Reflections on Generosity

by Orly Wahba

Generosity doesn’t measure or take accounting. Generosity doesn’t wait to be repaid or cashed in at some opportune moment. True generosity is giving simply to give, loving simply to love, uplifting simply to uplift. When we consider whether we practice generosity in our day to day lives, it’s important to reflect and ask ourselves why we give and what do we expect to receive through giving. Only we can answer that very difficult question. We are all interconnected and the skills, talents, connections we have are not meant to be hoarded, they are meant to be shared. We are in fact meant to open our eyes, our hearts and our minds to solve this puzzle we call life. How can what I have in my toolbox, further the growth of the world in a positive way? This is the question we should in fact be answering as opposed to asking, “How will giving to so and so or doing something for so and so give back to me?” Giving in and of itself is a privilege, never forget it. By giving we become part of something far greater than ourselves, we become catalysts for positive change in the world, we in fact fulfill our life’s purpose. But if we fear that we can only give if we can clearly see the return, then we are in for a life of disappoint, frustration and ultimate collapse. The reason true generosity may seem unnatural is because it has been ingrained in us that if a situation isn’t a win win, then why give? But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We can’t see the larger puzzle of life, we aren’t privy to it. However what we can trust is that the actions of one individual has an impact on the life of another and so our choices to give or to walk away will in fact impact us at some point or another.

Over the month of generosity, contemplate where your generosity is coming from. Only through acknowledgement can we work to repair something within ourselves.

By |November 30th, 2018|Posts|0 Comments

Reflections on Grit & Determination

by Orly Wahba

As I was browsing through quotes focused on the concept of determination, one stood out.
“A great book begins with an idea; a great life, with a determination.” ~Louis L’Amour

So why does determination lead to a great life. For that matter, what does a great life mean? For me, a great life is a life of purpose, one that leaves a mark, makes an impact and influences for the good. The extent of that impact can be determined in many ways. You don’t need to be a famous allstar to lead a life of purpose. Each of us create impact whether we think so or not. Impact is oftentimes associated with quantity, but I disagree. A person can lead a quiet life and still impact great change. A life of meaning is less about what we do but rather who we are, how we engage in the world, how we see people.

So why does determination lead to a great life?
I think it’s based on the simple fact that when we are determined to leave our mark, to leave this world a bit better than how we entered – we are bound to stir up positivity around us. So long as one is determined – they will likely make choices that inspire, empower and motivate others to lead a life of purpose.

Why is it that we are touched when we hear the story of someone who overcame through nothing more than conviction, determination and grit? Because it ignites that part within ourselves that started out with that same determination but may have lost it somewhere along the way. It reminds us of what we can be, of what is possible if we simply believe in ourselves. The stories of the underdog are the most hailed and cherished because we see a glimmer of ourselves in that underdog. We’ve all been there at some point or another. When an underdog is thrown against the wall, he doesn’t hear the chants and support of the crowd, oftentimes he is alone and faced with a choice; give up or keep at it. We only know truly recognize an underdog once he has made it, once that determination, grit and passion have shot him to the top.

My hope for each of us is to keep our eyes peeled for the underdog in our lives and cheer them on. We don’t need to wait for someone to pass undertold tests to show our support. Instead let’s be a part of helping him rise to the top.

By |October 13th, 2018|Posts|0 Comments

Reflections on Gratitude

by Orly Wahba

I can’t think of a more appropriate theme for this month than gratitude. Especially coming off of a month of endurance, it’s fitting that gratitude should follow suit because after we put our heart on the line, after we push forward with all we have – we get to reap the benefits by experiencing gratitude in the purest and most powerful form.

Last month, I shared that I was setting out on my very own endurance exercise. Over the course of 40 days I headed to the Western Wall (Kotel) to pray for something that I wanted to call into my life. Each day, after praying, I created a FB LIVE video on my personal page sharing my experience and proclaiming to the world what I am calling into my life. I never expected what came next!

