eBay Kindness

I’ve been on eBay since 1997, which seems like a pretty long time ago, 24 years to be precise. If you go back 24 years in the other direction, it would be 1973 and that is a REALLY long time ago…

Anyway, several years ago I was trying to amass a collection of DVDs released as part of something called the Spiritual Cinema Circle. I found the films they curated to be inspirational and have long appreciated short films, several of which were included on their DVDs they sent to subscribers each month.

I noticed that an eBay seller had posted several that I was missing, all at reasonable “Buy it Now” prices. I snatched them up, one by one, a total of 9 individual purchases, each with its own shipping price.

Within a couple of hours, I had been refunded $10 by the seller who was under no obligation to do this. I wrote her a note of appreciation and mentioned the other DVDs I was missing. This was her response to me:

“Hi Andy… I believe deeply that what is given with clear intention and a grateful heart will return a thousand-fold. Spiritual Cinema Circle 2009 Volume 11 featuring “The Shift” with Wayne Dyer will be mailed to you tomorrow via First Class Mail and you should have it in days as my gift to you. Be blessed and know that your kindness created this reality of receiving a gift. And I am enriched by the opportunity of receiving your payment and then giving a gift to you as well.”

I admit, I didn’t go on eBay in search of an act of kindness, but this experience pointed out to me that such acts are there. It also indicated to me that kind acts are everywhere — we just need to program our minds to recognize them.

One way to help with this is to complete some kind acts ourselves.

Kind Action : Do Something Kind for a Stranger
Book Recommendation : eBay For Dummies
Lighthearted Inspiration : Funny/Weird eBay Auctions

I Gave Up Breathing

(I first wrote this post in response to a Haiku blog to which I contributed poems. Every other week, I received a prompt. In response to the prompt word “wind,” I thought of the drawing above to use as an illustration for my poem, which, simply put, I wrote as a reminder that as people we sometimes get in our own way.)

When my daughter Chloe was in kindergarten, I quickly drew a “Heartman” comic each morning on a Post-it note and put it in her lunch. Because her school had a policy in which students were not allowed to throw anything away, the idea being so parents would have some sense of what their children were and were not eating, most of the comics came home each afternoon.

I couldn’t bring myself to toss them so stashed them in a sandwich bag.

A few years ago, I found them and thought they’d make the basis of a fun blog. All in all, it’s a pretty darn sweet collection of day-to-day parenting. Check out one of my favorite drawings here, from which you can access the entire collection.

Needless to Say, it was an Ideal Moment

(The original of this post came on September 1, 2010 while Melinda, Chloe, Ella, and I were living in Nantes, France. I like this post enough to reproduce it here.)

September 1, 2010

I went on this very long walk by myself this afternoon. I started at home and walked to the big grocery store at the end of our local tram line, stopping along the way to do some reading and thought-gathering. I picked up a few things at the store and then decided to walk back a different route, one I hadn’t tried before.

I got a little bit lost but never to the point of not knowing which direction I needed to go. The walk provided me one of those moments (and a long one at that) about how not having several unfinished projects waiting for me has allowed me to slow down and be mindful.

A good lesson for when I again have several projects needing my attention.

During the walk back, the part when I wasn’t quite sure where I was, I encountered a dirt trail and decided to take it to see where it came out. Along the trail I found an overgrown apple tree with dozens of rotting apples on the ground around it.

Given the number already on the ground, I decided it would be acceptable for me to pluck a couple of ripe apples from the tree. I then continued along the path, now accompanied by the pleasant crunch of biting into a fresh apple.

Needless to say, it was an ideal moment.

While I was out walking, Ella & Melinda had tea with a classmate of Ella’s named Aude and her mother, the two having been invited to their house. This was a great thing because now Ella is familiar with a girl her age in her school. Melinda and Ella reported that Aude and family are extremely nice and that they have even put in a request at school for Aude and Ella to be in the same class.

These simple acts of kindness from people that are complete strangers to us touches me deeply.
Meanwhile, Chloe had her first paid babysitting job and has one lined up with the same girl for each of the next two Wednesdays. And early in the day I had a Skype conversation with a representative from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, the likely result of which will be me doing some partnership work with them.

I also watched the pilot episode of “Get Smart.” Yes, that old American TV spy comedy from the 1960’s.

I can’t quite put in words why watching TV shows from my youth is bringing me such joy, but they are. Perhaps it has to do with reconnecting with a simpler time. The TV shows are just as they were then, untouched and untarnished by time. I think watching them is like having access to a time machine.

The “Get Smart” episode began with Max, the main character, getting a phone call in the middle of a live theatre performance. It made me laugh out loud, given how common it is for people to get personal phone calls in public places these days.

Except the episode is from 1965 and the call was on his shoe phone…