Sunday, July 29, 2007

daily practice: random acts of kindness

Quick story. At lunch with a colleague two weeks ago we talked about each of our "daily practices". By the end of our conversation I realized we employed different practices, but shared similar ideas of what we hoped to achieve through our respective activities.

For reference purposes, here's an article on the topic. And another. Whoops, still another.

I came to appreciate each of us employed a daily practice to help foster a state of mindfulness, among other goals. I know he's successful at it because I see the results each day.

A related quick story. Following the first anniversary of Citizen Agency, HorsePigCow author and marketing wunderkind Tara Hunt wrote a very insightful article on the so-called "gift economy" and the role of "gifting" in her business. It's worked very well for her, which makes me happy.

I read her article the same day that I had my "daily practice" lunch. And two pieces suddenly connected.

A daily practice grounded in this concept of "gifting" would be committing random acts of joy and kindness. Unexpected by their recipients and dispensed without craft or prejudice, this is a profoundly disruptive and visible daily practice. No sitting zazen here - you must be in the world to play this game.

All you'd have to do is stop worrying about what people think of you. And so we discover the rate limiting step - being joyfully whimsical and kind is not so very far away from being foolish, in the classic (and best) sense. Are you prepared to look foolish? To be foolish?

Would you need to emulate Hotei, or perhaps the character found in the tenth Ox Herding Picture, to make this a reality?

Not sure. Stepping out over the cliff in the belief that good will come of good is a one-way trip.

It's been a long day - good night.

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