People from across the globe from various cultures and religions began reaching out sending me their names and the things they would like me to pray for. Hundreds of messages have been pouring in daily and my list of names has grown to over 500 strong!

My time at the Western Wall has been incredible and on September 5th I celebrated my 40th day in gratitude! This journey has truly been a transformative experience and made myself and hundreds of others connect in an entirely new way. But more than anything it provided me with a daily opportunity to pause and give thanks to what I do have, because only once we truly feel gratitude can we be ready to receive what the world has in store for us.

As my 40th day approached, and the month of gratitude was around the corner, I realized that there was yet another exciting opportunity. I shared that I would be at the Western Wall on my 40th day to celebrate with a gratitude party and I asked over a thousand people who were following the story to create their very own gratitude parties. Some people managed to celebrate with me in person and others gathered a few friends and family members to proclaim what they are grateful for.

This 40 day endurance exercise prepared me to realize that it wasn’t about what I was calling into my life as much as it was about giving voice to the things that I already have in my life. Gratitude isn’t something we should wait to share when some miraculous thing happens, it’s something that is in existence every day and every moment in every situation – it just depends on the lens we choose to view the world and the things it naturally provides us with. So get out there and don’t wait to show gratitude – yell it from the rooftops!

By |September 16th, 2018|Posts|0 Comments

Reflections on Endurance

by Orly Wahba

“Write out a manageable goal for yourself and stick to it. Hold yourself accountable by journaling your experience and giving yourself a set date you expect to see a change.”

This month’s Act of Kindness is inspired by my very own endurance experience that I’m going through.

Just 11 days ago, as we were about to start the month of endurance, I set out on a journey of self discovery and reinvention. I asked myself, what would happen if I focus on something I want to draw into my life by proclaiming it loudly for the world to hear every day over the course of 40 days. It wasn’t enough to simply know what I want in my heart, I needed to combine it with an action plan, the courage to be vulnerable and raw, and above all the willingness to have others hold me accountable. The concept of endurance spans across many areas. Perhaps it’s most clearly understood in the context of athleticism. After all, an athlete is constantly pushing themselves to new limits. But endurance is something we all need to tap into. The ability to endure pain, hardship and the rough patches that come about from simply living life.

As some of you know, I recently made a big move in my life. I left my home in Brooklyn of 35 years and decided to head to Jerusalem. There are many things I love about Jerusalem but my number 1 is the Western Wall (AKA Kotel). It’s a place that attracts people from across the globe regardless of faith, race or ethnicity. It’s a place of hope, reflection and symbolizes endurance. A single wall that provides hope to millions that regardless of how bleak a situation, you can always overcome. There is a tradition of visiting the Kotel everyday for 40 days as a means of drawing something into your life. It’s not the place alone, it’s the action of committing to doing something for 40 consecutive days and keeping what you want at the forefront of your thoughts. Simply doing this, opens us up to seeing the opportunities to make our dreams and hopes come into fruition. As I debated what I should specifically focus on drawing into my life it would have been much simpler to make it a professional goal but instead I decided to focus on something a little closer to home. Building a family has always been important to me, but finding your life partner forces you to be really vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve opened myself up to vulnerability in tremendous ways through Life Vest Inside, but developing a life long relationship requires us to be vulnerable in an entirely different way, a way in which I perhaps avoided up until now. But no more.

As I hit the LIVE button on my very first day out of 40, my heart was pounding. To be honest, even though I am entering day 12, my heart still pounds. Even writing this has me quivering in fear. And so I am proclaiming that that thing I want to draw into my life is a spouse, someone who will truly be a life partner in every which way! These 40 days have up until this point made me step out of my comfort zone in ways I never imagined. Each day I spend 2 hours going to and from the Kotel and creating a LIVE video to chronicle my journey and invite others along. That has most probably been the hardest part because I now set in place something that is keeping me accountable to follow through until the end, to endure regardless of the hardship and growing pains that have come about. Taking on this endurance exercise has allowed me to push myself personally to the limits and I know that what will come from it will be nothing short of amazing.

