Extreme Kindness

Extreme Kindness

Yogis for change

This past weekend, I joined over 600 blissed out Yogi’s in Vancouver’s Plaza of Nation’s for a Yogathon. The event was a trip – hundreds of people breathing and moving in synchronicity. All with one purpose: to spread love! The event was a fundraiser for Camp Moomba, an amazing program that benefits children who have be affected by Hiv/Aids. What an amazing example of pairing your passion with positive action. People getting healthy, while helping others doing the same! Rock-on-yoga-thon! Support them at www.campmoomba.com.

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Good business

What does it mean to be a good business? Traditionally this description has been reserved for companies with an exceptional bottom line – profit generation was paramount. In today’s society, however, there is a slow, steady shift in the corporate framework towards balancing the bottom line with community and environmental responsibility. Although it continues to be a challenging progression there are business visionaries helping to wheel barrel other businesses up the hill toward a more robust meaning of being a good business.

I have recently started reading a new book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s, who was made famous in the realm of psychology after he published his worldwide bestseller, Flow the psychology of optimal performance. The book is titled Good Business Leadership, flow and the making of meaning. Mihaly brings the reader to a new understanding of how businesses can align themselves with their original intended purpose: to serve others. He asks people in positions of power in the workplaces to consider the question: how am I contributing to human wellbeing? With the majority of people spending a great deal of their lives at work, this is a question which should resonate with millions. He also reflects on the promise business makes of efficiency and profit, and ponders whether these values contribute toward filling life with joy and meaning.

In my own exploration of these issues, I have been reading Yvon Choirnards’ book, Let my people go surfing, in which he reveals what has shaped his business, Patagonia into one of the most forward thinking businesses in the realm of social responsibility. In Good business, Mihaly discusses Patagonia very progressive business plan and vision. Chinard is quoted as saying that Patagonia tries to act as a company that is going to be here a hundred years from now. It was in this sentence that I had a little epiphany: imagine if every company had a hundred year plan. This would help to move businesses away from the incessant quarterly push that pulls them away from being community stewards. I think if business continue to act with a view for the future not only our generation, but the coming one as well, then we will surely be able find a way act more responsibly. Starting with the end in mind may be the best way to achieve balance and happiness at work. Paradoxically, it may be that we must all look to the future if we want a happy future for those living in the present. Good businesses must learn to see the light over the horizon and use it to warm them where the place they stand.

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From Me to We

I wanted to let everyone in Canada know about an incredible awards program called the Me to We awards. These awards help recognize everyday people in Canada who are making a unique contribution to their communities.

If you know someone who is making a difference that deserves to be recognized. Please have a look at www.metoweawards.ca.

Here is an overview of the awards:

We’re combing the country to find everyday Canadians who have made a difference in the lives of others. Six winners will receive $5,000 to donate to their favourite charity. Do you know someone who fits the bill?

Our award winners are everyday Canadians making a world of difference in the lives of others. Building a community garden, teaching English to your neighbors, or helping people get access to housing, we want to celebrate your story! So shine the spotlight on a Canadian making this country a better place to live.

Keep up the Kindness!

Chris

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Monkey Love

On the eve of my birthday, I have butterflies in my stomach. Not because another line has creased my face, or because the big 3-0 is only 366 days close. I am excited because tonight my partner, Danielle has given me a rare opportunity to listen to one of the great minds on the planet. Jane Goodal, the acclaimed activist and scientist has spent her life studying Chimpanzees and has been sharing her insights on them and humanity for decades.

I decided to open one of her books that rests on my shelf, Reason For Hope a spiritual journey. In this great work, Jane addresses the concept of Moral Evolution and the question of whether we perform acts of kindness because of selfish intent. She challenges the notion that humans are inherently selfish, and puts forward the possibility that we are not just driven by genes and evolution, by the choice to care for others, regardless of their connection to us. I pulled this quote in the chapter on compassion and love, which resonated with me strongly.

“If our motivation to perform charitable acts is simply to advance our social standing, or to lessen our inner discomfort, should we not conclude that our action, in the final analysis, is nothing more than selfish? Some might argue this- and in some cases it could be true. But I believe it is wrong dangerous event to accept reductionist arguments of this sort that denigrate all that is most truly noble in our species. History resounds with tales of extraordinarily inspirational acts of courage and sacrifice. Good heaven! The very fact that we can feel distressed by the plight of people we have never met says it all for me! It is, surely, remarkable and heartwarming that we can empathize, and feel truly saddened, when we hear of a child brain-damaged in accident; an elderly couple losing their life savings to a thief; a family dog stole and sold to a medical research lab and traced too late to be saved.”

