Small acts

IMGP6674I’m still feeling rather gloomy about the state of the world, but a friend pointed me in the direction of the following quote earlier today:

Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. JRR Tolkien

Being at home working means that it’s quite difficult to manage any spontaneous small acts of kindness right now. I was kind to Mr Snail this morning by making leek and potato soup – his favourite, apparently – but it seems like a very small thing.

However, I have discovered a good way to do some crafty kindness… a lovely charity Knit for Peace. I came across them as a result of a Twitter post and am rather taken with their ethos:

Knit for Peace UK is an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust. It grew out of projects we developed in Rwanda and India, which brought together women of traditionally hostile communities (Hutu and Tutsi war widows in Rwanda and Muslim and Hindu women in the slums of Delhi) to knit clothes for street children and orphans. We paid the knitters and distributed the clothes through local NGOs.

The funds came from the Good Gifts Catalogue (another of our initiatives). Knitters in the UK asked if they could knit for those in need, and we discovered there was a huge need for knitters to have someone to knit for. Once we said we would distribute donated knitting we found we were inundated.

Here at Knit for Peace we believe that knitting is good for people in all sorts of ways. As well as being fun and therapeutic, knitting brings people together and gives a way of helping others in need, providing benefits both to the knitter and the recipient. Based on our experience of developing Knit for Peace over the last few years, we have learned that knitting is extremely important as an activity that can be carried out right into extreme old age and helps improve long-term health.

Our policy is to encourage people to give, whether it is time or money. So we set about finding outlets. We now distribute regularly to over 80 outlets, including hospitals, women’s refuges, refugee drop in centres, prisons, community groups, and hospices as well as to developing countries. We never sell the clothes; we send them where they are needed. We also pass on donations of yarn and needles to enable people on low incomes to knit. The operation has grown organically, and we estimate we have over 11,000 knitters.

norway knitting9

This can be an act of kindness

How great is that? They will accept all sorts of knitted items and find a good home for them. So any knitter/crocheter with a bit of time on their hands can contribute… whether you like making hats and scarves or blankets or cardigans, your work will be found a good home. This means, that I can manage a small act of kindness any time I like, just by picking up a hook or needles. I think that I’m going to start making granny squares, which can be turned into a blanket or dressing gown when I have enough.

So, can you cheer me up? Do you have any tips for being kind or any stories to share?

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38 Comments

  1. You’re on the right track there! What a wonderful group. My friend has been involved in knitting caps for newborns to wear home from the hospital. And there’s a group of women who make small quilts to be used as lap robes for people in nursing homes. There are many ways to give if you look around!

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    • I do also knit breast prostheses for the charity Knitted Knockers UK… but they take time and effort and special yarn and I just don’t feel focused enough for that at the moment, so granny squares it is!

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  2. It’s not as much what you do that is kind that matters, it’s where your heart is. Your heart is kind and carries that vibration out into the Universe. That loving vibration heals more hurts than anything we make or do. Don’t stress. Just feel love in your heart for the world and that alone will be enough. It’s also not getting angry when someone is unkind to you and when the opportunity comes, forward kindness rather than rage. You are already doing more than most. Every tiny drop fills the ocean. Giant hugs to you.

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  3. Emma Roberts

     /  November 17, 2015

    I’m also very gloomy over the recent world events. It’s hit me hard this time & I have been very upset the past few days. I have tried to play ‘ imagine’ on my flute & I just can’t do it without tears rolling down my cheeks & having to give up. I don’t like this pain in the world & even me being a magical Pagan being can’t fix it. My only condolence is that my husband & I have not brought any children into this cruel world & that I can only radiate love to anyone who needs it. So here is a big hug to you & your followers. x

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    • I too am glad that I have not brought another generation into the world… I just hope that the young people growing up in all this mess are able to find a way forward.
      I do have to keep reminding myself that I can only make the world better by my own actions, so that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment… let’s at least keep communicating with people from around the world to build understanding and friendships and counter the hate with love.

