Monday, March 26, 2012

Last nights talk... at least I think it went fairly well!

Hey everyone, 
Last night I gave my talk at the Floreat Salvation Army. As many of you missed it, and asked for me to share it here, I have decided to! I'm trying to be good... so I'm not postponing posting this for some time in the future either! Go me! lol! I may just get all of last years RAKs online by the end of this year! lol!

Before you read the following, let me be really clear, this is MY theology. This is what I believe and I do not expect you to believe the same thing as I do! I understand that everyone has their own idea of God (gods, or divine teachers), faith, religion and theology!

So please, do like I usually ask... try it on and if it doesn't fit, discard it. 

NOTE: Before I started the actual "talk" last night, we watched Peaches Neet Feet (the link is in the previous blog post!). The video is pretty awesome! :) 

Galatians 5:22-26 -New International Version (NIV)
" 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other"

I was reading over these verses last night. The fruits of the spirit! (in my version of the bible) They are love, joy, peace, endurance, patients, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. The one that resonates with me most is Kindness. For the last four years kindness has been showing up clearly in my life.

In 2009, i was getting frustrated with the worlds focus on pain and suffering. Newspapers & television broadcasts, local, state, national and international news are all focused on the negative. So I decided I would start a project online to encourage people to act kindly to those around them and so PROJECT 25 was born. I invited friends of mine from all over the world to participate by doing a kind act for another in their community. I asked then, to write a small report on it and email it to me, so that we could all celebrate the "good things" in life. I also hoped it would get other motivated to do their own Acts of Kindness.

My aim was 1000 reports in the space of a year, from the 25th of June 2009- 25th of June 2010. Its called Project 25, as it was to finish on my 25th birthday!

Anyway, so i hoped for a 1000 kindness reports and i got.... drum roll please.... that's right... 36! Okay, so its not the 1000 reports that i had hoped for, but the project was still a success! Over 36 people were touched by kindness (that's just those who wrote the reports not those affected by it). There were some awesome reports that came in too. Like this one... from Germany. 

This was a person helping a friend move house.... without much success, BUT they had a lot of fun! 

Anyways, I published these Project 25-Random Acts of Kindness reports on Facebook and all those who had expressed interest in the Project 25 concept (well over 300 hundred people) enjoyed the reports. 

All those who participated had a good time and I started wondering about doing it all again. But i decided that the best way to get people motivated is to lead by example, so i decided to start a side project. 

What was a good way to boost numbers for Project 25? That's right! Committing to doing a kindness per day for 365 days, a whole year! 

To be honest I didn't tell too many people about it! I was pretty sure they would have thought I was nuts! I thought I was nuts and that it would be impossible. But i started on the 1st of January 2011, after giving myself 6 months off from Project 25. 

I decided to run both over a calendar year, instead of between my birthdays. I decided the best way for me to remain accountable, and also so i would actually do a kind deed every day, was to write about it on an online diary, or as most people call them, a Blog. 

It was good to be able to keep people up to date with my kind deeds and to avoid premeditated failure. 

So on December 31, 2011, I completed 365 Days of Kindness.  I actually did it! A whole year of kind deeds! After a year of this "side project" i realized that i couldn't stop there! So i decided to keep going! And i have crazily committed myself to another year of doing a kindness per day. This year thought there are 366 days thought so i get to do an extra day of kindness instead of just 365days.. a bonus day!

The main thing that i have learned from all of this is that people are inherently kind! its is the fruit of the spirit which exists in all of us! Yet we choose between kindness & compassion and between selfishness & abuse. 

It is a pretty hard thing to grasp in such a short time, but I'll do my best to explain why kindness is so important and what it has to do with God! you know, apart from the fruits of the spirits thing! 

At the beginning of the bible we are given the Jewish laws, of which there are over 300 of them. Years later, God sent his servant Moses, and he simplified the Jewish laws with the 10 commandments. Another couple of thousand years come and go, and Jesus comes along and simplifies the last 10 commandments and condenses it down to two! 

Matthew 22:37-40
" 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

I guess I need to ask the question, how much do you love yourself? and I dont mean it in an arrogant way! 

I love myself enough to not intentionally hurt people, to treat people with love and respect and to treat myself the same way.

I need to be very clear here! I am NOT perfect! And i don't think i am in any way better than any of you!

I have those days when i get angry at the guy who cut me off, or grumble loudly to a waitress to make her feel bad that she has taken 10 minutes to serve me that her usual 5! I yell at people and grisle but i make the choice to react badly or I choose to be understanding or honest or patient! 

I understand (most days) that the guy who cut me off was probably as a result of another driver and not the poor guy I am silently, or not so silently, yelling at in my car. Or I am honest with myself that there are only 3 staff on instead of the usual 4, and the waitress is not responsible for a staff shortage. I try to be patient with the little things so that I will not get as frustrated. I am patient that I even have these reactions.

