Oct 24, 2015
Guests: Michelle Rosen (Mish) and Mindy Weber
Theme: Sisters in Kindness: Transforming Self through Service and Kindness to Others
Host: Deven P-Shah
Moderator: Nicole Huguenin
Deven (Host): [This reflection] touched me so deeply. Let me read it. The reflection came from Cynthia:
“Mish and Mindy, you share so much and are beloved by so many!!!! I often find myself at a loss for words when there is something I care deeply about/strongly believe in. KindSpring is one of those very special things. Even if writing and/or speaking does not flow for me today, please know that I am present, listening, and co-creating... in my own small, quiet way :) If so, then let my reflection be wholly from the heart, beaming back some of the positive energy (light and love) that you send out continuously, unconditionally to us all…”
That embodies the spirit so well. We literally are listening and being our natural selves and holding the space. It's so beautiful. I thought I would share that with you all. That's a reflection from Cynthia...
Today we are in conversation with Mish and Mindy. For all of our regular callers, we are going to do something different and fun today. We are going to un-mute all of us, right now, and on the count of three, all of us, let us say a loud "Hi!" to Mish and Mindy.
[Everyone shouts a greeting at this point]
About our theme today, kindness and what it means, it takes me to a story... the very first year that I was in the U.S. It's fall time, the days are getting shorter. And I think around this time. It was Diwali, an Indian festival. I grew up in India. I was missing the home so much… I was very homesick. It just so happened that the clock "fell back" as we always do during fall time. I was very depressed, wishing to go home, and here it was a Monday around 5:30 or 5:45, and I stepped outside and I was shocked to see pitch-black dark outside. I grew up in tropical weather and had never seen that dark that time of the day...I had a difficult time...a terrible night. Next morning I went to school because I had nothing else to do. I went to the library, and there was this lady; her name is Michelle, too, by the way (Laughter). Michelle said "Hi!" and sported a nice, big smile on her face. That smile was full of such energy. It just gave me.... a little hope, a little energy. At her desk, she had a little frame that said "Expect Miracles, But Plant Vegetables." That day she planted seeds that are giving vegetables and fruits and flowers and colors and fragrance and everything. It is just so powerful, the power of one moment, one simple idea that she gave of herself and gave me a smile. It meant so much to me. And Nicole, I know that you have done a lot of work with KindSpring. Didn't you host a challenge on KindSpring recently? The walking challenge?
Nicole (Moderator): I do a walking challenge and actually I posted it now, three times I believe, and then tomorrow we're starting another one... a 21-day mindful walking challenge. I'm so excited, and I'm so excited for KindSpring and this call. One of the reasons I wanted to be connected a little bit closer to this call, and Mish and Mindy, is, one of the participants from my previous walking challenge is a librarian in my town. She comes running up to me one day and said "Nicole, Nicole, I have to tell you a story." I said, "What's going on?" She said "I was just at the library and I was teaching a technology class and there was this woman, a woman who seemed to be possibly homeless and was telling me her story and how she was an Army veteran from the Gulf War, and before she went to war she wanted to start a website where people could share their stories of compassion and kindness." So my friend, the librarian, remembering that she had used KindSpring to be on this challenge, told this woman about KindSpring. And this woman sat for the next three or four hours... just reading all of the stories, and everything that's on there. She was just crying. She said to my friend, "I've found my family. This is what I was dreaming of, and I'm so happy that it's already here, because I don't know how to build websites." She was just so happy. When my friend told me that, I love hearing when ripples like that happen. It was just one seed I planted with a friend, and then she planted it with this woman. The power of it.... I just don't think any of us can quantify it at all.
Deven: We have a couple of beautiful reflections. Let me read them really quickly. One is from Cathy. It says, "I great each day with a smile and hope to find a rainbow somewhere. If not, I will create it. I think when others see you doing acts of kindness, it creates space for a reaction within them to do the same. Being kind and smiling costs nothing. And what you get out of it amounts to millions." Beautiful.
And one more from Gia, and she said, "I talk to Mish and Mindy when I feel low... they are two wise, experienced souls. Their words of wisdom have always left an imprint on me. Every word finds its place. I'm so excited for this call... Nicole, if you would please, guide us in conversation with Mish and Mindy.
Nicole: I'm so excited, Mish and Mindy, to bring you in from Brooklyn, New York. I'm so excited to hear that you got into the same place for the call and could connect together in person. I think this is going to be a wonderful call. I know a lot of the KindSpring family is on our Awakin Call for the first time. That's what's so exciting. That's why we wanted to say "Hello" at the very start. For those that are new to Mish and Mindy and KindSpring, I would love the two of you to just briefly tell us the story of how you came to find KindSpring, each of you individually, and then how you each came to find each other. Just give us a quick background before we start into all the magical stories that we have to share.
Mish: This is Mish speaking, everybody. Hi, everybody. Mindy and I are just so happy to be part of this call and so honored to be part of KindSpring. I found KindSpring thanks to my beloved husband. He had sent me the weekly Awakin email from Nipun and there was a link to, at the time it was "Help Others," it wasn't KindSpring yet. Thanks to my husband, I found KindSpring. About a year after I joined, Mindy joined, and our energies were attracted to each other, our posts, our comments with each other, and we became friends on KindSpring and went on later to meet in person.