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  4. I am so happy to read you are determined not to stay in despair – for despair is where the darkness wins. Bad things happen in the world all the time – hurt people hurt more people who retaliate by hurting more people. This is the cycle of despair that we have lived for a very long time and you know it has improved nothing. The only way to change the world is to change our thinking. Not dwell in the hatred and despair but to look for the light, the heroism, the small acts of kindness – both where there is pain and where there isn’t. We need to shine our light outwards and while not condoning the acts of hatred and violence seek to understand why these keep happening. It is hard work but it is our work.

    We begin where we are and we work with what we have. Positivity should never be under-estimated – it is like a small candle flame that has the ability to light a whole room. A small light in the darkness can be seen a long way off. Be kind, feel love for all the earth and for yourself and observe how the world changes.

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  5. Sue Laverack a.k.a. Coppicelearner

     /  November 17, 2015

    Why so gloomy bach? Yes the events in Paris were horrific but no worse than happens somewhere in the world most days – just more reported on. Which sounds like more reason to be gloomy I know but I was listening to a podcast of Analysis on radio 4 (Nov 8th ‘Will they always hate us’) which argued that conflicts are resolved by making connections – setting aside one’s own ego and position and really listening to those on the other side. It is available as a podcast and well worth listening to. Bloggers make connections and build networks one reader at a time. You do your best to do no harm and I know from reading your posts that when and where you can you do acts of kindness. What more can be asked of you? Big solutions, ‘silver bullets’ are, I think, a very masculine way of solving problems whereas the feminine is to tackle what is under one’s nose and work out from there. Be kind to yourself. I have always found it helpful to break a mammoth task (like world peace) into small steps and concentrate on the next one – the whole thing is so daunting it leads to paralysis – leek and potato soup or a granny square are good places to start. I am also reminded of a quote my Yoga teacher gave me (original source unknown to me – and this may be a paraphrase) ‘Ask not what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive – what the world needs most is people who are coming alive’ and by giving up a job which no longer offered you fulfilment you are doing that too.

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    • Thank you, Sue… wise words. Part of my gloom has been because of the tragedies that no one has paid attention to… I guess that I am mourning the unregarded people as much as those in the spotlight. I know that I am doing what I can and it’s illogical to feel I could do more, but there you go… I can’t help it.

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      • Feelings and logic rarely go hand in hand. You feel what you feel. It’s honest, valid and important to honor that. I’m so glad you’ve reached out this way, and I’m happy too that you’ve found a way to express your level of care by doing for others. On the morning of 9/11 my husband and I felt an overwhelming sense of loss, sadness and confusion. We drove to the local Red Cross to give blood as it was one of the early things they asked us to do. The lines were so long that we were turned away, saying they couldn’t possible get to everyone waiting to give.

        We felt empty, unable to do something in the moment with the dawning awareness of the enormity of the loss.

        Sending tender hugs your way.

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        • Thank you… I agree that responding is important… and listening. We were in NY exactly a year after the the tragedy and could not believe how many people wanted to tell us about it, about their feelings and experiences. Complete strangers spoke to us unprompted… on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, in Central Park, in restaurants… it seemed important for them to talk and us to listen.

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          • Thanks for sharing that story. People do need to talk about these things. I’ve found that in the face of tragedy, my friends tend to fall into two categories initially: those that need to talk about it a lot, and those that want to minimize it as much as possible, both as ways to cope.

            Personally, I’m in the “go find the helpers” camp. I don’t want to see lurid photos or hear the sad details rehashed on a news program They just drag me into a depressive state and then I’m no use to anyone.

            Thanks for listening to the people of New York. You offered and ear. Such a gift.

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  6. nettyg

     /  November 17, 2015

    I agree whole-heartedly with all the comments…..we have to feel good about ourselves and our lives for the world to feel good, look for the positives in our lives…and in the world… rather the negatives, and express gratitude, as these vibrations will lift the world’s vibration. I just heard on the news that the brother of one of those responsible for Paris attacks is calling for his brother to give himself up, and I suddenly realised events like this affect everyone and my heart went out to the mother and other family members of these young men, they have lost family members as well, and while it can be said they made the choice, it still means one more family is grieving. I believe, if we’re going to be light-workers, we have to find it in our hearts to love everyone, even the terrorists, not condone their actions, but just send love their way as hate and revenge is not the way.