In these words, a strong belief in the human desire to be kind for the sake of being kind resonates. I couldn’t agree more, and there have been countless times when I have felt this care and sense of responsibility well up in me for no reason rather than to want to ease the suffering of another. I remember feeling this during the Tsunami on Boxing Day, during the Russian massacre in Chechnya and during the Rwandan crisis. I believe we are pulling closer and closer to a global village where we all will be moved emotionally and physically when another human is suffering. We must continue to extend our sense of family and community. This is a paradigm shift for many, but I am certain one day we will all be in embrace.

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My palm pilot saved the world

Yesterday, I was talking to someone about our Kindness Crew t-shirts and the philosophy behind them: wearing the shirt is a symbol of kindness that shows you are committed to a kinder world. Sharing this made me realize that I want our shirts one day to be an icon of kindness and connection to other humans. Hopefully these shirts will be able to create awareness and raise funds for projects that make a difference. To date so far Extreme Kindness has been able to reach a modest total of eighty dollars towards kind causes. This amount may not be able to move mountains, however, we believe that through small consistent actions and giving we will create healthy communities. For the past two months that money, has been building, waiting, for us to use it to help someone in the community. We are now ready to give it up, all of it! We are looking for ideas about how we can use this money for kind acts. We need your help to help!

I have a vision, where people will wear the kindness crew as they do the Livestrong bracelet (the bracelets, created by the Lance Armstrong foundation have raised awareness and millions of dollars for the lance Armstrong foundation); proudly, knowing that their shirt is more that a product, or a garment, it represents love, and gives them further liberties to extend this feeling to others outside of their circle of friends and family. In a world that constantly isolates through increased computer use, long commutes in cities and gated neighborhoods, the kindness crew t-shirt will be a magnet that attracts kindness, and brings people together, one on one and in groups to volunteer.

As I look on my desktop, I see a bottle of water, a watch, a palm pilot, and sunglasses, not to mention the apple computer that I type on. I wonder if each of these products couldn’t themselves be used to raise money and awareness for a particular cause, Why couldn’t the water bottle have a message about the perils of water an air pollution, with a certain percentage of each bottle going towards such a cause. Maybe built into my palm pilot could be a resource listing ways I can change the world. Couldn’t my watch help remind me to be compassionate. Right now, I set my alarm to take a break from writing and working, but, what if I was to set it so that every half and hour I was reminded to think about how I could help one more person. Considering that we live in such a heavy consumer culture, it is time to re-think how we use our products and what new value and meaning could be attached to these every day products. What do you have on your desk that could change the world? Imagine!

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The Kindness Crew in Orlando

This just surfaced in the Orlando Times.

Boys & Girls Clubs East Altamonte Teams With Software Giant SAS, Inc. For Community Activities

Orlando – Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and software giant SAS, Inc., teamed up recently to plant trees, bury a time capsule and hold a scavenger hunt.Gary Cain, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, said the effort paid off in big ways for Boys & Girls Clubs participants. SAS volunteers and Boys & Girls Clubs participants joined the Extreme Kindness Crew www.extremekindness.com) to plant a tree and flowers at our Atlamonte Springs club, Cain said. The tree and some of the flowers were donated for the East Altamonte Club by Ace Hardware of Sanford.

Extreme Kindness organizers also prepared and buried a time capsule with artifacts representing the goals of Boys & Girls Clubs participants. The scavenger hunt was organized into five categories to represent the five core programs of the youth-serving organization: character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, sports, fitness and recreation, and the arts. Both SAS and the Extreme Kindness Crew became more familiar with what the Boys & Girls Clubs organization is. Cain said SAS volunteers planned the event. SAS teamed with Extreme Kindness to launch a national tour of random acts of kindness, Cain said. About Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida: Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida was established to serve the Central Florida community by providing all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, with opportunities to reach their full potential as productive and caring citizens. The 28 clubs and middle school locations throughout the area provide a wide range of youth development programming.

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SAS and the Kindness Crew featured in Detroit News

SAS Brings ‘Extreme Kindness’ to Detroit Schools; Kindness Crew and SAS Employees to Prove that it’s ‘Cool to be Kind’
Detroit -

DETROIT — Extreme Kindness, with the help of employees from the Detroit office of SAS, the business telligence company, and Communities in Schools, will volunteer and participate in a variety of fun and educational activities with students at Farwell Middle and Van Zile Elementary schools tomorrow.

Extreme Kindness is made up of four inspirational speakers from Canada whose mission is to connect the world through kindness. They are authors of the best seller, Cool to Be Kind: Random Acts and How to Commit Them and Call to Arms: Embrace a Kindness Revolution. SAS is bringing them to Detroit to inspire the company’s local employees and to celebrate corporate characteristics that have made the company successful for 30 years.

At the Detroit schools, students and adults will work together to paint a mural, plant flowers, build rockets and engage in a variety of arts and educational activities. The mural will be donated to the patients of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Extreme Kindness members will give an upbeat presentation on the importance and ease of committing acts of kindness.

