Friday, August 3, 2012

Pay it Forward: Be Kind

On Wednesday, my cousin sistahs Salina and Shazia, chose to celebrate their birthdays by "paying it forward": performing random acts of kindness throughout Toronto, and inspiring others around the world to do the same. I was honoured to be invited to be a part of it, but I was low in energy on Wednesday. The day before was: the 3 year anniversary of my friends' Josh, Shane & Sarah's capture by Iranian forces; the 2 year anniversary of the Toronto benefit concert for them organized by my sistahs' Salina & Shazia and entourage; the 1 year anniversary of our New York City protest outside the Iranian Mission to the UN and Josh, Shane and Sarah's final trial session. As a result of all of the pay it forward (PIF) energy given to them, they are miraculously FREE now. But the last few years are a ton to process and the repercussions on so many of us are HUGE. On many days, I feel more like I need energy than have energy to give.

The positive energy from the group who participated in Salina and Shazia's PIF celebration is seeping in. Today I spent most of the day feeling angry at my neighbours for waking me up at 5:00am by being very loud on their balcony. This is not the first time they have woken me up in the middle of the night. I went for a swim this evening and reflected on how I could handle the situation positively. I decided to approach them and tell them I was glad they were having so much fun (without sarcasm :). And then to ask them if they would mind keeping it down in the middle of the night. I visualized a positive outcome.

On my way to approach them, I bumped into two other new neighbours who turned into an impromptu support group. They too are having challenges with inconsiderate neighbours. They understand exactly how I feel. We shared our experiences of having cigarette butts, alcohol, and beer cans thrown on our balconies, and neighbours running through the halls shouting in the middle of the night. One of them invited me to drop by her place any time to discuss and strategize around the issues. The other offered a very helpful suggestion that I connect with them positively during the day, when they're not drunk. He said that he felt badly for me and hoped I would come to the building turnover meeting. He added that he could represent my concerns if I was unable to participate.

That kindness, concern for me and willingness to be my voice is just what I needed to lift my spirits. It gives me hope that maybe some of the kindness I have paid forward will come back to me when I need it. So that I can then pay it forward. And so on, and so on...

As Shazia says, "It works!" So join our movement!

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