The other day my friend Andrea (who I have never met in person) posted the following on Facebook:

Never let the outside world suppress your passion for kindness and altruism. It may be looked at as unorthodox at times, but I promise you that you are not alone. Kindness and love can change the world… we just need to believe that we can make it happen. (John Bryant)

I don’t do new year resolutions – I feel that if a resolution is worth making, you should do it at the time that you think of it… like giving presents. But, having said that, I do think that my focus in 2015 is going to be on kindness and altruism.By choosing to make a stand and to be kind, we can start to separate ourselves from all the confusing stories we are presented with by politicians and the media* and focus on something that is actually achievable, positive and has an impact on our ourselves and others.

If we make connections with other people around the world in a spirit of kindness, we will surely be encouraged to treat our fellow human beings with respect and to respect the environment in which they live. Kindness is not just about charitable donations or helping a friend, it’s about having a caring attitude to everyone. I am especially keen to extend my sphere of kindness to those who I never meet, but who are indirectly affected my choices – the people who make my clothes, grow my food, support my lifestyle.

Some direct kindness is also good for the soul and so later this week I will be dispatching two packages – one to Tasmania and one to the US – to two lovely and inspiring people that I have never met but with whom I wish to share some of my creative bounty. All this is thanks to the kindness of Pauline, The Contented Crafter, and you can read the details here. I want the contents of the packages to be a surprise for the recipients, so no photographs yet… you’ll just have to make do with one of Max testing out some of my packaging material:

This box feels comfy

This box feels comfy

Kindness is something we can all increase in our lives and, in all cases, it will make the world a better place. So, will you join me in trying to be a little kinder?


* Thanks to John B. for another post on FB that made me think about this


What’s in it for me?

Fallen trees and storm damage kept me busy for half a day this week

Fallen trees and storm damage kept me busy for half a day this week

I’ve had a busy time this week… as well as earning a living by editing scientific papers, I have been to a charity trustees’ meeting, photographed and cordoned off fallen trees, written several blog posts (here and elsewhere) and some begging letters, walked the dogs every day and done all those domestic things like cooking and washing. In total, about a day and a half (in work terms) has been dedicated to charity work. As I’m feeling rather pressured at the moment because I’m away teaching for three days next week, I have been asking myself why I’m doing all these things that I don’t NEED to.

Strangely, though, I can’t bring myself to put the charity work aside. I wonder whether I should just earn more money and pass that on, but to me it feels better to give a bit of myself… my time, my skills. And maybe, one of those letters that I have written this week will result in a lovely big donation that would make such a difference to the little charity that I support.

And now, I need to draft a blog post for the Cambrian Mountain Initiative, who have promised to feature Denmark Farm in their March spotlight… getting more guests in our accommodation adds to our income and supports our environmental work, so it’s a worthwhile investment of time.

Perhaps I just need to find a few more hours in the day!

For the greater good

I’m feelingĀ  a bit giddy this afternoon. No, I haven’t been on the booze… I went to the vampires this morning. Not the ones with pointy teeth that only come out at night, the ones from the Welsh Blood Service, who give you biscuits and tea in exchange for the red stuff.

Welsh Blood Service LogoHaving failed to manage to bleed fast enough the last time I went, I was determined to improve my chances of success this time. So, when I got up this morning, I started drinking water and got through a couple of litres over and above my usual tea and coffee consumption by the time I went along. I was, therefore, quite surprised to be given another pint of water to drink on my arrival (it’s a new approach, apparently).

It all did the trick and I was able to manage a full donation today, although I have been left with quite a headache… I think my electrolytes are a bit out of balance!

It has got me thinking, however, about how important it is for me to give blood successfully. I was really upset when I failed last time, despite the fact that it had no negative consequences for me There was quite a wait to donate, but even so, when I checked, I found that blood stock levels for my blood type are low.

Anyway, I came away feeling quite hopeful – clearly there are lots of people out there who are altruistic and want to do something good without receiving a direct benefit. Perhaps there is hope for us human beings after all.

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