kindness

Do Something

At the start of a new week, let's take a moment to think of the days ahead.

We have no idea what will come, or how the days will pan out for us.  

But even if we can't determine what will happen to us, there is one thing we can control ... and that's our own behaviour. 

I love this thought for a Monday ... and I don't know about you, but I think it's a great way to start the week.

Let's not spend our days feeling angry, or bitter, jealous, or sad about things we can't control.  Let's not dwell on the things we don't have or the opportunities that have not come our way.

Instead, let's do things that we're proud of. Let's be kind to each other. Let's reach out a helping hand to another. Let's find the positive in all things, where possible. Let's be grateful for what we have rather than being resentful that we have not been given things that we think are owed us, or that we see others enjoying.

Reaching out to others, being that 'friend' and going out of our way to make a difference in our world - maybe that's what we need to aspire to this week.

A positive mindset won't just help others, it will have an impact on our own wellbeing and that has to be something to be thankful for! 

Have a great week everyone!

 

Monday Future Self


I Pledge to ....

This Saturday maybe it's time to kick back a bit and try to rest and relax.

But when it comes to our human interactions, I believe there's no 'rest' or 'relaxation' from trying to be a person who helps others, encourages, supports and makes the world a better place.

There's no time to 'rest' from being kind.  But sometimes it doesn't come naturally and we may need to work at it.

So here's a reminder of some of things that can help to make a difference in our world.

If you fancy it, while you're having some 'downtime' this weekend, maybe give this a few moments of your time. You don't have to sign a pledge or anything like that ... but thinking about it is a start.

Be encouraged.

Have a great day!

The_Be_Kind_People_Project2

 


October Blessings

It's the first day of October - time is flying!

The nights are drawing in, there's a bit of a chill in the air and the leaves are turning golden and brown and beginning to drop.

Another Autumn is with us!

I have to admit I'm a bit of a Summer person myself ... I love the warm weather and sunshine. I love swimming and walking in the fresh air, no need most of the time for bundling up! In summer-time I feel liberated! 

Seeing all this disappear can make me feel a bit depressed, I have to admit, but I'm reminded today, as I turn the page into October, that there are blessings to be discovered at any time of year. And finding something positive to experience is what I'm looking for.

So here goes ... October is one of those months when we celebrate the Harvest, and I'm reminded of all the wonderful things that our earth produces. It's a month when we often experience the beautiful colours of nature, and prepare ourselves for the winter. It's the transition into that dark time of the year and it can be exhilarating. Crunching through those fallen leaves, feeling the autumn breeze on my face. And yes, delving into the back of my cupboard to fish out those winter clothes, my colourful scarves and hats and gloves which I adore!

So today let's be reminded of the importance of staying focused, and appreciating everything that every day brings us!  Not looking back, but enjoying the present moment. Enjoying what we have been given and the people around us. Remembering to treat each moment like a gift.

I love these sentiments and I'm sure that if we follow this little list, we will surround ourselves with happiness and the warmth of human kindness, whatever the weather outside.

Have a great day everyone

Happy October!

 October Blessings


Don't Wait

We're nearly at the end of September and all this month I've been thinking a lot about kindness.

If you read this blog regularly (thanks, by the way) then you'll know that I'm writing a book about Kindness and I've worked this month on the 2021 Jersey Kindness Festival 

So how we treat each other and the impact that we make on other people has been uppermost in my mind.

I found this thought online a while ago, and I think it says what I want to say.

And the overriding message it leaves me with is this ...

Don't wait to be kind. Don't wait for different circumstances, or for the time to be 'right'. Don't wait for someone else to be kind to you first. 

Let's just be kind. 

Right now.

Let's not wait.

It could make a world of difference to someone else and it could change your life as well. 

What are we waiting for?

Let's just be kind!

 

You never really know


Speak Think Do

Here's a brilliant thought to encourage us this Tuesday!

I Love it! 

Let's keep positive people around us ... and try not to let the negative influencers impact on our happiness.

Let's try to think positively and healthily ... negative thoughts will only bring us down.

Let's try today not to jump in with cross words and negative sentiments which will only upset others and ruin their day,  and make us feel bad for making them ... feel bad.

And let's all try to do something today to help another person.

Reach out the hand of kindness ... just because we can!

Tuesday positive circle


One Candle

Have you ever read 'War and Peace' ? 