“What makes the most difference in a young person’s life is the knowledge that someone cares,” said Janet Ray, Director of Comprehensive Services for Communities in Schools of Detroit. “The youth of Farwell Middle School and Van Zile Elementary can serve as models of how children can reach out and help others. Donating the mural to children in need is a perfect symbol of that.”

“In its 30th year, SAS has a long history of doing what is right for employees, customers and the community through a strong commitment to education, quality software and an innovative workplace,” said Kelly Ross, SAS Vice President of U.S. commercial sector sales. “Joining Extreme Kindness at these schools is a natural fit, and we’re just thrilled to participate in such a meaningful day.”

Members of the Kindness Crew provide keynote talks for myriad nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. They present regularly to business audiences about corporate social responsibility and the importance of infusing life and the workplace with passion and fun. They have spoken at more than 100 schools across Canada.

“We’re really excited about spreading our message in Detroit, and we find that kids are the best audience for it,” said Val Litwin of Extreme Kindness. “We hope they’re inspired by this day to do more good works, and use their natural enthusiasm and good spirits to inspire others.”

About Communities In Schools of Detroit
Communities In Schools of Detroit (CIS) champions the connection of needed community resources with schools to help students successfully learn, stay in school, and prepare for life. CIS of Detroit works with each of its partner schools to understand the unmet needs of its students and the challenges of the school community. In collaboration with more than 850 community organizations and businesses, CIS of Detroit brings more than $15 million worth of goods and services into Detroit schools. Currently, more than 71 schools contract with CIS to benefit over 30,000 students and their families. www.cisdetroit.org

About SAS
SAS is the leader in business intelligence software and services. Customers at 40,000 sites use SAS software to manage and gain insights from vast amounts of data, resulting in faster, more accurate business decisions; more profitable relationships with customers and suppliers; compliance with governmental regulations; research breakthroughs; and better products. Only SAS offers leading data integration, intelligence storage, advanced analytics and traditional business intelligence applications within a comprehensive enterprise intelligence platform. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know(R). www.sas.com

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. (R) indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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Kind Space

The Kindness Crew joined the my space-race to connect everyone in the world. It was reported that last week alone there were 270,000 people that joined My Space in one day, with a total of ove 72 million users. In March, My Space was ranked as the fith most popular english language website. My space, has been heralded as the site that is putting the “we” back in web and the Kindness Crew sees this site as another amazing forum to bring together people under the banner of kindness. The Kindness Crew on My Space boasts 38 new members and is growing everyday…soon to be pushing the millions. If you want to join the in the kindness movement, please take the time to sign up at my space by typing in Kindness Crew into the search function.

Thanks!

Chris

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Be Kind to the environment. David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge!

Last night I had the privilege of listening to a Canadian icon, David Suzuki. A leader in the field of environmental responsibility, he has penned his last book, an autobiography, and was in Victoria to talk about it. Listening to Dr. Suzuki, I was in awe of the living legacy that he has created around the globe. He has helped champion and catalyze a movement that undoubtedly has improved the lives of millions of humans and animals on this earth. I was also inspired by the rich life that he had had, not in terms of personal possessions, but of experience. From saving sections of the rainforest in the Amazon and in British Columbia, to meeting some of the most incredible human beings to walk this world, he has done so much. All of this is because he had a vision of helping to improve our world. David truly embodies the spirit of Extreme Kindness: pairing his love for the environment with taking action to improve it.

A year ago, while visiting the David Suzuki Foundation website, I signed up for the nature challenge. This challenge offers up 10 simple ways in which we can change our lifestyle habits to improve the environment and achieve sustainability in Canada within a generation. Please take the time to visit the site and sign up for the challenge at www.davidsuzuki.org. We need to take extreme action if we want our planet to be healthy for the next generation. It is the kind thing to do!

Here are the 10 suggestions:

1.Reduce home energy use by 10%

2.Choose an energy-efficient home and appliances

3.Don’t use pesticides

4.Eat meat-free meals one day a week

5.Buy locally grown and produced food

6.Choose a fuel efficient vehicle

7.Walk, bike carpool or take transit

8.Choose a home close to work or school

9.Support alternative transportation

10.Learn more and share with others

Keep up the Kindness,

Chris

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100th Monkey

While talking with a woman on a flight while heading down south, she made a parallel between the social movement we are catalizing and the book, the 100th Monkey. I am a firm believer in this phenonmenon, and hope that the next act of kindness inspired will be the figurative 100th.

Here is an excerpt about the book. Please, take it out from your local library!

The 100th Monkey

A story about social change.

By Ken Keyes Jr.

The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkey liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.

THEN IT HAPPENED!

By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice: A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea…Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

From the book “The Hundredth Monkey” by Ken Keyes, Jr.
The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part.

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