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  7. Acts of kindness are habit forming. Do it enough, and it becomes addictive.
    Be the beacon of light you would like to follow.
    Dear Snail, you give a great deal of happiness, which in itself is an act of kindness, you give a great example to the world of responsible and unselfish behaviour, and if there were more like you, there would be fewer like those who have made our hearts cry in recent days.
    Be happy, you love greatly and are loved greatly.

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  8. I’m quite envious of you just being able to pick up you needles and click away. Sending knitted garments onto others who need them is such a great thing – you should be proud of yourself!

    I agree with those of you mentioning the saga unfolding in Paris. It made me ring a couple of friends last night who were born in Belgium but lived in France for years. I wanted to check she was alright. I also sent love and hugs to a dear friend, it was an impulsive action upon hearing about all those deaths. Relish those who are close to you and let them know it…

    My latest act of good will was the other evening when I was doing my walk around the nearby city here. I treat the street lit streets as my gym rather than paying to go in one. A boy of about 6 was walking towards me and a little way behind him was a lady in a wheelchair. Split second thoughts realised they were together but also that she wasn’t able to reach her son. A car had parked up on the pavement preventing her wheelchair to get through. As I was wearing a florescent coat I offered to walk with her on the road passed the car and others parked sensibly until the next dropped pavement.

    I couldn’t not intervene, it was dark after all and I’d suspected they’d just come out from the local theatre.

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    • I’m sure that such simple acts of kindness leave a lasting impression… and having spent years pushing a wheelchair around obstacles in the street, I know how grateful that lady would be for your thoughtfulness.

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      • Thank you – keep smiling though despite the rain and wind lashing at the windows this evening. In some ways it can almost be therapeutic.

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        • Mr Snail had to give me wine to calm me down… I really don’t like the windy weather. I am mostly focusing on knitting some amazing fingerless mittens this evening to take my mine off the fact that the roof is leaking… at least the wind is keeping the rain away 🙂

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          • OOh I love fingerless mitten with the flap that covers them! 😉

            Yes we’ve a couple of outdoor barns that need new roofs. I looked the other day to see if we’d qualify for a grant but I don’t think we do sadly. Something will crop up.

            Now keep those needles clicking… 😉

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  9. Initiatives from wonderful women that I have seen include: https://www.facebook.com/events/496626320494537/, which is about providing boxes of goodies to the homeless for Christmas and http://www.52-lives.org
    And then there is CalAid: http://calaid.co.uk
    All charities that deliver what’s needed directly to the recipients.
    I have come to mistrust charities that collect money, but am happy to donate items to these three.

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  10. I think the idea is wonderful. I’d like to remind you though that you do acts of kindness all the time when you encourage people who visit your site.
    I have no skills with any of the crafts you do but still find I love to visit with you because of the welcome I always find and the kindness you showed me when I first started out with visiting other sites..You are a great friend Jan.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  11. Oh, what a great idea! I always suspected that knitting was the answer to all the world’s problems… And I have some homeless knitted scarves and handwarmers I can donate straight away 😃 So even the seemingly simple act of you writing this post has made a difference already!

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  12. Twillingart

     /  November 18, 2015

    Hi Snail,
    Thanks for initiating this discussion. I agree that knitting has great value in its ability to connect us, slow us down and provide opportunities to be generous and kind. The ‘gloom’ is here in Canada too; I am finding solace in the idea of there being no light without darkness…and the solstice is coming!
    You have gotten quite a response to this post, so we can be assured that there is power in your idea of small acts of kindness: I think we can change the tide together! xo

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    • I’m moved by all the lovely words that are being written in response to this post. It makes me feel much more positive… and it’s wonderful to hear of small actions from all over the world

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  13. I am so sorry I missed this post and I do hope you feel a little brighter now that you have discovered something positive and helpful that you can do to make a difference.

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    • I do indeed… the gloomy usually doesn’t last long, but this week the combination of masses of sad news from around the world and dreadful weather really got me down. Today, however, we saw the sun as well as the rain and that always helps!!

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  1. Beauty and the beasties | The Snail of Happiness
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