Monthly Archives: June 2016

RAKtivist

Follwing on from my Random acts of Kindness post, I came across an organisation that embodies random acts of kindness and labels its members RAKTIVISTS. 

What is a raktivist?

‘RAKtivist’ is short for ‘Random Acts of Kindness activist’. Think of RAKtivists like kindness ambassadors—and, like all ambassadors, they’re a part of an active, global community.

RAKtivists are everywhere. The student who stops to hold the door open for a teacher with her hands full? They’re a RAKtivist. The commuter who offers their bus seat to an elderly passenger? They’re a RAKtivist too. The parking attendant who leaves a note on someone’s car, complimenting their parking skills? You guessed it. RAKtivist.

 Anyone who believes kindness can change the world, who reminds everyone around them how much love there is in the world, who inspires hope and generosity with their actions as much as their words—they’re a RAKtivist.
I have become more interested in the Dalai Lama recently, for is this man not the spiritual ambassador of compassion and kindness? Just read the opening chapter to his autobiography and will likely share any stories I think you may like in the coming weeks. 

All this happening together, beginning the Dalai Lamas autobiography and receiving an email from RAK informing me that I am officially a raktivist has a sense of synchronicity about it. I will embrace this moment and try and live up to my newest title: RAKTIVIST. 

A recommendation from their email states: “Imagine what the world would be like if thousands of people became RAKtivists and EVERYONE committed just one act of kindness every month. That is why we need your help. This will start a world movement.” 

Just one act every month! Surely we can do better than that. 



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Nike

Many of us are aware of Nike as the famous sports brand. But there is much symbolism that goes into branding, particularly Nike. The Greek Goddess of Victory is the first symbol. The second is their mantra ‘Just do it!’ These two together create many subconscious associations for the consumer and athlete. 

The Goddess 

Nike in ancient Greek religion, was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. Victory in both war, and peaceful competition. Nike was often depicted in ancient Greek vase painting with a variety of attributes including a wreath or sash to crown a victor, and a lyre for the celebration of victory in song. In scenes of the War of the Giants she appears as the charioteer of Zeus. In mosaic art and coins Nike is often shown holding a palm branch as a symbol of victory.

The Nike executives have even said that her presence symbolized victory, and she was said to have presided over some of history’s earliest battles. 

The Mantra 

Just Do It! When you think of successful people in any field, you think of them working hard, aiming high, being productive, staying focussed. They are often people who act, rather than thinking about or planning an action, only to never get round to performing it. For all of us who know what procrastination feels like, imagine an angry drill sergeant screaming at you to, “Just do!” Whatever it was that you were putting off. Things would get done!! 

So these two things together. The mantra and the goddess. It’s plain to see why Nike is such a huge brand. If it’s directors live by their mantra, and have the Goddess of Victory watching over them, is it a surprise to see it sitting atop the sports market? 

Then there are its exemplary athletes, the best of those knew how to get it done, when it needed to get done. Here’s a few that come to mind; Micheal Jordon, Tiger Woods, Roger Federa and Serena Williams. Individuals who epitomised the brand. 

Jordon was renowned for dominating the game and scoring points at crucial moments. Federas ease and balance at navigating his way round the court and hitting winners. Woods’ ability to hold putts when it was required so comfortably is a clear sign of the confidence he had when he was in his prime. I can almost imagine him in his most confident days, having a dialogue with Nike, goddess of victory in his mind. “This ones important”, Woods would say, “must make for the win”. And Nike would reply nonchalantly “Just do it then”!! And vanish into thin air. Serena Williams looks like she is the Greek Goddess of victory when she steps on the court! 

This brings us to an important principle: Comfidence. All of these players in their prime exuded confidence, they knew they would win at certain points in their career, and they did. Nike was looking over them. 

How can this be related to our own lives. Well, if we compete at anything, we should start visualising ourselves winning. Visualising what’s necessary to win. Imagine the goddess Nike is on our side and is willing us to win. Give it a try, it has worked for Nike and their athletes, and it can work for you. Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. 

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Random Acts of Kindness


This morning I bumped into a good friend of mine who subscribes and reads my blog regularly. After greeting one another his first question was; ‘have you done a random act of kindness yet today?’ Referring to yesterday’s blog post. I scanned back through my morning and realised that I had yet to perform a random act of kindness. This got us talking about the act itself, the most important thing, for thinking about being kind, and helping/serving/assisting someone is completely different than actually performing a random act of kindness.

He then mentioned an act of kindness towards one of his children over the weekend. This act, although kind and loving, was not random. Our loved ones; children, spouse, siblings, parents are all a part of our life, a part of our world, and by loving and serving these people in our lives, we are, by doing so, enriching our own lives at the same time. We should go out of our way to help and assist our parents, especially if they have difficulty. It is our duty to be kind and loving to those who are kind and love us. 

So, then who can benefit from our random acts of kindness? I would say those who have little karma with ourselves. Strangers. Individuals whom we have never set eyes on before, or people we see occasionally and are familiar enough to nod at, or greet with good morning.

Kindness is being open, open to the needs of others. Meanness, selfishness and cruelty is to forget about others and only think of ourselves. These are the only reasons my friend and I could come up with for not being able to perform an act of kindness when the need presented itself. “I’ve got somewhere to be, no time, I’m sorry”. This could be a reason for not being able to help. The main one though, is the fact that many of us are not actively seeking opportunities to help others. 

Look around. Is there someone to help or assist in your immediate environment? What about the space just outside where you are? Ques of people lining up to get help? Probably not. Most of us want to feel strong and independent, and won’t ask for help when we need it, but will instead struggle on, alone. This is why it helps to remain attentive if you are seeking opportunities to practice a random act of kindness! 

