Random Act Of Kindness: Write Letters to Loved-Ones And Strangers

typewriter

These recent years have been years of woe; it is more preferred to punch a one-lined spiel into an IM rather than ring up your friend’s phone, and the thrill of receiving an envelope addressed to you in your sibling’s convoluted script happens twice or thrice a decade, maybe less.

Snail-mail is a rarity unless you have a faithful pen-pal or solicitor. Most of us have difficulty remembering how to properly format an address. I cannot recall the last time I received a hand-written letter from someone. To be honest, the random copies of Boy’s Life I find amidst the non-profit forms and catalogs every few weeks or so only lead me into a state of scalp-wrenching perplexity (last I checked, I was never subscribed). These are troubled times, indeed.

Since the letters stuffed into our mailboxes now-a-days have long-worn out of the use of catching up with old companions, why not give it a new purpose? Writing letters are perfect for Random Acts of Kindness. What’s more, the best part about sending a message via postal service is that your words can reach anybody—all that’s needed is an address. No phone number required.

 

Third Random Act: Write And Send Letters To Family Members, Friends, Or Strangers

Why write a letter to a stranger, first of all?

You know that feeling when you find a wad of coupons to CVS in your mailbox, or unexpectedly received a Valentine in high school? Granted, neither have happened to me, but I can safely assume that finding a personal letter in your mailbox comes with just as beautiful a sensation as getting chocolates on V-Day.

This is what I’d hope a stranger would feel if I were to send them a personalized letter. Writing to them is a way to contribute a little light into someone’s mundane routine, and writing about a feeling or conflict you’re experiencing may help you to feel heard, or less alone in your situation. Odds are, the person you’re writing to are, or will be, experiencing something very similar, and be thankful that there is someone else out there who understands.

It is true—it’s a small, but rare thing to receive a letter. This makes it all the more meaningful. I consider this to be a Random Act of Kindness knowing that these days, writing a letter means expressing appreciation and love towards the recipient.

Anyone could shoot me an email or text, but if I get a letter in the mail, I know that the writer has taken a decent amount of consideration before dropping the envelope down into that metal void. If I receive a letter, I feel that someone out there, stranger or loved-one, sincerely cares about me, and loves me.

Loving and caring—two things we need more of in this world. So, start using the power of the pen, and spread some more around!

rak letter

 

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Random Act Of Kindness: Leave A Note For A Stranger

Not too long ago in my youth, I used to be in the wonderful habit of leaving these kinds of sticky notes around public places in the attempt assuage my boredom:

illuminati

Mind you, this was to my own great amusement, and no one else’s. Now, I’d like to think I’ve moved on to some more mature hobbies, such as:

hobby 2

And…

hobby

Anyways. Upon recently coming across a few stacks of old Post-It notes, I had the idea to bring my inconspicuous note-writing to the next level. This time, I vowed to put my creativity to use, and came up with something that would leave a stranger feeling special instead of, well—targeted.

Speaking of which, before we commence, I’d like to ask one question:

What is the Illuminati, anyway?

 

Second Random Act: Write And Leave A Note For A Stranger

This can be done in any way you’d like. I chose to pack a bunch of my favorite quotes onto a sheet of paper with a brief introduction. It wasn’t a traditional letter, meaning, I hadn’t intended to write about myself, or to a subjective stranger (it is certainly up to you whether you do, or don’t). Quite simply, I thought that stumbling across a list of quotes would be one way that could brighten a stranger’s day, or at least, make it a little more interesting.

That is the only guideline: Write (or draw) something that you feel someone would be pleased to find. Save the rumors and government conspiracies for yourself, please. Make these notes as positive additions to the universe.

Next—where to leave the note? I walked on over to a park near where I live, sat on a bench,  stuck the note under the armrest, and walked away. Generally, as long as you don’t stuff it into someone’s wallet or lamppost, anywhere should be good.

Happy writing!

park letter

Random Act Of Kindness: Bake Treats For Friends

cookies

I admit it.

I don’t make enough of a conscious effort to be random. Or kind. Not on a daily basis.

