Acts of Kindness

I wrote this blog several years ago. It was inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer (one of my favorite authors and a major inspiration to me in terms of my spiritual beliefs). Dr. Dyer left his body on August 30, 2015 in his sleep.

I didn’t agree with everything he said.  In fact there were times I cringed as I listened to him passionately pontificate about something that I felt was important for some people, but not realistic across the board for everyone.

That said, he was the first to inspire me to explore my spiritual beliefs seriously, and he taught me to think outside the box, which I challenge my clients to do on a daily basis.  One of the ways he did this was to share his “Scurvy Elephant” story: In a nutshell, when Wayne was growing up he saw the world a little differently than many of his contemporaries. He used to talk about how he overheard his teacher talking to other teachers about “that little Wayne Dyer;” telling them he was a “scurvy elephant.”  He went home and asked his mother what a scurvy elephant was, but she had no idea; so she went to talk to the teacher herself. When she confronted the teacher she said, “Oh, I didn’t say he was a scurvy elephant.  I said he was a “disturbing element!”

Wayne saw his uniqueness as a source of pride, and continued to stay on his own path, sharing with others about being true to themselves regardless of what others thought. I met and spoke with him on a couple of occasions and he was a very kind, loving, spiritual human being.  One of those times was when my husband and I were at his seminar in Maui.  We had gone to dinner with friends at a restaurant Dr. Dyer had recommended. As we were eating, he walked in with his family. One of our friends asked the waitress to let him know where we were just in case he would want to come say hi, but we didn’t really expect him to, assuming he wanted to enjoy a private meal with his family. Towards the end of our dinner, we were surprised to see a smiling Dr. Dyer walking toward us, saying “I heard there was a rowdy bunch back here!”  He took as much time as he needed to talk to each of us.  I privately shared some things I had learned from him that had helped me deal with an ongoing situation in my life; he gave me some suggestions, and at the end of our conversation, he hugged me and said, “I love you.”

At the age of 75, he had a schedule that would wear out a 20 year old because he had such a passionate calling to teach the rest of us what he was learning along his own path on earth.

I still grieve him and feel the hole his presence as a human leaves in this realm.  Yet I know he is excited to be on his new adventure as pure consciousness!  As I said on my Facebook page the week he transitioned, “I would say RIP Wayne, but I know you’re NOT resting!”

So as the second anniversary of Wayne’s transition to the next phase of his beingness approaches this coming week, I want to once again honor him with the blog he inspired years ago:

Acts of Kindness

One of my favorite authors is Dr. Wayne Dyer. Because I listen to his weekly podcasts I’ve heard him talk about this study on several occasions. (I have not verified the study but I take Dr. Dyer at his word).

He speaks of a scientific study that was done several years ago, where they found that the serotonin level went up significantly when a person was the recipient of a kind deed. (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects our emotional states, and many of the antidepressants used currently are designed to stimulate its production in the brain).

In addition, the study found that the serotonin level of the person who performed the deed also went up at the same rate. But what is most interesting is that people who just witnessed the event also experienced  a rise in their serotonin level to the same extent.

While I’m not saying those on an antidepressant should quit using it and simply try to be nicer to others, I do think this speaks volumes about our society that is so dependent on pills and quick fixes.

I have used a gratitude list/journal for years to help myself get out of a funky mood, or to quit obsessing about something that I can’t do anything about. I write down one thing for which I’m grateful at that moment. (It might be as simple as “my internet is working!!” or something as huge as my grandchildren’s presence in our lives). Then I notice that feeling of gratitude or joy; put my awareness where I feel it in my body—and just allow it to grow for a few moments before I move on to the next thing on my list.

When my day is especially frustrating or depressing, I look for someone I can do something kind for. It doesn’t have to be anything big. I call/email/text someone who I know is ill or lonely—just to say “Hi, I’m thinking of you.” Or I pick up trash while I’m on my morning walk; help an elderly person (elderlier than me) take their groceries to their car; or pay for the person behind me in the checkout line at the local QuikTrip.

We all know how good it feels to do something for someone else just because we want to. People are put in our paths every day who could use a hand. I challenge you to be more aware—maybe even look for the opportunity to do something for someone. Become an instrument of kindness, and see how much better you feel!

Be kind to the unkind because kindness is your nature.
–The Tao (as interpreted by Dr. Wayne Dyer)