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He had a name on his sign. So I called him by his name.

“Hi Matthew”, I said. “This is for you.” And I handed him a water, then a pretzel from the corner vendor.

“Thank you”, he responded. “Wow, thank you.” He wasn’t expecting the pretzel, only the water.

I liked Matthew.

I appreciated that Matthew’s sign represented honesty and truth. He’s right. Most people don’t give a shit, however there are many that do.

I think it was important that Matthew shared his name, making him more of a person to those passing by. Putting a name to his dirty face definitely makes passersby remember him; I am writing about him after all.

I appreciated the thanks I got from Matthew, and that he wanted to converse. He shared a little about his hardship, whether it’s true is another story. But I appreciate that he offered me some information in return for the food I had just given him.

As I walked away he said he thanked me again and said that he didn’t know what God had planned for him. Thinking back I could have responded that his situation really depended on what he has planned for himself.

But maybe it’s best I didn’t say anything.

He just wanted to be heard, so I listened.

Practicing Patience

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In my deliberateness to practice more blatant acts of kindness, I am also practicing patience. I’ve decided that doing so helps me stay focused on being kind to people because living in a city with constant motion and scads of people, it is often difficult to be patient.

Here’s where and with whom I’m practicing:

1. On the subway platform as I am waiting to enter a car

2. With people pushing strollers

3. With people who stop in the middle of the sidewalk to check there phones

4. With inequities and unfairness in my job

5. With slow walkers or tourists

6. With technology

7. With people who just don’t get it (i.e., that there are other people in this world that have real problems)

What I’m doing to be patient:

1. Breathing

2. Walking slower and mindfully

3. Empathizing with people who are aggravating me

4. Talking to strangers

5. Smiling and greeting people 

6. Being deliberate with certain exchanges and interactions

7. Waiting to respond to emails that I want to fire back at

8. Being present 

9. Holding back on the corner instead of stepping out before the light changes

10. Walking slower

I’m hoping that I keep these practices going because today I found it hard! I know everyday is different, and hopefully tomorrow will be better! If there’s something you do that I should add to my list and try out, let me know!

Restored Belief

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Let’s face it, the world is a huge mess right now: backlash against the police, non-peaceful protesting, shootings, hostage situations, and on… Luckily for me, I feel like spending time in Singapore has restored my belief in kindness and humanity.

Having time away from NYC and being able to spend time getting to know some new communities reminded me that there are places that can be peaceful, even in a large urban center.

My belief in the kindness of people has been stored…

How refreshing for a government agent to understand your circumstance and try to make things a little easier for you by giving you a few extra minutes at the counter to get your things together.

How lovely that people can just wait patiently in comfy chairs for their numbers to pop up on the screen at the post and government offices.

How peacefulness watching traffic flow without the constant blowing of horns.

How novel having a cashier that actually smiles and greets you because she enjoys her job.

How deliberate people are to leave the particular seats open on the train for people who really need them.

How calm a crowd can be, ensuring that everyone is enjoying themselves.

Of course I’m not saying there is no kindness in New York; it just seems few and far between when you go to a place where it’s so prevalent. Now that I’m back in the city, I’ll look be looking more diligently for that kindness. I want to keep my restored belief in people. But when I feel that belief diminishing, I will be the kindness and humanity, in the hopes that it will restore other’s belief in it too.