Whenever I do attempt a gallant Random Act, I tend to overcompensate by going to the extremes, usually with a lick of stupidity. Once, I gave a homeless man $40—out of my mother’s pocketbook (big consequences for me). Another time, I decided to lend four of my most favorite novels to a few mutual friends. The books were never to be seen again. (Oh, well—I do try).

I want to give Random Acts another try. This time, in smaller dosages.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to experiment with some new Random Acts Of Kindness, and I invite you follow along and try a few out for yourself. I plan to start small, get a feel for humbler actions before participating in a tree-sit, or dumping my entire savings into the hands of the WWF (which will happen in the near future—as long as I can continue dodging student loans).

So, without further ado…

 

First Random Act: Bake Treats For Friends

Wednesday night, I whipped up a batch of my favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe, packed two cookies per pouch of parchment, and hauled them over to school with me the next morning.

I’m the big baker of the group of people who know me. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be surprised when I started dishing out packets of cookies before 8:00 am. But I loved the reactions I got anyway—people were happy to receive them. A few friends didn’t understand when I tried to explain that I was giving food away simply for the sake of giving, but I really do think it made their day. In fact, today, one of them remarked that I’d inspired them to start baking cookies themselves. I’d consider that Random Act a success.

Inspiring someone to make cookies won’t help the world in the grand scheme of things. Still, I decided to do this with the intention of helping worlds—my friends’ worlds. I wanted to do something small, but meaningful. I believe I achieved this. School can be a drag—I know I would’ve loved it if one of my buddies came up to me every once and a while with a freshly-baked cookie to cheer me up.

I encourage you to try it for yourself. Bake a batch of cookies (or any treat!) for your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, the crossing guards, teachers. Bottom line, if you’re a lover of baked goods, it wouldn’t hurt to follow the Golden Rule every once and a while: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Who knows? Somewhere down the line, you might get a free cookie in return.

Letters to World Leaders

A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling through the miscellaneous documents in my Finder, and stumbled across a page captioned, “Write a letter.”

I clicked on the document, and found myself reading through what appeared to be a single-sentence writing prompt. After reading it over a couple more times, I concluded that it was not something I had written. To be honest, I don’t remember who wrote the prompt, where I’d found it, or why I’d decided to type it up on a blank Word document some time ago. But whoever wrote it had an amazing point; so I thought, “Hey—why not do it?”

This is what the prompt says:

“Write a simple letter in your own words, to all world leaders, stating that you would like to see that person respect ALL human rights, and that you want to hear a simple yes or no from them. (imagine the effect if lots of people send this kind of letter?…)”

And so, between hectic bursts of speed-studying and grocery shopping, I’ve been spending the past week drafting letters to six of our world’s most powerful leading politicians.

Here is what one of my letters looks like.

 

“Dear Mr. President,

As I am writing this, you are living your fifth day in as President of the United States of America. Already, I am sure you are receiving a lot of mail filled with relief, loathing, joy, praise, disapproval, uncertainty, despair, anger, etc. Yes, the people are very, very angry with you and your supporters. But, please, do not be quick to ridicule us—I am sure you know that some of us refuse to admit that we, the people, are the only ones to blame for this. Thousands of us have rallied behind you, though thousands more would rather spit at your feet in disgust than have to look you in the eye. I hope you will adjust to this, and come to expect it even more so than in the past few months. You are a politician, now—politics and emotion go hand-in-hand, which inevitably leads to vehement controversy. 

I am writing to you to make one request: please, Mr. President, I urge you to respect all human rights. I am doing my best to put all the terrible things the world has been saying about you behind me, for it is only the fair thing to do. You are no longer Donald Trump the businessman, but President Donald Trump of the United States of America. You deserve a chance to sustain this title in a positive light.

Like I’ve said, I will view you with an open mind, and a cleared vision—but only if you do the same for the rest of us. You say you will listen to the people? Then prove it. When you talk about us, take care to mention the good, not just the “nasty,” or the unchanging. We are past Hillary scandals. We are through with all of the trash on the media, whether it be about you, or any other politician. It is time for the concerns of the humble individual to be taken into account. You, as President, have the extraordinary ability to make that happen.