But I guess you're asking yourself, what does all of this have to do with Kindness?

I believe kindness is the foundation of the two great commandments. The word "love" is often brandished about a lot. People often use if for their own gain. 

Kindness however is a little harder to do that with as there are so many traits that are the basis of kindness.At times its difficult to actually express kindness when one or more of these traits is missing.

Trying to be the "Kindness Guru" that people imagine me to be, I have been reading a lot about it! Piero Ferrucci, in the book "The Power of Kindness -  The unexpected benefits of leading a Compassionate life", talks about the traits that are difficult to do with out. 

They are honesty, warmth, forgiveness, trust, mindfullness, empathy, humility, patience, generosity, respect, flexibility, memory, loyalty, gratitude, service and joy. Correct me if i am wrong, but these are also the basis of a good marriage and great love. Without one of these traits, kindness falls down, as does the final commandment Jesus gave us. 

Jesus was a man who displayed all of these traits in his life. I could have gone through the bible and given you an example of each trait with a bible verse or story, but i think you know what i mean. 

Kindness is the foundation of all Jesus did and he did it because of love. Love is a great motivator, Kindness is the expression of it. 

I want to read a little from the Preface of the book by Piero Ferrucci. Like me, the Dalai Lama read this book and thought it was pretty awesome. So i just want to read a little about what he had to say about it. 

"I believe that if we stop to think, it is clear that our very survival, even today depends upon the acts and kindness of so many people. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the suffering of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon others kindness, why then in the middle, when we have the opportunity, should we not act kindly toward others? 

Kindness and compassion are among the principal things that make our life meaningful. They are the source of lasting happiness and joy. they are the foundation of a good heart, the heart of one who acts out of the desire to help others. Through kindness, and thus through the affection, honesty, truth and justice toward everyone else, we ensure our own benefit. This is a matter of common sense. Consideration for others is worthwhile because our happiness is inextricably bound up  with the happiness of others. Similarly, if society suffers, we ourselves suffer. On the other hand, the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill will, the more miserable we become. therefore, we cannot avoid the necessity of kindness and compassion. [...]

It is tremendously important that we try to make something positive of our lives! We are not born for the purpose of causing trouble and harming others. For our lives to be of value ... we need to foster and nurture such basic good human qualities as warmth, kindness, and compassion. If we can do that, our lives will become meaningful, happier, and more peaceful; we will make a positive contribution to the world around us" (Ferrucci, 2006, ix-xi)

Earlier, i shared the video "Peaches Neet Feet", and i simply love this video becuase it shows what one person can do with a passion, like painting, and that is so simple. 

To finish up as i usually do i want to issue with a challenge... but before i do that i want to show you a video. This is what is possible, and this is how by doing something nice for someone else, you can have a large impact, a boomerang effect! 

Kindesses can be so simple! We even, sometimes, doing them without thinking about it. 

From holding a door open for a stranger, with a disability or with prams and children. To calling, texting,or emailing a friend you haven't seen for a while, to paying for a strangers meal, to spending time volunteering for a charity. These are but a few ideas. Use your imagination! There are so many opportunities. 

I know the Salvation Army are usually linked to doing these things, but make it a kindness not a duty. if you feel like you HAVE to do these things, then it is NOT a kindness it is duty. And if you resent having to do an act of service, again, it is NOT a kindness! 

Kindnesses are fun (or funny when you think about that photo i showed you)! And the giver gains as much as the reciever. It is an injection of goodwill and has "unexpected benefits". 

My challenge to you, is to do a kind deed this month. Write it down! Remember it! Know what you are capable of! By being kind, you are also expressing Gods love for you, and his two greatest commandments! THE END!"

I hope you enjoyed this talk as much as those there did! I had a fairly positive response to my message at the time!

I hope this finds you well and that you get something out of this message! 

Much love, 
Daena xxx

p.s. if you see or can pick up a copy of "The Power of Kindness - The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life" by Piero Ferrucci... I strongly recommend it. Its a very challenging book, but it is also an inspiration! Its one persons interpretation of Kindness but it seems to make a lot of sense! Its also about $12-$13 from The Book Depository and has free shipping internationally! :)


  1. Hey Daena, I'm sorry some people felt this was controversial. Maybe they didn't like the thought that a Dalai Lama could agree with the wisdom of Jesus or was it too hard to think that their service had become a duty.

    IMO what you said was way more than just your theology. It was firmly grounded in the Gospel of Jesus and the teaching of St Paul to the church. Well done!!!

  2. Good on you Kindness Guru! You are an inspiration, and I love the sermon!