It's a mammoth literary piece so not everyone gets to it ... my research tells me that it's 3,958 pages in four volumes and it took the author 10 years to complete. WOW!

That inspired writer was Leo Tolstoy. born on this day - September 9th - in the year 1828. Although there is a bit of a complication on the date ... go to the end of this blog to read more about that!

Tolstoy was an exceptional Russian writer, known not only for the aforementioned major tome published in 1869, but also Anna Karenina  (1878) and many more exceptional works including novels, short stories and novellas, plays and even philosophical essays. He actually received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909 but he never won either award!

What many people don't know is that in his forties, during the 1870s, Tolstoy went through a crisis which resulted in a spiritual awakening which led him to explore Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ, which is in turn caused him to become a  fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist. In fact, I read that Tolstoy's ideas on nonviolent resistance influenced 20th century figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

But back to 'War and Peace' - I admit I have a copy but haven't managed to get through it. Yet. It's one of those things I plan to do when I have a year or two to spare. 

I should have read it really because part of my university degree was about modern Russian economic and social history and 'War and Peace' is set in the period before the Russian Revolution and the Soviet era. The novel includes the stories of five Russian aristocratic families - the kind of family that Tolstoy himself was born into - and covers their experiences from the French invasion of Russia in 1812, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society. It also includes chapters on philosophy and history, so it's a pretty good narrative on the culture and systems which preceded modern Russia.

As I said before, the book was first published serially and then in its entirety in 1869. It is still regarded as one of Tolstoy's finest literary achievements and to this day remains an internationally praised classic of world literature.

Leo TolstoyThere are so many quotes attributed to Leo Tolstoy - not least from 'War and Peace'. But it's some of his more philosophical thoughts on love, life and faith as well as 'war and peace' that I am impressed by and which challenge my thinking and behaviour.

As I said, he did become a person of great faith and even though he was a controversial character I love this quote from him which looks at the impact we have on others. It's an insight into how our actions may affect the lives of those around us, and a reflection on how we treat others which may lift their spirts as well as our own.

It's also a reminder that one small act can ultimately impact not just one other person, but hosts of others, if the 'light' of kindness, compassion and love is passed on.

It's such a wise thought and it encourages me, today, to be a light in the world rather than adding to the darkness.

Now back to that 'complication' about the date of Leo Tolstoy's birth which I mentioned at the start.

Leo was actually born on August 28th 1828 ... but THAT was in what is known as the 'Old Style' dating system ... under what is known as the Julian calendar, In various European countries this dating system was replaced by the Gregorian calendar between 1582 and the twentieth century. And those using the Julian system 'lost' around 10 days of the calendar when they switched to the Gregorian way of calculating time.

That switch to what was known in Russia as the "Western European calendar" was implemented in Soviet Russia in February 1918 - which effectively meant that the Julian dates of 1–13 February 1918 were dropped. One day it was the 30th January and then everyone woke up to the 14th of February! That must have been really confusing.

And so, even though the change came almost a century after Tolstoy was born ... August 28th becomes September 9th! 

Happy birthday Leo!

 


Be Someone's Window

If you read this blog regularly ... first THANK YOU ... and second you'll know that in recent days I've been thinking a bit about kindness.

As I explained a couple of days ago, it may become a bit of a theme for the final quarter of this year because I'm writing a book about the subject. 

If you have any stories you'd like to share with me about kindness - things that have been done for you or kindnesses which you have shared with others, then please feel free to drop me a line at cathy@cathylefeuvre.com or via the contacts page on my main website.

Be Someone's WindowOver the months I've also collected some amazing 'thoughts' and sayings related to kindness ... and here's a brilliant one for this Wednesday, which reminds us that when we extend kindness to others, it can be a way of bringing hope to a hopeless soul.

That hand of friendship, extended to someone who's lost and lonely.

That smile shared with someone who may feel that no one cares.

I'm not talking about things that cost lots of money, but just small acts of kindness shared not just with those nearest to us, or those we feel comfortable around, or those who are 'like us' ... but kindnesses for the stranger, for those who we may not necessarily see are part of 'our' circle.

I'm sure there have, for all of us, been times in our lives when we've felt alone, unloved and hopeless. Things haven't gone the way we planned or dreamed.

Then, out of the blue, someone smiles or picks up the phone to chat to us, or sends us a message on social media and once again we feel connected.

Those little moments of HOPE in our lives which, as this lovely quote says, warms us like the sun and brings us back to life.

So today, maybe let's all think of someone we can be kind to.

