To all the things we are not remembered by,
Which we remember and bless. To all the things
That will not notice when we die,
Yet lend the passing moment words and wings.
– Louis Macneice
366 complete. My heartfelt thanks to my “cloud of witnesses”.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
It all started with a science project. Angela Goodfellow set up a website, and crowd sourced her experiment. People registered, volunteered for a group, and returned to answer questions. There was the “Friends and Neighbours” group, the “Strangers only”, “Secret”, “Wear a Badge”, and various others.
Officially the project ended, but the test subjects stayed on. New volunteers showed up every day, and similar sites started popping up. The results were overwhelming. All of the volunteers – except the control group – reported they smiled more, felt less stress, and their relationships were better. After three to six months even their health improved. It did turn out to be addictive, but nobody really minded.
It seems obvious to us nowadays, but back then people really didn’t know: even if you do them in secret and for strangers, random acts of kindness make you happier.
* * *
This week’s philosophical story challenge by T.Mastgrave: Is altruism possible?
Related post: Why Hate Hurts – or love heals.
I inched forward, holding my breath. Don’t look, don’t look. My eyes flickered downward, and I gave a little lurch. I was falling.
Get a grip! a little voice inside me growled. People are staring! I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. Everything’s fine, the voice breathed.
After a while the idiocy struck me of standing by one of the most spectacular sights of the world – with my eyes screwed shut. Come on, the little voice coaxed. With an effort I opened my eyes: first one, then the other. I looked at the cliffs opposite. Breathtaking.
Suddenly I was soaring.
In just a few days my blogging 366 will be completed. It’s had unexpected benefits like discovering fascinating blogs, taking lots of photos, and starting to write stories again.
I’ve enjoyed the experience. Licking posts into shape and getting feedback – I confess I am childishly pleased with “likes”. Getting friendly comments, being passed the odd award, and being freshly pressed were also nice. The blog has meandered along, changing direction a few times – a reader was kind enough to call it “eclectic, but focused”. It was fun going down the road to see where it led.
At the same time the “postaday” pressure rather discouraged me from drawing and painting, and made them less fun as I was aiming for a publishable result. I also got sidetracked from writing down my thoughts, e.g. as Heresies, which was really my goal in starting the blog. And I caught the online bug (a little bit), spending more time online than I would like, and started to feel the restlessness when “you haven’t checked” for a while. This means I paid less attention to the real world, the people around me, and things I want to do.
So for now I’ll cut down the blog schedule and my time online. Try to drop the pressure, but keep the joys. And see where that leads me…
If you have a blog: does it feel the same for you? Or is your experience different?
Life is simply a collection of little lives,
each lived one day at a time.
Each day should be spent
finding beauty in flowers and poetry
and talking to animals.
– Nicholas Sparks
The Sunday Post Challenge: Simplicity.
Jeremy yawned. Camping was bad enough; if only his Dad didn’t insist on having these pointless conversations. Did he exist? Well, obviously! Yes, like a drop of water joins the sea, he would die one day – who wanted to be old, anyway? But unlike a drop of water, he would enjoy life along the way.
Could he prove he existed? Sometimes Dad was like little Louey, really! Told the knight couldn’t move in a straight line, Louey had gone berserk: Prove it! he had shouted. Those are the rules, dummy. You don’t prove them, they’re just there. If you don’t like them, don’t play chess.
Family was really the limit. After lunch he’d find a way to slope off.
* * *
T. Mastgrave’s philosophical story challenge: Can you be sure you exist?
I lay in the grass finishing my newest Terry Pratchett and drifted off to sleep.
I was Anselme Lanturlu tiling the surface of the earth to measure its curvature, and then turned into a gardener. I won a million dollars in a competition I hadn’t entered, and flew to New Zealand. Suddenly I realised I was a bear: lovely, I can sleep right until spring! My cozy cave was on the edge of town: close enough to the shops, but within easy reach of the forest. The walls were filled with writing and paintings: bears are pretty much all-rounders. They said I had no sense of taste, but bears mostly go by smell anyway. Especially the smell of hyacinths. Time for another snooze.
I awoke with a start: I’m coming home was playing on the radio.
(11 facts about me, answering Eve’s 11 questions.)
A blog is one more drop in the ocean of the internet, so it’s lovely to get feedback. My heartfelt thanks to all who have read, liked, or commented.
|Particular thanks to those who have passed on awards:
Daniel has collected the rules (Thanks!)
* I’ll nominate “Bertie’s Favourites” separately, offering them the choice of awards.