Mindy: This is Mindy speaking. I'm very grateful to be on this call. And I'm honored to be here next to Mish at her kitchen table. I found KindSpring through Nimo, his song "Being Kind." It was a link from, I think, Guideposts, on line. I listened to the song and saw a link for KindSpring. I went on there and I've been there ever since. I did even get to meet Nimo last year, which was very exciting. I got to talk about KindSpring, too. From there I saw Mish, made a couple of comments, a couple of posts, and she was always very encouraging, very supportive. I loved the community and I recognized that this was my home and I could take this home wherever I went as long as I had Internet.
Nicole: Can you tell us a bit about what you do now with KindSpring?
Mish: I'm what is called a Community Weaver. Mostly everybody on the website is a Weaver. A Weaver welcomes new members. We encourage and support the members. Wouldn't you say every member...?
Mindy: We all encourage each other.
Mish: KindSpring is a loving community of like-minded light-bearers. It's a place of transformation. The power of kindness is evident to anyone who's been on the website for any period of time, because we see people changing in front of our eyes. It's a day-to-day place we go for encouragement, uplift. I'm constantly reading posts, commenting on posts... we can send private messages to one another. We're all there to love and support each other.
Mindy: My role is similar. I might do some other things behind the scenes. But mostly my greatest joy is getting on KindSpring in the morning with my first cup of coffee --- sometimes even before and checking throughout the day if I'm able to. Often people are undergoing certain issues that we need to send positive inspiration, prayers, thoughts to. Often we are on the same wavelength a lot of times. One post will come up and someone will say, "I was just thinking that!" Or "I'm there, too. I'm grappling with the same challenge. It's an amazing transformation.... We've seen new members come on and they're a little bit shy and hesitant. I know of at least one member who's read almost everyone's posts for months before he even decided to be an active member. And it's a great honor that he said, "Okay, these people are on the up-and-up, they're authentic, and I want to join more actively this group."
Mish: And the reason it's such a powerful place is that it's totally non-judgmental, so we all trust one another, we feel safe with one another. The sharing of the kindness acts, for some people is very difficult because they feel that it's bragging. But it serves such a wonderful purpose in that it sends out inspiration. People get ideas about kindness acts they wouldn't have thought of... The ripples are sent out by people sharing kindness acts they perform, kindness acts they receive. It's beautiful... The way the world is now, with the media all you get is bad news. We start our day with KindSpring and it sets us on the right positive track and the rest of the day is just beautiful.
Nicole: I know you guys have some stories of things you've collected of the impact of KindSpring on people, as well as some poetry. I think from our call yesterday, preparing, and this morning I went and read the front feed of KindSpring, and I really was struck that these stories of kindness and compassion spread just as quickly as the negative news does. For me it's that much more important, to share those stories. It's hard for me to share stories sometimes. And I love that all can help each other out in that way. You said you compiled some of that impact that you've seen and transformation that you've seen from KindSpring. I would love it if you shared some of those stories with us... Are there any poems that might be readily available? (Laughter)
Mish: While Mindy's looking up a poem, we had asked a bunch of active members a while ago to share with us what KindSpring meant to them, so we could share it with the behind-the-scenes team leaders so they could see just how valuable what they do is. This is just a brief excerpt. One member said "KindSpring has changed my life in so many ways. It helped me to become a kinder person and do things for others that I would never have thought of doing. Every day I wake up thinking, 'How can I practice kindness today?' I look for those gifts of being kind to others. Some days that may be a friendly smile and hello, or being more courteous on the roads. Other day it may be in the form of a gift or donation to charity. I have learned that it doesn't matter about the size or monetary value of a kind act. Kindness can be practiced every single day. We've all learned that there are no small acts. That every act of kindness has an impact." Just smiling at someone... you don't know what that person's going through at that moment, and a smile could just turn their day around, taking them from despair to hope. Even if you're just standing there just visualizing shining your light on someone, you don't even have to do or say anything. Just sharing your energy is a kindness act.
Mindy: Very true. And with a smile changing someone's life it made me think of Deven's share at the beginning of the talk. What an impact THAT Michelle also had. A couple of our members have started programs. I know of one who's beginning an after-school program for children, a place to go and read and be safe, do some crafts. I know one of our members in India has a program called The Mini-Library that does a lot of good in the town that he's at, not only with the children --- they have a boys' and girls' club there --- but also with some of the mothers. He posted recently about a mother who had learned a skill and was now helping to provide for her children. Also, very big, their confidence grows. Their kindness grows. We are more confident, even if we are rejected, everybody has been rejected once in twice in our endeavors for kindness. But that's okay, because giving with an open heart is what really matters. The intent is pure, so that's fine.
Mish: Also, Mindy, my friend Mindy who flew in from Illinois to be with us. Mindy has a peace dove ministry, which you may or may not be familiar with, Nicole. Mindy has sent these peace doves all over the world because KindSpring is an international website. These peace doves enable people who are shy. I've gone on the New York subway systems and just by having a peace dove and handing it someone and saying "I'd like you to have this. My friend put blessings..." It opens up the door to people who have difficulty performing kindness acts. I would say these peace doves are flying all over the world right now. With KindSpring smile cards (Laughter). I don't know if you're familiar with the Little Free Libraries? Another member was inspired by some shares on the website to start Little Free Libraries. Some of us have donated books. I know I'm a bookaholic and my house is overflowing with books. Now I've found a place where I can recycle these books. They're sent to people to read them. Another member visits people in nursing homes. Some of these people have no family that comes to see them. Another member, she and her husband basically devoted their lives to rescuing feral cats. They foster them and then work with animal organizations and vets. They get them neutered, they find homes for them. So there are so many wonderful Light-Bearers at KindSpring and we all ignite one another.