So why do I mention this? When we think of beginning our own endurance exercise, setting a distance or a time frame is vital. For me, it’s 40 days and as I count down or count up – I feel myself getting closer to my goal.

As you determine your own goal I encourage you to give yourself a time frame and perhaps think of an interesting way that will hold you accountable. Sharing my personal journey on my FB page has been incredible. The love, support encouragement is fueling me to keep going, keep believing and keep striving to find new ways to step out of my comfort zone and step out of my own way. Sometimes, drawing positive things into our lives simply requires us to get out of own way!

I wish you luck on your endurance exercise, whatever it may be! And I welcome you to join me for mine! You can check my daily videos on my personal FB page.

By |August 12th, 2018|Posts|0 Comments

Reflections on Patience

by Orly Wahba

Over the course of the past two weeks I had an amazing opportunity to engross myself in an incredible learning program in Jerusalem at a place called Matan. I wish I could sum up all of the powerful lessons I’ve taken from the hours upon hours of learning, but perhaps I can share one small tidbit that connects with this month’s theme of patience.

Some misconstrue patience as inaction and associate it with stillness, silence and passivity. However, when looking at synonyms used for patience words such as endurance, perseverance, humility, persistence and fortitude sprang up. How are these words connected?

When we think about leadership we oftentimes envision constant action. A leader most certainly has to take action, but the type of action isn’t simply action for the sake of action – it’s thoughtful, purposeful and precise. To be precise requires the ability to pause and see things from a different perspective. Anyone can see a problem and attack it, a leader doesn’t look simply at the here and now. A leader has the vision to see beyond his own time, his own circumstances to see what can be. A leader must recognize that it’s not only about thinking outside the box, it’s realizing there is no box.

Why is patience so vital for leadership? A leaders task is to paint a picture that no one has ever dreamed of or envisioned and to provide a pathway for others to visualize that picture with them. It is for this exact reason that a leader must have patience with those he is leading, with himself and with the process; understanding that even though the picture is so clear to him it can potentially take years to make that a picture a reality. Years in the eyes of a leader is never relevant. What’s relevant is the realization of a dream and the ability to inspire others to dream that same dream. It’s for this reason that when we look up words associated with patience, we find powerful terms like endurance, perseverance, humility, persistence and fortitude. It’s clear that perfecting the trait of patience is an uphill battle.

Each of us have hopes, dreams and wishes of what we want to accomplish in our lives. To transform an idea into reality, let us begin to perfect the trait of patience. It’s through vision of what can be combined with the patience to understand that their is a process that we will ultimately be successful.

Reflections on Action

by Orly Wahba

Action can oftentimes be mistaken for simply doing. But true, positive action is infused with purpose, intention and fueled by passion. Action requires a great deal of strength, vulnerability and forces us to trust in ourselves and what we stand for. Each and every one of us holds within our hearts thoughts, ideals, hopes and dreams for the world. The question is what do we do with those thoughts? Do we simply allow them to exist in the recesses of our minds, buried beneath the surface, something we only voice once we hear others sharing those same thoughts? Or do we search for the strength within our hearts to share our message with the world, despite the fact that it may fall on deaf ears? When we fear what others think of us it’s close to impossible to live our truth, but our truth is the greatest asset we have to give to this world. Imagine if we all lived our truth and let go of the fear that our thoughts don’t deserve to be heard.

Growing up I was extremely shy, but it was actually more than that – I didn’t have the confidence to share my thoughts openly with others. At a young age, the troubles of the world would weigh on my heart like a ton of bricks. I felt the pain of others in a way that is hard for me to explain. I felt connected to this world and the people in it in a deep way and believed that I would be a key player in taking action and righting the wrongs. However, I lacked the confidence to stand by my beliefs in the midst of a sea of people mocking me for thinking that I could possibly change anything. My confidence has grown since then by leaps and bounds, and while I have become so much more vocal and followed suit with action, I know in the depths of my heart that what I’ve given of myself pales in comparison to what I still have inside of me to give.

