I’m not one for clichés, but sometimes it really does pay off when you pay it forward.
In the attempt to create a world of peace and an environment of positivity, I want to share a few of my experiences of good karma with you guys. Cause it can’t hurt to read something uplifting amongst the mess of political articles you’ve read today, am I right?
I’m starting simple. They’re not kidding when they say smiles are contagious.
You never know how badly someone might need just a face of happiness from a stranger. Sometimes that can mean more from a stranger than from anyone you know personally. The worst thing that can happen? They don’t smile back. So fuck them.
- Exert your best self
I’m a talkative person. If I have a joke to make or a comment or something to say, I try to say it any chance I get. I find that the best days I have are the ones where I’m saying the things that come into my mind, with moderation and filtration – of course. I always think to myself “I could say this out loud right now”, and wonder where it would get me. But when I don’t think and just say it – it pays off and I never regret it. Just be friendly. Be a pleasant person – you really never know that you can make such an impression on people.
- Have sympathy – I’m gonna tell you a story.
I do this in ways that most people don’t – so whatever way you want to interpret this, be my guest. I’m not the kind of person to jump when someone’s crying or upset and offer a shoulder to cry on or flood them with “what’s wrong?!” “are you okay?!” “what happened?!” because that just doesn’t seem real to me.
When I really feel connected and drawn to a person, I just do something instead of saying something.
A few months ago there was a woman next to me in the nail salon – we were both getting pedicures.
I was reading one of my astrology books when I overheard her technician, who seemed to know her very well, ask how her weekend was. The woman, whose name I still don’t know to this day, replied with “well, my husband and I were about to celebrate his 11th year being cancer free this week – but we’re not sure if we can celebrate anymore.” Quite a meek way of saying “my husband has cancer again”.
The woman and I were friendly – making jokes here and there, your casual nail-salon small talk.
We both were eventually moved to the opposite side of the salon to get our manicures taken care of.
I hadn’t said anything to the woman in regards to her husband – not an “I’m so sorry to hear that” – nothing at all.
I summoned the hostess and asked her to take my card before the woman paid for her services. I wanted to pay for her to treat herself. While I’m in no position to be taking other people’s bills, I knew that’s what I wanted to do and I did it and it felt so good.
She came over to me while my nails were drying. Crying, she hugged me from behind.
I turned and hugged her and cried with her. She thanked me over and over again, and all I asked was that she pass it on.
She told me the day prior she had paid for a woman at the grocery store whose EBT card was not going through.
She had gotten her good karma.
Two days later I walked into Allie’s donuts (if you’re not from RI – Allie’s makes the best donuts in the whole state. They’ve been cash only for as long as they’ve been around, which I believe is for decades now. They recently had some construction and renovation done – so I figured I’d give it a shot even though I had no cash on me, in hopes that maybe they would take cards now). I asked the girl at the counter “are you guys still cash only?!” in an excited/desperate tone. “Yes, but go ahead. What can I get you?” She knew I didn’t have cash. I was confused. She held her finger to her lips to shush me. “What would you like?” I understood now.
“I wanted to grab a half-dozen for my family, are you sure?!”
“Yes, we’re about to close, so we’d have to throw these all away.”
So I took home half a dozen donuts for free.
I got my good karma.
Today I went to the nail salon. It was busy when I got there, I waited a bit and by the time my nails were almost done there was no one else but myself there. The technician who had done that woman’s nails, Angelica, was sitting down at her station, about 8 desks away from my technician, Helen and I.
“Are you the one who paid for my client’s nails that time?”
I responded back to her, we were talking loud – or so it seemed – because the place was empty.
“She was really inspired by you, and she wanted to continue what you were doing. She left a few gift certificates here, one of them is for you. She said you can use it for yourself or continue and pass it on…”
I don’t think I have to explain too much more…
- Be active – if you see something, do something.
We called my dad superman when I was little – we still call him superman to this day, as he’s about to welcome his 3rd daughter into the world. A little naive, generous and sacrificial – that’s my dad.
I remember him doing so many good “deeds” and thinking or saying, that’s what Clark Kent would’ve done.
He’s held up traffic at red lights just to give some cash to the homeless guy at the corner. And while we’d always wonder if they were really homeless or just mooching, in the end my dad still did the good thing, because either way they needed those few dollars more than any of us.
My mom, a little bit less naive and sacrificial – but still generous, raised me in the same way. There was a time we took a homeless man into the closest burger king and ordered him any meal he wanted. She taught me practicality – buy them food so they can’t use your money for cigarettes or bullshit.
So he raised me to be a mushy gushy sentimental cornball and she taught me to be brave and direct while making sense of my charitable giving.
And so here I am in Panera Bread buying a coffee and a bagel for a homeless woman who held a sign that says “I’m a woman. Anything Helps, God Bless” in Providence on a cold city day.
Today I sorted through my summer clothes and made a pile for: put away; throw away; and donate. I planned on bringing my donation clothes to the Clothes and Shoes box down the street – this is something I encourage everyone to do. It’s worth it.
I went through my socks and realized I had some good pairs that should go to use, and I habitually started putting them aside. I looked to see if I had any gallon sized Ziploc bags – all out. I wanted to create some emergency “blessing bags” to keep in my car for homeless during the winter time.
Since I was out of Ziploc bags and had to go to the store, I figured I’d really do it up and get some other little things for these kits as well. Here’s a full list of what I’m including in each Blessing Bag:
- travel size mouthwash
- tampons (I created 2 female-based kits and one male)
- hand warmers
- 2 pair of socks
- hand lotion
- sanitizing wipes
- mini deodorant
- granola bars
- band aids
My total came to $47.43. I haven’t talked about this on my blog yet – but if you’ve seen my clock tattoo or if you’re a friend – you know that 743 follows me everywhere. I just consider it my lucky numbers – we can talk about that another time.
I knew 743 was with me when I saw my receipt print out. I felt proud.
So if you get the chance to give – do something about it. It won’t come to you, you have to be proactive.
- Be aware but not jaded.
It’s so easy in this day and age to feel constantly let down every time we try to put good into the world and end up seeing just more negativity arise. It’s important to know that the bad is, unfortunately, always going to be more recognized than the good. It will get more likes, views, comments, articles, bullshit, you name it. It is easier to listen to the bad news, to give in to the negativity than it is to rise above it. Be strong and power through. There will always be a hint of darkness in the light and there will always be a touch of lightness in the dark, and that is why we must keep hope alive. Your light is more powerful than the darkness. And you can only radiate more light by reflecting it – do good in return.
Be aware of what’s going on around you, but instead of falling into it, empathize with it – come out of it alive.