be found here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES - Tao of Kindness

The Tao of Kindness, one of my all-time favorite Kind Living projects, the one that has had the longest duration, will be wrapping up soon. I'm including it as an "archival" activity because it started in 2018.

Each week, for 73 consecutive weeks now, I've been adapting one of the 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching into a kindness-related poem. That means there are only 8 more weeks to go in the project.

I've been archiving the poems on the Kind Living website, as well as publishing them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A friend of mine has also been publishing them on Medium each week.

As determined by views on Medium, the following poem has been the most popular:

You don't improve a block of wood by shaping it.
You are simply repurposing it.
Your version is not better than the original.

And what is the original?
Certainly not a block of wood,
but part of a living entity known as a tree.

So shape the block, but understand the tree.
Live in the light, but don't abandon darkness.
Strive to be kind, acknowledging when you aren't.
Kind Living inspires people to both recognize
and engage in acts of ordinary kindness.

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Copyright © 2020 Andy Smallman, All rights reserved.

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