Skip to main content

Spotlight On: 500 Kindnesses

If you have an idea, often the biggest obstacle in the way of making it happen isn't your lack of skills or the idea's effectiveness. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is one's just not doing it.” – Todd O'Reilly

Photo courtesy of infomatique
These wise words of motivation come from Todd O'Reilly, the founder of 500 Kindnesses, an 1800km charity bike ride encompassing Toronto, Montreal, NYC, Boston and Cape Cod.  Unlike most charitable endeavors, instead of money, donors are asked for pledges to perform acts of kindness.  Todd and his 13 year old son will take on the challenge together this summer.

The purpose of the bike ride is to remind people the world is full of kindness and that it’s sometimes very simple to turn kind intentions into kind actions. To prove it, as of right now 500 Kindnesses has received their 213th pledge - a coordinated act of kindness to support Kiva, an organization I have blogged about before.

I recently spoke with Todd about making a difference and living mindfully…



What is your definition of living mindfully?
For me it's about doing things with a clear idea of your intention.  So much of the time we're living our lives on autopilot. We commute to work some days and do it so automatically that when we get to work, we wonder how we even got there. And of course being aware of one's intentions is only part of it.  Being aware of the consequences of one's actions is of huge importance as well.

In the context of this project, I also think it's important to be aware of the connectedness of everyone.  Helping one person in the community doesn't stop with them.  Each act of kindness creates ripples that affect people several degrees removed from the original recipient.

What will happen post 500 Kindnesses?
That is a fantastic question.  I think there will be likely some sort of similar projects in the future - maybe with different routes.  I've thought of doing another ride through, for example, the US South.

How do you hope to make a difference in this life?
I want to be as kind, mindful, and compassionate as I can be on any particular day and hopefully that is more so than the day before.  And kindness, and in fact all actions we take whether good or bad, resonate through those around us.

What words of advice do you have for someone who would like to make a mark, but doesn't know how?
You have everything you need - all the tools to do that right here and now.  And in fact, you're already making marks every day in every interaction you have.  Some are positive, and some are less so.  So work to make more positive marks than negative ones.

Don't delay. Take inspiration from Todd and pledge an act of kindness today. For ideas, check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. 500 Kindnesses is proof that each one of us can make a huge difference.
---
"Spotlight On" is a new monthly feature where I highlight an organization or person leading the way in making a difference, connecting or living mindfully.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

10 simple joys

Recently "Chewbacca Mom" reminded the world that life is about the "simple joys". Think about it - more of  life is about the everyday moments than the sexy milestones. Though I've written a lot here about gratitude, this got me reflecting yet again on the simple joys I am thankful for. This is my list right now, though in no way complete.
1. Snuggling under a cozy duvet 2. That first sip of freshly brewed coffee in the morning 3. Hugging my partner tightly 4. Smiling to strangers and getting smiles back 5. Taking in a beautiful skyline view 6. Mastering a new skill that was unknown to me 7. Being awakened by the chirping birds outside my window each morning 8. Watching a scary movie and jumping with fright (this is a guilty pleasure, I'll admit) 9. Grocery shopping with my partner (yes I know, weird but true - we are talking simple!) 10. Camping adventures (s'mores included ;))
What are your simple joys?

What a Twit: Part IV

I am an avid Tweeter and take to sharing my favourite tweets with my blog followers every three or four months. This year started off with a bang and I have more tweets than usual...lots of them funny, some inspirational, and others informative. Enjoy!

@TheLoveStories Never regret something that once made you smile.
@TravelBloggr Dear Twitter spell check, Pancetta is not "pancreas." Just thought you should know. Learn some foodie Italian please.

What a Twit!

Over the past three years that I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve “met” tons of interesting people around the world who are doing cool things, have interesting ideas, are funny and sometimes/often even have similar interests to mine.
Twitter allows you to “favourite” tweets, bookmarking them for easy future reference.  Since many of my closest friends aren’t on Twitter, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my favourites - favourites because they are insightful, funny, hopeful or all of the above. Hopefully they make you take pause, laugh, or reflect.
There is a Top 5 (in no particular order), then some of my other faces. Enjoy!