I am having so much fun with my Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar! If you’d like to see updates, follow my on Twitter where I am updating daily as I get my challenge in the morning and complete it by day’s end.
The other day my challenge was to leave a gift for a neighbor. I have never been too friendly with my neighbors. Not in a rude way, but usually I will say hello and that’s about it.
I moved to a new neighborhood at the end of the summer. And I was dumped around the same time. It makes you lean a little bit on people around you. Plus I am renting a basement space in a house from a lovely lady, I really do love my landlord. Landlady? Whichever.
She took the time to tell me about the neighborhood and the neighbors. A young couple moved in two doors down at the same time. We’ve chatted a few times. A couple on our street hosted a welcome dinner for them and for me, but unfortunately I had rehearsal that night and couldn’t go. Apparently I missed out on meeting the Frenchman that is quintessentially French- wears a beret, rides a bike while smoking and usually drunk. And apparently very sweet.
This is the extent of what I know about my neighbors. So when my assignment was to leave a gift, I didn’t know what to do. I decided flowers were safe. So I left them with a friendly note, and decided that at least it was a kind neighborly gesture for the holidays.
Last night I came home exhausted from a long day. There was a note taped to my door. And it was probably one of the best thank you notes I have ever received. SO thoughtful and kind, and I felt all warm for making someone else so happy.
It really does make me wonder about the age old question of selflessness in acts of kindness. Even though my intention is to purely do this to make other people delighted by the surprise, I would like to bring smiles to other people’s faces. I don’t particularly care if I am thanked. I would like others to join me and do other acts of kindness in their life, and hopefully the cheer spreads at this time of year. But it is nice to receive such thanks.
Is it considered selfish if it’s not my intention to get something back?
Or an even bigger question- if my intention is to think of others so that I think of my own problems less, is that selfish?
It feels like one of those meditative questions that monks use to quiet their minds. The question of “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” or “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?” are meant to be tricks to quiet the mind. There is no answer, so the mind stills and you can meditate.
Selfishness vs selflessness. What are your thoughts? And does it even matter if good things come from it? Let’s meditate on that for a bit!
If you’d like to join me in your randoma acts of kindness, follow me on Twitter and post pictures of what you’re doing : @sarahcurnoles