You must realize that, by becoming President, you have given yourself up for the largest, most impactful cause in the world, as we know it. Screw it up, and you better prepare a substantially-long apology letter. But, if you succeed in bringing more happiness and security—happiness, not greatness—to this country, then you will feel a thousand times more fulfilled than any self-indulgent act could ever reward you with. All we, the people, ask of you is this:

Listen to us, the American people. Even if it is just a few moments throughout your day, forget all that your Vice President has advised you—forget the media, your relatives’ opinions, the ultra-powerful figures you work with daily. Reflect on the people. Never forget us, for if you do, we will know it instantly. 

Listen to the Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians, the Anarchists, the Constitutions, the Greens, the Socialists, the Whigs—listen to anyone and everyone. If none of their concerns can alter your decisions or beliefs towards individuals, then please, at best, respect all of our human rights. 

I imagine this letter will either get lost among the many arbitrary government documents and praise-hate letters of others like me. But, if anyone at all ends up reading this, I would much appreciate it if you would take these thoughts into consideration, and perhaps, to heart. Give us an open mind, respect all of our rights and humanity—and we will do the same for you.”

letter

While I did not write letters to all world leaders, I am going to do my best to send out my message either through postal mail, or through email to a select few. The six politicians I have chosen to write are President Donald Trump (U.S.A.), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Japan), Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany), President Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Prime Minister Theresa May (U.K.), and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (India).

The chances of my letters being read personally by all six of these politicians are slim to none, but my hope is still aimed towards at least one other human being intercepting my message. I think it would be absolutely amazing if everyone reading this could write at least one letter, however brief it may be, and sent it out to their own country’s leader asking to respect all human rights.

Who knows? That prompt may lead to something, indeed. If I get a response from any of the six politicians, I will be sure to briefly post their reaction (‘briefly,’ for their own privacy, of course).

On a final note, wishing everyone a good weekend, and thank you for reading! Good luck to whoever decides to have a go at this prompt, and feel free to ask me any questions about the structure of my letters, or mailing process. I am open to any prompt suggestions, as well!

So, What Exactly Is A “Cause”?

 

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”  — Dalai Lama

 

“Will you make a contribution to our cause?”

Staring at this string of words, I wouldn’t expect any waves of passion, let alone sympathy, to surge through me. Almost no emotion at all comes to mind. But I skim it over once more.

Our cause.

It’s a positive statement, for sure. Whoever it is that asks for aid, I know they mean well. Of course, after writing this, I realize that the cause could have been something potentially ill-meaning. But without any context, I automatically feel that someone out there is saying these words with a smile, and an amiably-outstretched hand.

A cause is not something that everyone possesses, but almost all warm to the idea of having one. We are guilty after refusing to make a donation, and we cherish the idea of assuming the role of a faithful volunteer. So, what is a ‘cause,’ exactly? And why does anyone even care?

A cause is the result of when an individual is no longer just existing, but impacting. It is when you give yourself to others and the world, expecting nothing in return. A cause is simply the desire to make a difference—not just in your own world, but in the worlds of those who surround you.

One’s job, usually, is not one’s cause. We work in order to gain money, to ‘make a living’—a resource that is used solely for our own benefit, our own survival. A job, or career, only becomes a true cause when you realize that you would persist with it, even if there was no immediate reward.

We all have our cause. Some of us have it tangled deep within the cobwebs of dreams, or swiped from vision with the shadow of procrastination. Causes change, just as we always do, and obstructions vary in degrees of a thousand. But no matter the obstacles, the reason for why we strive towards a cause always remains constant. Whether it is large or small in impact, contributing to our cause is what brings the life back into reality. It keeps us grounded within ourselves, while at the same time, lifts us higher, and closer, to each other.

Without purpose, reality is fractured. Whether we make a contribution, lend a hand in tending to the pieces life has left in our wake, is purely our own decision to make. Of course, one thing remains certain; no action will ever go ignored. So, let us make an effort to keep the positive actions on the forefront of the choices we make. Soon, it may be you who will be voicing this very same request.

“Will you make a contribution to our cause?”