Mindy: We inspire each other. With my peace doves, through KindSpring I formed these friendships. Someone asked "What is an origami peace dove?" Then I offered to send them some and it just grew and grew. So now they're from India to New Zealand, to Mexico, to South Africa. When I make them, it's usually when I'm on a journey or perhaps I'm meditating under my arbor. I really fold doves all the time, but it's always with a peaceful intent I infuse each with. When I give it to somebody they're giving intent is also magnified with their giving to someone else. It's through their energy that it's given to someone else. Who knows where the ripples go? I'm very grateful. It has also inspired some of our members to learn how to make their own. I had put a video on YouTube to show children in India how to make them. Also a lot of other people became interested... a lot of people are making --- I know of one member who made a poem of her own... and has translated it into German, because she lives in Germany.
Mish: We're very similar, but where Mindy is an expert at crafting these peace doves, I can't do it to save my soul (Laughter). In fact, Mindy gave away some peace doves last night. My neighbors on the block invited us all to their home last night for a big family dinner. As we were leaving, Mindy gave peace doves away.
Mindy: It was a worldwide event sort of dinner called the Shabbos Project. It was a wonderful experience. I had never been to a Jewish home and had...
Mish: Matzo ball soup... (Laughter)
Mindy: It was wonderful. I thought of one post that one of our members submitted, where she had had a ripple effect of kindness and didn't know it until years and years later. There had been an accident. She had stopped to hold the hand of a woman as she was waiting for the ambulance. Our member was very pregnant at the time. Years later, come to find out that this woman had been looking for her, had been wondering how she was, how her child was born. She always thought of her and the kindness that our member showed her, all those years later. A lot of times we don't see the kindness ripple back but we know it's out there, and it is an amazing transformation.
Mish: Tell us if we're talking too much, and you want to say something (Laughter).
Nicole: I was going to jump in. I have so many questions for you. But I do want to see if there's any poetry. Did you have one?
Mindy: Okay, I would love to read one about Mish. I wrote this just the other day when I knew our call was coming up. I never title my poems because I write them too fast. I just send them to my husband and I hope he saves them. (Laughter).
We found each other with a KindSpring accident
An intercessional gift of a kindred twinning drift
A wand of years and physical apart
Yet here where it matters we are joined in heart.
Our sisterhood is from long ago.
At least a few lifetimes or so.
We are more than two with our combined lives
Weaved across a perceptual divide.
Hand in hand we skip, grateful for the learn
Flinging our spirits awake, thankful for this gift of return.
As we harmonize our laughs,
Lighting our feet on the kindness path
Energy charges the air
As we climb those infinite stairs
Mish: Mindy is our KindSpring poet laureate. The muse is upon Mindy like you can't believe. It flows out of her.
Mindy: (Laughter).... nobody voted, that's for sure! I do credit, in my personal transformation, I do credit KindSpring with encouraging my poetry, encouraging my peace doves, encouraging my teaching of Yoga (I teach a chair Yoga class), and all this has given my tremendous confidence. Opening myself to Divine Flow. A lot of times I'll read something on KindSpring that does inspire me. Here's a poem I had written some time ago about kindness, which is one of my favorite subjects.
Nicole: Before you do that, I just want to jump in and say that poem brought tears to my eyes because I think what inspires me so much. And I'm looking at our chat window and there is comment after comment coming in, with just love for the two of you. When you read that, I had my kindness sisters and brothers going through my mind and how much love, and the connection we get to create when we engage in kindness together. Just yesterday I went on --- I walk every day --- but yesterday two friends and I decided to dance-walk down a very, very, very busy street. It's almost as hard as standing on a corner and smiling with a smile poster. By the end of it, I felt so connected to people that were already friends to me. We just shared such joy, and then also got to share smiles with so many people. And do that together. And that's what I really love about your story. You found a way to come together. You're not just sharing your story, but you've intertwined your stories and you have this relationship where the technology joined you and sparked this in-person joining of twins. I just wanted to recognize that. And it's so powerful and beautiful to hear this experience.
Mish: That's KindSpring. We're a loving... we feel like we're a family. We feel like we found our tribe. Anyone on this call who hasn't experienced KindSpring, I would hope you would come check us out. It's a very wonderful place. You are what you focus on. If you spend any amount of time on a regular basis at KindSpring, you're focusing on kindness, and it opens your heart,; all of our hearts have opened wider from being at KindSpring. You see it through eyes of love. For me, KindSpring --- every time you see a person, the first thing you think of is, an opportunity for kindness. How can I be kind?
Mindy: I really hate to say this (Laughter) but that is a great lead-in.
Nicole: Go for it!
Mindy: Every encounter is an opportunity for kindness
Every moment is a choice for happiness
Every being is a mirror for realization
Every smile is a light for the eyes
Every act is an expression of compassion
Every connection is sown with love
Everywhere, every now, the ripples are rippling
Kindness, kindness, kindness
Nicole: Thank you. Gosh, I love that. It is. Being in the present moment and really having that focus of, "I have an opportunity to choose kindness in every encounter." That's just so beautiful.
