'; Inger Kenobi | Christmas cCHALLENGE
I'm an author and a personal life coach for the adventurous and ambitious ones.
My challenge
Random Acts of Kindness.

Day 30: Q and A

1.       1. What am I left with after these 30 days? There is no downside to being more generous and doing more random acts of kindness.

2.       2. Have I had any aha moments? Not really. Maybe I’ll have some brilliant insights later. 

3.       3. Will you bring your experiment with you in the new year? For sure! I’ve promised myself that every time I go grocery shopping, I’ll donate food to the foodbank. Stuff like that. Small acts that are easy to integrate and rewarding to engage in.

Day 26: Thank you, kind stranger

I went up a small mountain today. Up, up, up! Easy and rewarding. On the way down I was overly cautious, fully aware that most accidents happen after reaching the summit. Plus I had unwisely brought a handbag instead of a backpack, so I both felt and looked clumsy.  Suddenly this hand appeared before me, like you read about in the Bible or fairytales or something, and I looked up and saw it belonged to a smiley, helpful young man. I took the hand, and as a result I managed to get down the most muddy part with at least a sliver of style. So even though I’m the one who’s supposed to be ultra generous and kind this month, I’m also embracing the kindness of strangers. This whole kindness thing is win, win, win.  

Day 20: The Dirt on Receiving

The other day I was having a Christmas meal with some ladies in the village. Suddenly the the pub owner materialised and offered to buy us all a drink. Our response should have been, ‘Yes, please! Thank you!’ Instead there was a lot of demure murmuring and a rapid exchange of insecure glances.

This is not unusual. As a rule of thumb, most people freak out when you try to give them stuff. Not birthday gifts and such, but when the gift arrives out of the blue.  Instead of being delighted, most people act like they’ve just been sand-bagged.

One time a friend of mine complimented me on my coat. I was kind of sick of it, so I took it off and gave it to her. She just stared at me, her mind unable to process what was happening. Then the protests began, which I cut off mid-stream by saying, ‘Never prevent someone from being generous. It’s not nice.’

Why am I bringing this up? Because I think it’s important to allow people to be generous. You don’t have to be generous in return. You don’t owe anyone anything. There is no tit-for-tat. Sometimes we just want to give stuff away, or buy you a drink, or be a big spender. Don’t get all bent out of shape. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and move on.

What does this have to do with sustainability and green Christmas celebrations? Not entirely sure. I’m just exploring all sides of random acts of kindness and reporting back what I see.

Onwards!  

Day 18: The Generosity Experiment

Finding inspiration from this TED Talk toady. 

Onwards and upwards!

 

Day 15: The gift that keeps on giving

There is no downside to being a generous person. Participating in acts of random kindness is never going to turn out bad. We know this , and yet it can be easy to get caught up in self-doubt and second guessing. What if they don’t like it? They probably have this already. What about the environment?  I have to admit, having to think about the environment ON TOP OF being generous and looking for fun gifts is super annoying. A whole category of gifts is suddenly off limits. But it also opens up other possibilities. Like, giving of time (I’ll help you with that project),  sharing ideas (I know just the book for you!), and exchanging skills (I would love to chop your firewood!).  Bottom line, the spirit og generosity emanates in countless, surprising ways. And guess what? As I’ve become more generous myself, I’ve also received a lot more gifts in return. Flowers. Chocolate. Invitations. Compliments. Ideas. Support. Being generous is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Day 10: The Gift of TIme

December is a busy month. So busy, in fact, that it can be challenging to find time for each other. 

Which is kind of ironic, seeing how this is the season to be fun and merry. It’s all about friendship and family. No one wants to be like the friend-version of Scrooge, but it’s an easy enough trap to fall into.

 To counteract this tendency, I’m going to call an old friend. Right now. She’s struggling. We live too far apart. I can’t just pop by and make her a cup of tea and listen to her stories, but I can call her on Skype.

Do I have time for this? Not really. I’m outlining a new program, planning a trip, writing a book, buying gifts, and looking for new songs on Spotify. Plus I have to exercise and wash my hair. And send off emails, make dinner (vegan option?) and remember to wish my uncle Happy Birthday.

Are any of those things more important than being there for a friend? Not so much.

I’m calling her now. 

So long! #randomactsofkindness

Day 8: Fun and Games!

December. The month of over-spending and under-joying. The stress of finding THE perfect gift can suck the life out of the best of us. And in an attempt to give a ‘sustainable’ gift that translates our values and love for endangered spices, we often end up giving lame-ass gifts that might as well be a fair trade banana wrapped in a brown paper bag. 