I believe in action and have put action into motion, but what stops me from going the distance? Is it possible that while I have come so far, I am still controlled by what others will think? Action is a choice that must be chosen consistently every single day. It is my belief that we all have a beautiful vision for the world we are living in but we can become fearful to share it openly. I for one don’t want to settle for anything less than my true and ultimate potential. Recognizing our potential is scary because we then have the responsibility to follow through with action.

I look at the world and rejoice in how many more doers have emerged but I know that there is still a great deal of us that need to be reminded of something we already know; that when we all take action, in unison, the impossible is possible. My hope for this world isn’t simply to spread kindness, my hope for this world is to help people unveil the strengths within themselves because it is my belief that when we all live our truths – we can collectively resolve each and every issue we face as the human race. We are closer than we have ever been, but to break through we MUST all take action. The true kryptonite of action is the deep seeded belief many of us have that one person can’t make a difference, that we don’t matter. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Let us all remember that “The simple fact that you are here is proof enough to know you’re dear.”

 

The Daily Kindness Digest #569

 

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kindness quote of the dayKindness Quote

“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” ~Brain Herbert

act of kindness of the dayAct of Kindness

Spend some time learning about and exploring something that has peaked your interest. Pick up a book, read an article, or watch a video. Bonus: Share your findings with someone who may find it interesting!

positive affirmation of the dayPositive Affirmation

Today I am a student of everything. There is something new waiting for me to explore around every corner.

kindness media of the dayKindness Media

Ted-Ed video encouraging you to learn something new for 30 days.

Kindness Has a Birthday!

Inspiring Kindness Update
by Jason Hattrick

It was mid-April and a young boy, in the first grade, was getting very excited for his upcoming birthday just like every child would. Let me introduce you to Remington. Today was the day that he and his mom went to the local bakery to pick out his super-special birthday cake. Things however quickly changed once they arrived. While inside the bakery Remington says to his mother that he doesn’t want his birthday cake but instead asked if they could gift his cake to the policemen that keeps them safe. Shortly thereafter they pulled into the West Precinct of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) in Vancouver, WA. Together they delivered Remington’s Birthday Cake, gave their thanks and left knowing they were just extending kindness. What they were unaware of is that CCSO has Inspiring Kindness Deputies that took notice and sprung to action.

A few weeks have past and it is April 24, 2018. It is a regular day at Remington’s school but that will soon change. At 10:30am sharp a Kindness Sting sprung into action as not only did multiple Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Battle Ground Police vehicles roll onto campus but they were led by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office armored SWAT vehicle the Lenco Bearcat G3. Yes, it is as impressive as it sounds! As all the deputies exited the vehicle they were led into the school by the school’s principal straight to Remington’s classroom. Now imagine yourself, a first grade student, sitting at your desk and 6 officers walk in and call your name. “Which one of you is Remington?” Deputy Boyse asked as a sheepish hand in the back of the room was raised. Then Deputy McCarthy simply gestures to him and adds, “Your coming with us!” At that point the entire class was let in on the surprise and asked to join in honoring their classes Kindness Superhero, Remington!

The deputies led Remington and his class down the hall to the front of the school where the surprise of a lifetime was waiting. When Remington rounded the corner to see all the vehicles and the armored SWAT vehicle his jaw literally dropped, hands were thrown in the air and he was speechless. As the class congregated around Remington, Deputy Boyse presented him with a Kindness Citation for his generosity, his care for other people and for his example to his community of what kindness really means. It is through Life Vest Inside’s Inspiring Kindness program that Remington and his family will be now be able to go to www.inspiring-kindness.com and input their Kindness Citation identification number and a financial donation will be made to a local non-profit because of his kindness. Remington will also be able to pass it forward electronically to another person who has shown kindness in the world so that he can continue to create a ripple of donations and goodwill.