Mindy: Even if I'm tired and cranky, it doesn't take much to turn it around and put a smile on our face. When I flew out here, I was a little bit tired. We had been traveling for a while and journeying, but still it was a wonderful experience. There was the only empty seat next to me on the plane. It was right next to me. My seatmate by the window was this beautiful young woman with pink hair from Spain. She was on her whatever-device all the time. But I was weaving a bracelet, and as I finished it, I gave it to her, also with an origami peace dove. And it opened up a connect. I could see it rippling out. It was a gift from me, and it cheered me up as well.
Nicole: That's a perfect segue... Sometimes I've seen tools like KindSpring where they can just be isolating... where you share your story and that's it. The way I see you two using KindSpring and setting the bar for everybody else, is that it's this tool to connect and then you've met offline oftentimes. In fact I hear there was a KindSpring reunion recently. I would love to hear about that and hear how that came about. How you guys fostered these offline connections with the KindSpring tribe and family.
Mish: Last year, at about this time, it was October, I had invited Mindy and about four other KindSpring members all on the East Coast. One drove here from Rhode Island. Two came in from Pennsylvania. We had never met before. Each person, when we met for the first time, it wasn't like meeting a stranger. It was instant comfort. Instant connection. That's the power of kindness. We spent the day together here. We christened ourselves "Lovely Ladies of the Light." (Laughter) I'm trying to remember. There was... five of us connected. Each one of us. The smiles... There's a post on ServiceSpace that Jeff had posted about our get-together. You can see the pictures, you can see the smiles on our faces. We do connect in person. It's not just an online friend. We're hoping to get a bigger one next year for not just East Coasters. Mindy came in from Illinois for that one. We would love to meet in Hawaii, maybe, because we have a lot of members in New Zealand, Australia. We'd love to have an international meetup. Last Sunday, I met another new member for the first time. She and her husband were here from South Africa. And I found out they were going to be in the States. And I had shared that if she was going to be in the New York area, I would love to meet them. They spent the day with us, a beautiful... another instant connection. Kindness is a universal bond. You're not meeting a stranger; you're meeting a dear friend.
Mindy: Beautifully said, Mish. (Laughter) She's a wonderful hostess. It's a dream we have, but you know, dreams do... you have to dream them first before they can come true. If anybody has a house they'd like to donate in Hawaii (Laughter).
Nicole: You know, it's so funny that you guys brought that up. One of the questions I wrote down, right at the very last minute, that something told me to ask you, is: Each of you, individually and then collectively, if you could make one wish for the world, what would that be?
Mish: The first thing that comes to mind for me is world peace, and the only way we're going to get world peace is if people start loving each other. So that's my wish, love each other.
Mindy: World peace, and a KindSpring meeting in Hawaii (Laughter). We can promote it very well from there. We're so very fortunate, and I thank so many people behind the scenes who keep our space for each other. Lots of people are isolated. We're in our homes, we're out in the country, who knows where we are? A lot of times we're just opening up our computer feeling all alone, but we're not alone. We're connected through our kindness. By doing that, we inspire each other. It's an evolution. It's wonderful to see the evolution of many of our members who were hesitant to be openly kind to give something in person to someone. Anonymous is wonderful. But you can't always be anonymous. If somebody is right next to you and you want to give them something or say a kind word, it's a face-to-face kind of thing sometimes. And it's not easy.
Mish: That takes me to one very brief share from one of the members who was telling us what KindSpring means to them. They said "Mostly KindSpring is my anchor when I'm in a dark place in my life. The wonderful people on KindSpring give me that pat on the back when I need it, listen, and give me sound advice, and I know that someone is always listening," and that's what people need in the world. To be listened to and to be heard and to be cared about. So I would say listen to people, hear them, be present, don't be thinking about what you're going to say next, be there to hear what they're saying to you at that moment.
Nicole: I know, on a personal level, whenever I'm having a down day, one of the first tools I go to is bringing up KindSpring and reading all of the stories. It instantly lifts me up. It inspires me to go out the door and do something kind for a stranger with no strings attached. Yet there are strings attached, because every single time I do that, my heart just opens. It starts closed, and it just opens so wide and allows for so much more kindness. So, Gosh...
Mish: That's why that saying, "The gift is in the giving," is true, because people receiving the kindness are being gifted and the person giving the kindness is certainly being gifted. If I get off track or out of sorts I'll say to myself, "Okay, Mish, cut it out, do something for somebody," and it just changes your focus. I hope the people who created KindSpring are listening to the call now, or will hear the audio of the call, so they can see how much what they created means to us and how it's changed our world.
Mindy: That's a wonderful reflection, Mish. A lot of times, the kind act isn't --- we don't really set out to do a kindness. It becomes who we are. When we step out the door, it's whatever comes our way. We have an opportunity to meet it with a smile and with grace, or not. Our choice, most of the time, is to treat it with a smile and with a happy connect. Not that we don't all have bad days...
Mish: ... and our husbands can attest to that.
Mindy: ... oh yes.. it's called "MeanSpring" (Laughter.
Mish: Any time we get snarky with our husbands, because who are going to be snarky with except somebody you feel comfortable with? They say, "Oh, your KindSpring friends should see you now." (Laughter)
Mindy: It's a good thing they're in other rooms....
Mish: Are you listening, dear?
Mindy: My husband, I asked him recently, "What do you think of me since KindSpring?" It's been nearly two years. And he said he was really proud of me for the peace dove ministry. He said I'm just more who I'm meant to be. I'm more confident. I never did really take his advice (Laughter) but now I'm more confident in my own feelings. I just go with my universal urge, so to speak.
