Gently Shaking the World

October 3, 2013

Dear ServiceSpace Love Warriors,

Yesterday was Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. Many of us in ServiceSpace have been inspired by the values he stood for. "In a gentle way, you can shake the world," he once said and my inbox was really feeling the truth of that. :)

KindSpring's 21-day Kindness Challenge drew to a close yesterday. This simple initiative asked people to commit to doing one small act of kindness a day for 21 straight days. 6000 people across 98 countries signed up and unleashed a tidal wave of good that none of us saw coming! In the last month participants posted more than three thousand stories on the site catalyzing thirty-six thousand comments and countless smiles. Thousands of fans joined KindSpring on FaceBook, as stories of pay-it-forward coffee, surprise flowers on someone's doorstep, bills paid for a stranger, thank you notes to Moms and Dads, and so much more began to flood the ether.

Then came the world debut of the spectacular Being Kind music video!  It was led by rap-artist Nimo (returning to the music scene after a 7-year hiatus) and produced by our collective as a thank-you to all the love warriors who participated in Kindness Challenge.  In less than 24 hours of being featured on DailyGood and KarmaTube "Being Kind" is going viral and the comments its generating are beyond heartwarming.  Many cried, many shared it with "everyone I know", many already played at school assemblies.  "Sometimes I get a little tired! Your video has 'rekindled the coals'. Thank you, thank you, thank you."  "Thanks for reinstating the faith that kindness is the most simple and available answer we all have in our daily lives. It is time we wake up to its potential in changing the world...and enhance our own in the process - what else is the essence of being human?"

Hundreds of messages of hope and compassion shuttle across the ServiceSpace wires literally every hour of the day. These small messages can, in a gentle way, rock somebody's world and restore their faith in kindness and love. To be an instrument in that process is simply -- priceless.

Priceless is a good word to bring into focus, because really that's what our entire approach is rooted in. The music video for instance -- its entire creation from conception to delivery into people's inboxes took less than a week.  And it was crafted, produced, and distributed entirely by volunteers operating on  zero budget. Just as a labor of love. There's no other way it could have come together. Because practically speaking it wasn't possible to do this in such a short amount of time. Thankfully, love isn't always practical, and serendipity has a way of showing up when hearts align :) With Nimo's musical brilliance, Guri's masterful laddership, and Sima and Sachi's enthusiastic videography, right things showed up at just the right time.  Things flew together -- powered by several sleepless nights, boundless enthusiasm and sheer love the impossible turned possible. As Sachi once wrote: "It was a different kind of a high ... in serving others, we served our own self." How do you put a price-tag on any of this? You can't. It's just -- priceless.

In this endless chain of goodness, we don't know where the beginning is, or the end. But our simple mantra is this: The ripple shall not end with me :)  With gratitude we just keep trying to pay-it-forward. In this spirit, David is launching KindSpring radio this weekend, Keith is piloting Karma Cinema, and Candace is working on a Mandarin version of Smile Decks. :)  In Bombay, Amitabh Bachchan voluntarily joined MAM's Yes, I am the Change event last night; our local posse in New York, just finished their quarterly retreat; in Hawaii, Heidi started a weekly Awakin gathering.  After attending Karma Kitchen for the first time this Sunday, a long-time community leader had this to say about his experience: "The people in this space don’t feel like strangers; we feel like a big, global family." That spirit of global oneness was honored by our brothers-in-service Pancho and Sam by pedaling their way from Oakland to the Santa Clara Awakin gathering, and back.

The Kindness Challenge naturally gave birth to the Gratitude Challenge that soft launched today.  Already 230 individuals have signed up, each one citing their unique inspiration: "Because my family and I enjoyed the kindness challenge so much. It made us realize that even though we do a number of kind things each day it is important to recognize them and to continue them and acknowledge them so you do not lose sight of doing them."  "Some people came in my life and showed me incredible kindness ...the time has come for me to realize that and show my gratitude."  "Hoping that by showing gratitude for what I do have will help me with the grief I have over the passing of my parents."

All this just in the space of a day.  It just keep rolling in.  Just now: "I loved your video; I am going to put it on my autistic son's mp3 player. Through my son, I have seen that our lives depend on the kindness and love of others. I am so grateful; thank you."

What can one say to all this? Perhaps just that the spirit of Gandhi is alive and well in our world.

Thank you for your friendship in gently shaking the world.

In service,



Projects I'm Involved With

"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."