Looking back to the previous post which sparked this thought process and activism we find two quotes, one from the Dalai Lama, and one from Morgan Freeman. 

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 
How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.

To add an exclamation point to the quotes, I will share one from Mahatma Gandhi; “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If I want to see and experience a more kind, considerate, loving world, then I must become more kind and considerate. Simples. 

My request to you, who have made it this far. Become an activist in random acts of kindness. Leave home in the morning with the goal to randomly help one individual, however small it may seem. See how it makes you feel, how grateful your receiver of kindness is at interacting with a kind friendly face willing to help. Then, if you feel the effort was not too great, try and help one more person. If you continue to feel good and enjoy being of service to other people, why would you stop? 

Looking over my last post on kindness, and the content of this post, makes me feel at times that I am just preaching. Be happy, be positive, be kind! 

Anyone who this post resonates with. If you feel happy and inspired after reading this. Looking forward to tomorrow and another opportunity. An opportunity for a random act of kindness, or two, or three…….. And better still, if you see someone who needs help, who needs assistance, who needs kindness, and you act on it, please share it somehow. Either here on WordPress, or if you come across the link on Twitter or Facebook. And after you have shared the link, share a recent random act of kindness. 

I will begin. Today, two people asked me for directions, and I helped them to find the right direction. I had a nice positive chat with my friend, the one mentioned above, which inspired me to write this post and think about being more kind throughout the day. This in turn intensified and caused me to text my dad a reconciling text message. 

The night is young. There are many more people to help! 😀 be an activist. Let me know. 

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Kindness 


My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 

― Dalai Lama XIV

Just imagine the whole world adopting this religion! What a world it would become. But we can start with ourselves right now. One random act of kindness at a time. When was the last time you performed a random act of kindness? Have you ever? Try today, and see what an amazing feeling it brings with it. Let me know how you get on.

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Popular Zen Story

The Theif who became a Disciple.

I am re-sharing this story as it continues to be popular four years after the first time I shared it. People search and read this post, even when I am quiet and inactive on the blog. Enjoy, and remember that through free will, you can control your mind and emotions. 

This Zen story beautifully shows that one has a choice to react to circumstances however one wishes. This is not easy and takes much practice and effort, but if one wishes to be less irritable, angry or miserable, make it your aim, keep it constantly in mind, and see what comes. On to the story, but before you begin reading, ask yourself how you would react if a stranger came into your house demanding your possessions or your life!?

One evening as Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras a thief with a sharp sword entered demanding either his money or his life. Shichiri told him “don’t disturb me, you can find the money in the draw”. A little while afterward he stopped and called, “don’t take it all, I need some to pay taxes with tomorrow”. The intruder gathered up most of the money and started to leave. “Thank a person when you receive a gift,” Shichiri added. The man thanked him and made off. A few days afterwards the man was caught and confessed, among others, this offence against Shichiri. When Shichiri was called as a witness he said, “This man is no thief, at least not as far as i’m concerned. I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.” After he had finished his prison term, the man went to Shichiri and became his disciple.

Keep your aim in mind throughout this coming week, whatever it is you would like to increase or reduce. Know that anything is possible. 

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Time

The most valuable, most irreplaceable asset we have in this world is time. We all start with the same amount of time each day, and at the end of that day the time is spent and we will never get it back again. We all know people who’s time has ‘run out’ and we would be silly to think that it will never happen to us. 
We must use our time wisely. Obviously much of our time is spent in our working life, so this makes it even more important to use our free time productively and spend it as we would like. Do it now. Do it today. Don’t put it off!

Ask yourself what you love, what makes you smile and happy. Do this. If you don’t have definitive answers to these questions, then work towards being able to answer them. 

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The Blind Men & The Elephant 

A former king of the town of Savatthi, ordered all his blind subjects to be assembled and divided into groups. Each group was then taken to an elephant and introduced to a different part of the animal- the head, trunk, legs and so forth. Afterwards, the King asked each group to describe the nature of the beast. Those who had made contact with the head described an elephant as a water pot; those familiar with the ears likened the animal to a winnowing-basket; those who had touched a leg said an elephant was like a post, and those who had felt the tusk insisted the elephant was shaped like a peg. The groups then fell to arguing amongst themselves each insisting its definition was correct and all the others were wrong. 

Many of us act as the blind men investigsting the elephant. Wherever we were brought up has influenced us in a huge way. Who are parents were, how they treated us and any beliefs they had shaped our lives too. Our experiences through childhood, school and young adult life put the finishing touches on the person we were to become and how we would impact the world. 

In different cultures children are brought up to see and understand in different ways, which is why unfamiliar customs often seem curious or strange to outsiders but quite natural to members of the culture concerned. When dealing with people from other cultures it’s easy to project our own beliefs and associations upon them, oftentimes knowing absolutely nothing about them. 

The world is changing, the world is getting smaller. Countries are becoming diversified and individuals are able to live and work where they choose, or where ever is best for their families. If we are closed minded and cling to our own view of the elephant without realising the whole, we will breed seperateness and division. 

If, on the other hand, we see ourselves in everyone who we meet and interact with, recognising them as a human, rather than labelling them because of their skin colour, culture, place of birth, sexual preference etc, we can bring unity and togetherness into the world. This is ultimately remembering that there exists a whole elephant, not just the part of the elephant that we were in touch with while we were growing up. 

Let’s cultivate community and togetherness. Anyone you interact with likely has similar troubles, problems and worries as yourself. We should remember the similarities between us, rather than exacerbating the differences. 

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