Mish: And it's rubbed off on our husbands, too. My husband's jogging around a big park near here, Marine Park; he's jogging around Marine Park handing out Mindy's peace doves and smile cards. They were so proud of what we do with KindSpring, he told half the people in the park. I went to the park one day and all these people I hadn't seen in a while were saying, "How do you know about this?" The enthusiasm rubs off not only on the KindSpring members but on everyone that they come in contact with.
Nicole: I love hearing that. It's so wonderful to see how it is just organically grown. It reminds me; I was out walking and I was looking at some weeds, and they were everywhere. It had rained for a week and they had sprouted so fast and spread so virally. I was watching this homeowner trying to pick them away. He looks up and says "I'm never going to win at this." I looked at him and I said, "Yeah, but they're beautiful. I know they're weeds, but they're beautiful." It reminded me of this web of kindness that we're creating when we make that choice to be kind. It creates this bond that is hard to weed back, and just spreads virally in this really magical, natural organic way. I love hearing all of these stories; I can't stop saying that. We just had a web forum come in from, I think it was Deb, and she was laughing when you guys were sharing about hosting people at your house, that you, Mish, opened your house to her three weeks after.
Mish: She was from Portland, Oregon, and we had a wonderful... She wasn't able to get here for the first Lovely Ladies of the Light reading, but we had our own one-on-one Lovely Ladies of the Light reading. Deb is a bright light at KindSpring. She's a brilliant light-sharer.
Mindy: Yes, she is.
Nicole: Is there any one story? Is it possible to pick out one story that really stands out to you, that sits with you, or is that even possible to do?
Mindy: We kind of talk about that; there are so many, and each day there's so many to identify with, so many of inspiration, it's really difficult to pick up just one.
Mish: One member who stands out in my mind --- maybe there's a link to what you're asking --- who we've all seen bloom in front of our eyes. She is now involved with Hospice work, and it doesn't get much more powerful than that, wouldn't you agree? People who didn't have confidence, who now are able to perform kindness. It's hard to pick out one story, because I've been there three years, Mindy's been there two years, and there are hundreds and hundreds, and each one is equally wonderful and valuable.
Mindy: I feel sometimes like the Grinch, whose heart grown. It has grown and grown until I almost feel like it's just going to burst. We were talking about weaving, and how we're connected. There's one more poem I'd like to read.
The energy builds as familiar nicknames begin to appear
Photo-tags of invisible connections
Spin a new world web of a kindness direction.
Can there be anything sweeter than hearing about a smile caused,
And loving light never paused?
New names pop up on the feed
Our community growing with each lead
Night and day, today and tomorrow,
We live in suspended time
Where each act is compassionately kind.
Strong are the silken threads
Weaving us to each other and out again
Joining hearts, we resolved
To spread joy's expansion together as we evolve
Mish: And that is why we call Mindy the KindSpring poet laureate, and why we invite everybody in. Because we are all united, ignited, and delighted, by KindSpring. We're an army of foot-soldiers changing the world with small acts of kindness, and kindness connects all of us, heart to heart.
Nicole: That's just beautiful. I love how the two of you are definitely sisters and twins. (Laughter).
Mindy: Yes, we are.
Nicole: In a beautiful way. You balance out so beautifully the kindness-weaving. It's wonderful. Deven, I want to bring you back in. It's right about time. I feel that is a good place to stop and just allow our callers to come in and share. I feel like there's a lot of stories. We've been getting a lot of comments on our feed. I'd love to start that conversation and share some more stories.
Deven: We have a number of comments in our live stream.... We have a couple of shares as well that we'd like to open up to... Let me read one comment that I have here. It's from Barbara:
"..It is great to smile 24 hours daily. It is great to listen to sharing kindness. Blessings and love, with lots of light to you, Mish and Mindy. I don't have questions. I wanted to share that...." It's a beautiful share.
Jeff (Caller): This is Jeff. Hello, we're privileged to hear both of you on the call today. I've had the privilege of meeting these two lovely ladies and I have to tell everyone that they're just as lovely in person as they are online or on the phone. One of the things that really inspires me about both of you is, I don't know how you do it, but you guys find the time to comment and encourage so many on the site. I just think that's a phenomenally awesome and enabling thing you guys do. I see so many members out there who take that extra step into the kindness community or take that chance to do something just because they were inspired or motivated by both of you. You guys do a great job of watching out for the site. You're really the guardians of KindSpring nowadays. You watch out for things that are going wrong, you're great about helping new members and encouraging folks. Ultimately just a great kindness for the community, for anybody who has problems. One thing you see, and I've heard from some of the different comments, is how the community really looks to you when they have any questions at all. And I think both of you are fantastic at making everyone feel so welcome. I just want to say, personally, thank you so much for sharing your hearts, and your talents, Mindy with your poems and Mish with your 28-hour days you must have that you get a lot of stuff done on the weaving side. I just want to thank you both.
Mindy: We thank you for everything you do, Jeff.
Jeff: So many of us, myself included, we're kinder because of you. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you and keep doing the great job you're doing.
Mish: Loves and kisses, Jeff.
Mindy: Jeff, you're going to make me cry. Happy tears. Thank you very much. The more energy I put into KindSpring, the more I receive as well. It's a blessing.
Deven: Thank you so much, Jeff. And thank you, Mish and Mindy, for continuing to be yourselves.