Where is the joy in that? 

My favourite gift is experiences. Something with an element of surprise. Out of the comfort zone and into the adventure zone. 

This summer I took my sister on a speedboat ride into Prekestolen, James Bond style. Fun! It wasn’t her birthday. It wasn’t a special occasion, I just was inspired to do something out of the ordinary. 

Christmas, thought? I feel the best solution is to not make such a big deal out of it. Spend less.  Laugh more. Instead of all this pressure around this one particular day, be more generous all year around. Give when the sprit moves you. Surprise someone. 

Yesterday I gave away two gorgeous Christmas decorations. The recipients were over the moon! ‘A wooden stag! It’s gorgeous! You shouldn’t!’ 

Yes, I should. But only when the spirit moves me. Next time you might get a fair trade banana in a brown paper bag. 

Day 6: Gold and Giraffes.

If you ever wanted to visit all the old gold-mining towns that sprung up like weeds during the Californian gold-rush, you would eventually come across a small town named Junction City. Not so much a town as it is a cute post office snuggled up next to a gas station that is also a grocery store.

You know, one of those places you drive by and never think of again.  

Only a gong-ho historian would be able to see passed the sleepy façade and know that this place used to be a go-go-go scene for investment bankers and emerging business men hoping to grab more than their faire share of the gold.

I bring  Junction City up for two reasons. One, to illustrate how our environment shape the lives and destinies of the people who live there. When the environment changes—gold rush, forest fires, flood, earthquakes—the lives of the people who live there is forced to change and adapt with it. We used to have more control over that change. Some might argue we (humans) used to be the driving force behind these drastic changes.

But now?

With the rise of unpredictable and extreme weather patterns, things are spinning rapidly out of control. Who knows what the place we call home will look like a decade from now? What will our street look like in December, 2019?

The second reason I bring up Junction City is because I used to live there. Actually, I lived at a small Tibetan Buddhist community just up the road from that gas station/post office combo. There were thirty or so of us, living together on 200 acres. Magic. 

One of these people were Helene, the recipient of my next random act of kindness. Which is extremely fitting, seeing how Helene and that community thought me everything I know about generosity. People gave of their time, energy, and resources. In spades. We also had a Free-Box where people donated everything they no longer needed. Clothes. Books. CD players, Tea sets. So brilliant. I loved it. My entire wardrobe came from the Free-Box. In other words, everything I wore was the result of other people’s random acts of kindness.

‘You get what you want by giving it,’ was a phrase I often heard. I also found this quote by the Dalai Lama really inspiring, ‘Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.’

So as a small gesture of gratitude and kindness, I send my friend these cute giraffe cards. I picked them up last time I was in London. She loves giraffes. I love lions. She still live in the States. I now live in England. By sending these cards, I hope we’ll pick up our old habit of sending each other cards and letters. Receiving a handwritten letters is sometimes the greatest gift of all.

 

See you all in a few days. 

 

Day 4: Random acts of kindness

I continue the journey of giving a gift everyday.  Today that meant that my hairdresser received a crazy big tip. She deserved it. I mean, look at my new hairstyle! It’s awesome  

The weeks leading up to Christmas can often feel like a giant ‘must-find-the-right-gift’ stress fest. It’s a study in over-consumerism mixed with an un-healthy doze of people pleasing. So much inner turmoil. So much drama  And not without reason. Most people have more stuff than they could possible handle, and according to a study in The Guardian only 1% of our gifts are in use after Christmas. That’s just depressing. (Read full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/on-12th-day-christmas-present-junk) 

So why this gift-giving challenge? Because I love random acts of kindness. I love seeing something and think, ‘I know just the right person for this!’ It’s fun to be generous. It’s nice. And there is a lot of freedom in being spontaneous and giving. 

Wonder who I will surprise tomorrow? 

 

 

 

Day 3: Let’s talk about generosity

I’ve set out to give a gift everyday, and I’m excited about this challenge for three reasons.

  1. I get to flex my generosity muscles.
  2. Everybody loves a surprise gift. 
  3.  It’s fun.  

 

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how this challenge fits in with climate change and sustainable living, but I have a feeling that any endeavour that takes the focus away from myself and shines a spotlight the art of generosity must be good for the planet and its people.

Just a hunch.

So what have I given away so far? This weekend I took my mom out for lunch in Bath, I’ve given away a coaching session, and today I’m sending a off a book to a friend who lives too far away.

That’s all I’ve got so far. No big insights. Nothing too challenging. But it’s early days. Anything can happen between now and Christmas.

So long!