Even if we don't PLAN an act of kindness  - the best ones are often unplanned - let's take any opportunity presented to us to share a kindness.

Let's be someone's window and share a little bit of hope with those we meet!

Have a great day everyone!

 




We can be Kind

If you joined me yesterday, you'll know that here in Jersey, Saturday September 4th was a day to celebrate kindness at the fourth Jersey Kindness Festival.

I've been working with the festival organiser Brian Clarke, founder of Kindness Connects here in our lovely island, to promote the event which was held in the beautiful setting of St Aubin's harbour.

Kindness is a big thingAround 30 charities were there, talking to people and showing what they do every day to share kindness in our island. 

There was loads of fun for all the family, and art and music ... it was phenomenal.

Hopefully the thousands who came along will have been inspired, to be kinder in their daily lives but maybe even to help some of the charities in their work. 

Kindness, as this image says, is a REALLY big deal ... it can make a difference to everyone ... those who receive the kindness and those who give it. 

Yesterday I saw Kindness in Action and it was a privilege. I was at the Kindness Festival all day just helping out and I have to admit, today I'm pretty tired.

So I'm not going to try to wax lyrical  ... there will be more about kindness coming down the line because as I also told you yesterday, I'm actually also writing a book about the subject.

Today I'm just going to share a song with you which says it better than I do I think.

It's from the British singer/TV presenter Aled Jones and, I have to admit, it's one of my favourites on my playlist.

Enjoy and be inspired!

Have a kind day everyone!

 

 


Celebrating Kindness!

Today in Jersey in the Channel Islands we will celebrate Kindness!

Kindness Festival Sept 2021It's the fourth biennial Jersey Kindness Festival - previous events happened in 2015, 2017 and 2019 - and it's a celebration of all the people here in our lovely island who live lives of kindness. Simple really.

At the beautiful harbourside in the village of St Aubin around 30 charities will set up stall to show off what they do, to chat to people, to have fun, and to show how every day their acts of kindness are making a difference to those living in our island and to the world.

Each of the charities has been tasked with bringing something fun to the party - so there are competitions and face-painting, arts and crafts, sculpting, yoga, hand reflexology and lots of conversations to be had.

It'll be educational as well. There's a chance to walk through a giant inflatable bowel - yes, you heard right - and to see how a specially adapted car works for disabled people.

And, one of the most favourite fun things to do, I'm sure, will be free pats with a Therapy Dog.

In the St Brelade's Parish Hall which is also on the harbourside there's an Affordable Art Show, with all the proceeds of sales going to the charities involved in the Kindness Festival.

Because of the COVID19 pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions, for the charities taking part, this will be the first time many of them will have had a chance to meet the public face-to-face and there will be loads of smiles all round.

Now, you might be wondering why I know so much about this event.

Well, it's because over the past few months I've been helping the organiser, Brian Clarke, to promote the event. And I shall be there, in the sunshine, to help out!

As you'll know if you've been following my daily blog since the start of the year, at the end of March I lost my job with the BBC so I've been doing a few writing and PR jobs in the past months. And the Kindness Festival popped up quite early. In my previous life as a radio producer and presenter I worked with Brian and covered the three previous Kindness Festivals, including interviewing and reporting from the festival itself.

It's been fun being involved again, from a different perspective, and it also fits in perfectly with another new project that's on the cards for me.

A few years ago I wrote a fun book with a friend of mine - Debbie Duncan. 'Lifelines' is the story of two friends sharing laughter, challenges, and cake and now I'm writing another book with Debbie ... and it's all about ..... KINDNESS!

Forgive me if over the next few months as I enter the final quarter of this year-long blog, I mention kindness a few more times.

I'm doing lots of reading about kindness and doing interviews and chatting to people, and in fact today at the Kindness Festival I'll also be doing just that! What a great opportunity to have loads of kind people in one place to chat to!

Kindness is freeIf I didn't know it already, I'm learning kindness is something that really defines us as humans. Anthropologists believe kindness is the strongest possible proof of our common humanity. Co-operation is the reason why, anthropologists believe, humanity has evolved and developed over more than 600 centuries.

All the science aside, of course we also know that kindness makes a difference, not just to those who are on the receiving end of kindnesses, whether they are 'random' acts or not, but also it affects the person who is GIVING the kindness. 

When you do something good for someone, it makes YOU feel great. To see someone else's smile is amazing.  Hopefully we're not kind to others to make OURSELVES feel good, but it can be a side effect.