Susan (Caller): I just wanted to compliment the two wonderful ladies who shared their inspiration and love and desire to help make the world a better place. I know Mish, but I don't know Mindy, and it's now great that I know two people who are sharing a wonderful vision to help everybody enjoy life better, be happier, kinder. So thank you so much.
Mish: Thank you, Susan. Good to hear your voice.
Mindy: Thank you, Susan. I feel I've met you in this call. Nice to meet you, Susan. Kindness to you always.
Deven: Thank you for that touching and beautiful share.
Susanna (Caller): I am so excited about meeting the both of you... I wanted to tell you I loved the whole thing, and it has just changed my whole life. It's been such a pleasure to be able to be part of it. Every morning I wake up, all I want to do is just go on the computer and just read everything that someone's written and just get involved with it. I just wanted to thank you so very much.
Mish: And thank you for all your wonderful energy at the website.
Mindy: It's wonderful to hear your voice. And you know, I think you do sound a little bit like me. (Laughter)
Susanna: I do think so, I really do. Thank you very much, I really love it. Thanks, ladies.
Mindy: Thank you very much, as well. We enjoy your posts and comments.
Deven: Speaking to the power of the Internet and KindSpring, it's just amazing. It's connecting so many people from all corners of the world.. and how cool it is right now to have this conversation where we get to hear the voice sometimes behind the message as well.
Bradley (Caller): Hi, this is Bradley from, I guess, Palo Alto now. I just wanted to say I too was fortunate to meet Mish and Mindy back in August and I wanted to extend all my gratitude. I'm actually late for a compassion class I'm going to. One story I wanted to say on KindSpring that really touched me and that I'll never forget is about a young girl in South Dakota who was going through some struggles. And I'm hoping she's listening to this call.
Mish: Thank you for the wonderful lemon bars you made, Bradley.
Deven: How magical, the synergy of kindness. I say that because you were on an Awakin Call not too long ago. It was so much fun then as well. Thank you so much for sharing today.
Khmbai (Writing online): Hello to Mindyji and Mishji. I'm very happy with KindSpring. I practice it.... in my daily routine work. I'm very inspired by Mindy's dove peace mission. I have a question. How can we make a balance between virtual life and real life?
Mindy: First, I'd love to say hello to Khmbai. He is a special member on KindSpring. He does so much work with the group of children at the mini-library. I think he first joined our KindSpring group as one of the so-called recipients of the prize to promote kindness was his idea. I believe his library started with just a bookshelf full of books and has grown and grown and grown. How to balance work and kindness? Fortunately, I am not a full-time employee anywhere. Where I do work is with Yoga. My chair Yoga class. I take my kindness with me. I put it in the meditation that we do. I always have my focus on kindness. I think that's a big concern for many of our members who do work full-time: how do they bring kindness to their workplace? It really begins within. If you have this focus of kindness and of a positive attitude even when someone throws something at you that is heavy-handed or negative, you can keep this calm, positive focus within you. It's kind of a storm that twirls around you, but you are the center and you are the calmness within the storm. I have that physically present itself in my life once I first joined KindSpring. My husband and I were driving on the interstate and a tornado came to be. And hail. And it was every fear I could have ever imagined. And then I took my husband's hand and I prayed aloud and I felt this calmness come over me. And it's never really left. I would say I have found that it's not dependent on any outer manifestations. It really, really is within. So thank you, Khmbai, for the question, and it was good to hear from him.
Mish: I don't have much more to add to that, except whatever I get online from KindSpring carries over onto my offline life because my focus is light and kindness. I stay centered in my light-center, so I'm constantly bringing myself back to my light-center. Mantras help me to have balance in my life. If I'm feeling overwhelmed or in a situation where I feel I need light, one of my mantras is "In the now, centered in light, radiating love, finding the blessing." You're focused in on --- whatever's going on around you is going to come from a place of love and light.
Deven: How touching! And in many ways, maybe KindSpring can be that source of light, an inspiration that can't help but carry through with people with people around us and going back to KindSpring to refuel... Thank you so much for answering that question, Mindy and Mish.
"Dot Matrix" (Writing Online) You both were instrumental to my healing. I found out about this a year ago. I was invited to something called a gratitude challenge. Funny thing is, I was already keeping a gratitude notebook for the year after hearing Nimo's song, "Grateful." I... never dreamed there was a place like KindSpring where people were kind all the time and that this kindness was not laughed at or called naive, or people-pleasing, but it was celebrated. I found my family. My tribe. You definitely supported me when I joined. You poured love on my hurting heart. Last year this time I felt like I was a problem the world might be better without because of years of loneliness. My life is totally different now and you both are instrumental in this healing. I love you both.
Mish: Thank you, Dot. We love you, too, and Dot is another bright light. Her creativity is amazing. I'm constantly telling her that I'm in awe of her and she inspires us every time that we see any communication from Dot Matrix. That's the wonder of KindSpring. Thank you, Dot.
Mindy: Yes, thank you so much, Dot. I remember when you first joined the site or thereabouts, and it was a tentative reach into another world, so to speak. We are all, I believe, have the kindness within us, but we are unsure of how to bring it forth into the world to shine our light. You have given us so many gifts and continue to do so. We are fortunate that you've found our site. I feel that many, many times with our members. That when they say, "Oh, we found you by accident," and I say, "Oh, no, I don't think it was accident, I think it was a universal nudge in the right direction." I cannot stress enough how this brings out the gift in us that we are afraid to give voice to. So many times, the news is full of negativity and this and that. I don't read the news anymore, I don't watch TV. My husband is my news filter. I joke, "If it's something good, please tell me about it, and if not, I'll pray about it." To give our focus to what is kind and good brings more of that into our lives. I am a big believer in the Law of Attraction. Things like that. And I choose happiness. I choose kindness and love.
