As I’ve mentioned, I’m reading Pam Grout’s E Cubed, and in it she tells the story of Patch Adams, the man behind the movie, starring the late Robin Williams, that somehow I intended to see long ago but never did.
Adams was a troubled young man, on the brink of suicide, when he entered a psych ward in Fairfax, VA. He stayed just two weeks and walked out a changed man. Having roomed with a patient worse-off than him, Adams developed a compassion and empathy he had never known and came to the realization that happiness is an intentional decision.
He devoted himself to learning everything he could about love, happiness, and friendship, and developing a joy-filled life. He practiced friendliness by giving himself challenges–like calling 50 numbers in the phone book, seeing how long he could keep people on the phone. He’d ride elevators to see how many floors it took to get riders introduced and singing songs. Once he went to a bar and refused to leave until he’d heard every patron’s story. -Pam Grout, E Cubed
He went on to study medicine and became a doctor in Washington DC where he continues to share his love and light and passion for peace, justice and care for all people.
This story made me smile, because most days I feel a little like Patch Adams. (Except, I’m not a fan of clowns. Sorry, Patch.)
Having overcome depression myself and feeling blessed with the gift of what feels like a new life, I can’t help but devour everything out there on happiness, success, and personal freedom so that I might best share all I’ve discovered and continue to learn.
Life now has a playfulness to it I never fully trusted. I find ways to laugh and smile and sing and dance each day, no matter what. How could I not share such a gift?
Sometimes we think we need credentials to make a difference or to have reached a certain pinnacle of success. Make at least three strangers smile tomorrow and challenge that belief. Make it a daily practice and it just might change your life.
I leave you with this: Be the light, and feel the love.
Today’s kindness adventure:
*I got an email that my air miles were going to expire 12/31, so I quickly started looking at magazine subscriptions and whatever else I could buy with them. Then I noticed a donate button. Realizing I don’t need another darn thing, I donated my air miles to an organization that can use them for charity: airlink.org
*Standing face-to-face with a man on a crowded train, I noticed that he still had the clear XXL sticker on the new shirt he was wearing. I kept staring at his chest; I couldn’t help it. Finally, I silenced my audiobook to let him know. I imagined he had gone all day with nobody telling him. We exchanged some cute but mildly awkward words after, which normally would have kept me from saying something, but it was rather sweet actually.
*I overheard a guy at the studio where we’d just taken class together ask for a plastic bag for his sweaty stuff. The instructor apologized that there weren’t any. I double checked to see if I had extra and I did. (I often have sweaty stuff so it’s not uncommon to have bags stuffed somewhere in my backpack.) Clearly it was no big deal to me, hardly a huge gesture of kindness, but perhaps it was because I was in Manhattan and people aren’t always the nicest there, the guy treated me like the Dalai Lama.
It made me realize, it sure doesn’t take much;)
*Nearing the top of the stairs of the 4 train, I saw a little old woman and her cane struggling with her bag. When I asked if she was OK, she disregarded the fact she was carrying a bag and proceeded to tell me all about her heartburn. She showed me where she could feel it right in her chest. We talked about her discomfort for a few moments before she asked what I might suggest, lol. I tried to remember the commercials I’d seen years ago. I’ve never had heartburn. I think it’s Tums that they take, I said. She was very appreciative. I think you’re right, she said. And off we went our separate ways, wishing each other a great night.
I’m smiling wide now recounting the story;)
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!