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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Spirit of Oshun: Random Acts of Kindness

Kindness is contagious, even small acts of kindness! Want to do something kind today, but just can't think of what to do? Oshun is the equivalent of Venus or Aphrodite in African mythology. Like them, she is known as "the goddess of love". Like them, she is the most beautiful of all the goddesses, but Oshun is best known for her kindness, which in African mythology is considered the most important quality anyone can possess.

Give of Yourself! Prepare a nutritious bag lunch for a homeless person and hand it to him/her saying "have a great day". Shovel snow for someone. Mow the yard of an elderly or ill neighbor. If you see someone having a bad day, stop to listen to them, hand them a flower, anything to make a difference in their day. Babysit for free for a mom who needs a day to herself to prepare for the holidays. Offer to drive elderly or disabled people to appointments or the store. Crochet or knit baby hats and blankets to donate to a local hospital nursery. Leave your newspaper behind for the next person to read.

Practice kindness towards the environment. Reduce air pollution by carpooling, taking public transportation, biking, or walking. Make a commitment to recycle all aluminum, plastic, and paper materials. Cut down on the energy you use by lowering the heat and turning off lights and unused appliances. Learn more about solar energy. As gifts, give houseplants to teachers, friends, or coworkers.

Express Gratitude. Appreciate someone who has done something kind for you. Send a 'Thank You' card to someone who's helped you when you really needed it. Write a letter to an old teacher who influenced your life. Call your grandparents or parents and let them know how they've impacted your life. Email a friend to thank them for being there for you through hardships. Send an e-card to your husband or wife to tell them how much you appreciate having them in your life. You can create and send a free e-card on our website, by clicking here.

Give the Gift of Inner Transformation! Restrain from criticizing or saying anything negative to anyone today. In a challenging situation, dare to see the glass half full rather than half empty. Listen more than you speak. Give freely of yourself. Practice kindness at every opportunity you get.

Spend five dollars to make someone's day! Tape the exact change for a soda to a vending machine or a payphone. Pay the toll for the person behind you. Leave flowers in front of someone's house. Bake cookies for your neighbors. Put quarters in the laundry machine for the next person. Leave chocolate on the desk of your co-workers.

Tag, you're it! It's a game of pay-it-forward: anonymously make someone smile with an act of kindness, leave behind a card asking them to keep the ripple going. As the Goddess of love and beauty, Oshun also shows us that true beauty is found on the inside! Alafia Iya!

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