Mish: We choose love.
Mindy: We choose love. We were just listening to that music video the other day. Mish gave me the album. It's one of my favorites. I have many tools that I use to keep focused on this wonderful feeling, "I choose love." I also keep a gratitude journal I started since joining KindSpring. I think it was the gratitude challenge two years ago. I have volumes. I very rarely look back at them, but I know that they're there. Lately I was gifted a journal from another KindSpring member. Our members often send me origami papers or journals or little thoughtful gifts. I don't expect them, but I'm very appreciative of them. One of them was an unlined journal. We joked with this member, saying, "Without the lines, the lines just hemmed me in, so now I'm drawing with my box of 64 crayons. There's many ways a gratitude journal is important. What else do you like to do, Mish?
Mish: I like to eat chocolate. (Laughter)
Mindy: We have our bowl of M&M's here.
Mish: Most KindSpringers operate outside the lines, because that's where the creativity is, and it enables bravery and taking leaps and when you don't let your fears stop you and you leap with faith, the Universe paves the way for such amazing growth in your life. Fear is something that...
Mindy: Would we have done this a year ago?
Mish: No, we wouldn't have done this. KindSpring just changes your life, and every single member in our KindSpring family is an amazing person who has [given] so much happiness and joy to Mindy and I. I could just sit here and cry.
Mindy: We do really think of you all as family. Every single one of you. Not a day goes by that I don't send love and light to everyone. Love and Light. Yes, because that's our motto, I guess. I cannot get over the different gifts that people bring to our site. A lot of people.... like the "weathergrams," one of our members likes to make these outdoor messages. She sent me one, and you just put it outside and it shows the impermanence of anything, because it eventually weathers into the elements.
Mish: And sticky-note kindness acts. A lot of sticky note kindness acts --- put them on mirrors somewhere. A lot of members make up little kits for homeless people with toiletry articles or whatever else they think someone living on the streets might need. They carry it around in the trunk of their car; if they see homeless people they stop and give them the kits. You get so many ideas just reading the posts at KindSpring. It restores your faith in humanity and you see how many wonderful people are out there. To every KindSpringer listening to us, we love you and we're sending hugs.
Mindy: Can you tell that we feel passionately about this? (Laughter)
Deven: How inspiring and how soothing and how healing and how nurturing that in this virtual space, so many people are making a difference by sharing and helping and simply just talk about things and ask questions. Mish and Mindy, we got a message from Khmbai, thanking you. Khmbai is thanking you for acknowledging his question and answering it.
Elaine (Writing Online from the Boston area): Smiling and waving at the two of you.
Mish and Mindy: (Together laughing with recognition): Yes! Yes!
Mindy: She would be our triplet if we had one. She's our "younger sister." (Laughter)
Deven: If I may ask a question, Mish and Mindy... How do you stay in your natural flow so easily? What is the secret there?
Mish: Do you mean, how did we get to be the way we are?
Mish: (Laughter) For me it was pain and aging. (Laughter) What can I tell you? Every time there's a life trial, as much as I might not be happy about having to go through it, there's always blessings and the growth and wisdom from pain, and just from aging. I'm 68 years old now. I've been around a long time. I've been through a lot. I would say pain and aging. And also falling in love. Falling in love is preferable to pain and aging. That's how I've gotten to where I'm at right now, and finding KindSpring three years ago just opened up my heart wide and any love you feel coming from me and the ability to be open-hearted is totally due to my time at KindSpring. Pain, aging, and KindSpring.
Mindy: I don't know if mine are the same, although I have had my share of pain and aging and suffering. I don't choose to focus on that though. I would say I really enjoy being open to The Divine Channel. I often request and put in my prayers that I am a Divine Channel, an instrument of peace, as in the St. Francis Prayer. Nature is very, very healing, very instrumental for me. I find great comfort and inspiration from every single member as well. Sometimes I feel their feelings. I'll write a poem and someone will say, "Oh, I was feeling so strongly this issue." We had a new member grappling with a lot of fear. That's a big topic for many of us. I would just have to say that opening to my creativity to me is a divine flow, from poems to drawings to peace doves. I'd like to read one other poem. It's very short. I don't know why I like it but I have it here. It has pictures of clouds from our cabin home and it starts:
I am lately distracted by the sky.
The buildings rift overhead,
Cloaking the sun and a fluffed, shadowed bed.
'Cast off your thundered fears,'
The darkened depths beckon,
For a deeper, varied introspection.
Layers of tears unshed,
The clouds and I abide
At the edged evaporate
By gathering strength inside.
The core of us might brew a storm
Of wild wings beating
Against suppositions of little substance
Or we may choose to serenely swim
The eternal azure turquoise blue
It matters little to the songs of birds
We're flying freestyle
Where there's a life atmospherically learned
I do get great comfort from my arbor, from my many walks, from the creatures, and I feel very, very blessed to share it with you. Thank you.
Deven: Thank you so much. Such a beautiful poem.