Performing acts of kindness, with no thought of a return will, bit by bit, act by act, prove life-changing for giver and receiver alike.

We can all make a difference – and we can all help to change to the world! 

Today we'll celebrate kindness, and all those people who do so much to share kindness and make our world a better place, but kindness is something we can all do ... it costs nothinbut it is a great gift!

Be Kind to each other everyone!

And it you're in Jersey today ... we'd love to see you at the Kindness Festival!

 

 


What's in a Name?

I'm thinking about names today.

Not just our actual birth name, or the name you have chosen for yourself, but how we are known in the world, and to those around us.

On this day - 22 July - in 1478 a man called Philip was born. He would become ruler of the  Burgundian Netherlands which is sort of the area which now incorporates among other locations, present-day Belgium, The Netherlands  and Luxembourg.

He was also titular Duke of Burgundy (1482 - 1506) in present-day France. And he was the first Habsburg King of the Spanish kingdom of Castile for a brief time in 1506, before his death in September of that year, when he was had the regnal title of Philip I. 

Philip the HandsomeHe was born into royalty and power. All these titles and territories were part of Philip's inheritance ... he was the son of  Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and Mary of Burgundy, and he was less than four years old when his mother died, and upon her death, he inherited the Burgundian Netherlands. An arranged marriage in 1496 to Joanna, the second daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, put him in line for more.

When her mother died in 1504, Joanna inherited the thrones of Castile and Aragon, and she became Queen of Castile which meant that Philip was proclaimed King in 1506, Sad story but when he died a few months later Joanna was left distraught with grief which gave her father, and her own son, Charles, an opportunity to seize power. Joanna was deemed insane and imprisoned for the rest of her life.

Life was harsh in those says. 

An aside here, Joanna was actually an elder sister to Catherine of Aragon, who would later become Queen of England, and the first of King Henry VIII's six wives!

But back to Philip ... he apparently was well known not just for his status and titles, but also for his good looks. He had fair hair and 'attractive grey-blue eyes' and so he became known as 'Philip the Handsome' or 'Philip the Fair'.

So, with all the things he did in his life, all the places he owned and the countries he reigned over, the obvious love he shared with his wife given her grief when he passed away, Philip's overriding legacy is that he was good looking!

Now, I don't know what he was like as a man, maybe he enjoyed that sort of admiration, perhaps he was vain and loved all the attention. But he might also be turning in his grave, wanting to shout out very loudly ...  'I WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST PRETTY!'

Which has got me thinking.

How do I want to be remembered? In fact, how do YOU want to be remembered when you have shuffled off this mortal coil?

What will our legacy be?

Philip is known as 'Philip the Handsome'. Do you want to be remembered just as 'Polly the Pretty' or 'George the Good Looking?' 

How about 'Rachel the Rich' or 'Fred the Financier'? 'Peter the Powerful'? 'Brenda the Business Owner'? 'Cathy the Clever'? 'Norah the Negative'?

'Patsy from the Posh House'? 'Bernard with the Big Car'? 'Dorcas of the Designer Outfits'? 

I've just picked names out of the blue here ... no offense intended. But you see what I'm getting at?

How do I want to be remembered?

'Cathy the Rich, Famous, gorgeous'?' The person who lived in a big house, drove a huge car, wore designer gear and had a huge bank account? The person who was defined by the job they did, but not much more? The man or woman who went to flash parties and showed off a lot?

Or would I rather my legacy be more meaningful?

'Cathy the Compassionate'?

'Philip the Protector?'

'Bernard the Brave'? 'Patsy the Prayerful'? 'Charles the Caring'? 'Keith the Kind'? 'Rachel the Respectful?' 'Fred the Forgiving'? 'George the Generous'? 'Harriet the Hospitable'? 'Laura the Loving'? 'Polly the Peaceful'? 'Thomas the Thankful'? 'Norah  ... the Positive'?

When people think about us, and about our name, what 'values' might they assign to us? What will they remember us for? Will they remember our smile, our kindness, our caring nature, the love we gave?  Or will they remember that we lived in the big house, drove the big car, was obsessed by our looks and our status in life with little thought of others?

What's in a Name?

As I remember Philip the Handsome today, I'm minded to also think on this ... and to maybe consider a change in my attitude and behaviour now, before it's too late.

What's in MY Name?

Big Thinking Stuff for a Thursday!