Nicole: I'm so struck by how you both share so openly. And share, too, not necessarily just the poem you just shared, but how you got to this place of being so open in the face of pain and fear and such. What advice would you give to someone that needed to take that first step towards kindness? Maybe they had heard about KindSpring and got on there. What is that first step you might say to them to take?
Mish: The first step would be to read the posts and soak up the love and the positive energy and to start, brave steps or baby steps. If it's so hard for you, just try to center yourself in love and light and you could just stand amongst people and silently send out blessings to them, and visualize them surrounded by healing light. Your good energy is going to attract good energy back to you. People are going to feel what you're sending out and then you'll be able to start smiling at people. People who couldn't make eye contact, now can totally make eye contact and smile at people. Mindy would be happy to send you out some peace doves. That would make it very easy for you to approach people. In the beginning you could anonymously leave them for people. You will grow from starting with small steps. That's what I would say, and I'll hand it to Mindy.
Mindy: I'd have to agree with Mish on all of that, plus I believe it does begin within. For me, meditation is very key. I like to spend some moments either in nature or listening to music and connecting with The Divine. Also, small steps. Very important, do not look for any validation from anyone because you don't need it. You are wonderfully who you are. Exult in the beautiful you. Don't be afraid to share it. It's okay. Be you.
Mish: One thing, because this is an ongoing issue for me, don't compare yourself to other people. Because when I compare myself to other people, that's when I get in trouble. Each of us are unique. Each of us have our own gifts and abilities. So you are abundantly enough, which Mindy reminds me of quite often. Don't compare yourself to other people, because you're magic on your own.
Mindy: That's very important. To know you're abundantly enough. And I'd also have to say that when you lead from your heart, you give from your heart. So just be open to it, and really do come visit us on KindSpring. Order some Smile Cards; they're a wonderful way to reach out anonymously to people, pay forward a meal, a coffee, anything like that. They're a wonderful tool for us and I'm very grateful to everybody in ServiceSpace who serves us. Is there anything else we can add to that?
Savraj (Caller): Hello, Mindy, Mish. It's so nice to hear your voices. I've been enjoying this interview. It's been fantastic. I wish it could be all day long.
Mish: You'll have to come to one of our gatherings and then it could be all day long.
Savraj: I want to invite you who's listening to the Rocky Mountains. Maybe we can meet here one day.
Mish: I would love to go to the Rockies.
Mindy: That would be wonderful.
Savraj: I'll make us all some dal and rice.
Mish: How about samosas? I love samosas. Can you make samosas?
Savraj: I don't, but I can order them. Thank you again. I really appreciate, every day, and every comment, and thank you so much.
Mish: Thank you for your support. You were really supportive of us on this upcoming call, and we appreciate that.
Mindy: You haven't been on KindSpring but for a couple of months, yes?
Savraj: Yes, since July.
Mindy: Pretty recent. Immediately felt the connection with your energy. We often remark that we're thinking the same things and we write similar posts, and that happens a lot on KindSpring, when we tune in to each other's energy.
Savraj: Definitely. I think we're often on the same page and everyone seems to be writing about similar topics and ideas. I love it, I love it so much.
Mindy: We're so glad you found us. Thank you for calling in.
Savraj: Thank you so much. Talk to you later.
Truth (Caller): This is Truth.
Mindy: Hello, Truth. Blessings, blessings.
Truth: I just wanted to say thanks for your daily blessings...
Mish: And thank you for your beautiful daily energy. You uplift me as well.
Truth: And I'm feeling you're all having a great samosa party.
Mish: Come join us. there's more than enough samosas for everybody.
Mindy: It's wonderful to hear your voice.
Truth: I just want to say "om shri ganeshawa namah" for MJ.
Mindy: I always think of you when I do that meditation.
Truth: I've very happy to hear you both.
Mish and Mindy: It's nice to put a voice with the name.
Mindy: Thank you very much for calling in. I don't know what time it is by you, but I have a feeling it is very late.
Truth: It's 11 p.m.
Mish: Soon to bed with you now.
Laurie, Chicago (Writing Online): So happy that you can share your spirit. Listening while looking out at the colors and knowing that my sister of the heart is putting her words to such good use for others.
Mindy: Laurie, thank you. It brings me tears. I know you started this journey with me many many years ago when we married brothers. It's wonderful to hear we are on this journey still in kindness. You are my sister of the heart. Thank you so much for calling in and listening. I appreciate it. Much love, Mindy.
Khmbai (Writing Online): I think a smile is the most precious thing on earth and we can't buy it from anywhere. Most people have lots of problems in their lives, so they have forgotten to smile. But KindSpring gives them an opportunity to smile and be happy. This is most important. Please smile loudly, dear Mindy and Mish, for all of us.
Mindy: Thank you, Khmbai, you are a poet at heart as well. We are smiling, smiling very much.
Mish: And KindSpring is just one great big lovefest, hug and smile, so come on down.
Deven: How can we help you? I know you are part of ServiceSpace and you are doing a lot. How can we help you as well?
Mish: You can help us by loving yourself and loving others and shining your light on the world.
Mindy: And come visit us on KindSpring. Share your positive energy with us and with others and spread the ripples. Thank you.
Guest (Writing Online): Mish, I love what you're saying: "Love one another." And Mindy, what I got from you is awesome as well: "Live your life fully with much love and gratitude. Do more of what makes you happy and then let it go." Blessings, my kind friends.
Deven: How grateful we are and how fortunate we are for this call today.