With the formalities completed the kids were able to explore the armored vehicle and talk to all the officers. Today, one individuals kindness was spread through multiple law enforcement agencies, an entire first grade classroom, the school and the community at large all due to a boy named Remington that wanted to say thank you. Well to finish off this amazing morning it only seemed appropriate that Remington, his father and grandfather all got to take a ride around the parking lot in the armored vehicle with lights flashing and sirens yelping – it was a celebration of kindness. Remington was in his happy place!

Finally our officers rolled off into the horizon seeking their next Kindness Superhero.

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Reflections on Optimism

by Orly Wahba

Oftentimes people associate optimists with blind idealists who fail to see reality and instead put their heads in the sand. I have to disagree.

“Every day may not be good, but there’s good in every day” ~Unknown

When looking through various quotes about optimism for this month’s Kindness Flash, this one stood out above the rest. Oftentimes people turn to me and ask, “Orly, how are you always so happy and optimistic?” I always laugh when I hear that because no one in this world is free from having a bad day. We all face challenges in our life, some different than others, but challenges all in the same. We all question our worth at times, feel like giving up, get knocked down, feel beat. An optimist isn’t someone who doesn’t experience these things; an optimist is one who combines strength of heart and strength of mind to seek out the good in the seemingly bad. An optimist understands that failure exists but refuses to accept the fact that those failures should stop them from making the attempt to climb higher.

Optimism vs Pessimism. There are so many cliches around these terms but the one that stands above the rest, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” We are told that a pessimist sees the glass as half empty and an optimist sees the glass as half full. But there is much more to this than meets the eye. An optimist doesn’t ignore the fact that there is an empty space in the glass, but rather sees that empty space as opportunity for growth. The pessimist doesn’t ignore the full space, but rather sees the full space as weight of the failed attempts to succeed.

I’ve always believed that a pessimist is simply an optimist in disguise. While you may disagree with me, that’s your call, but perhaps you’ll hear me out. Believing in your dreams, shouting them from the rooftop amongst the myriads telling you can’t achieve them is no easy task. It takes strength, courage and confidence. What if your dreams are never realized? Or even worse, what if you attempt to achieve your dream but fall flat on your face? There is a tremendous amount of risk associated with believing, striving and hoping. On the other hand, if you continuously bet against yourself and down play the fact that you can achieve anything of value – the fall to the ground has much less impact and therefore hurts much less.

We all start off as optimists but sometimes the hard hits we face in life squeezes the strength to believe, to bet on ourselves, to bet on humanity. And so a person is left with a far easier choice. I won’t expect anything from myself, I won’t expect anything from this world and I will seek out all of the things that happen in this world to further prove my theory. However, deep inside the heart of a pessimist is the greatest sense of optimism; the hope that one day someone or something will come along to prove them wrong, to beat all odds. It’s just too painful to consciously bet on something they are uncertain of time and time again. You see a pessimist is an optimists who has been hurt so many times and has created a protective layer around their heart.

So why is pessimism so dangerous? The greatest danger lies in the fact that a pessimist can eventually forget that their disguise is just that – a disguise. Eventually negative thinking will penetrate their mind, their heart, their actions and overtime they will forget that their core is seeped in optimism. What they stop betting on isn’t simply humanity – it’s themselves. We can’t always explain success – there is no perfect formula. Success itself requires one to believe in the unbelievable. After all, for a person to succeed at something so many are attempting to achieve, one must think out of the box and focus not on the failed attempts but the opportunity present in those same failures.

So while many label optimists as idealists sticking their head in the sand, I see it quite the opposite. An optimist sees the dangers, understands the possibility of failure but their reason for taking a leap of faith outweighs the cuts, scratches and bruises they may get if they stumble.

An optimists strength isn’t that they see the good in the world, but rather that they never cease to see the good in themselves. So get out there, love yourself more, cherish your failures and recognize that they are a part of what makes you you! Look at your scars in the mirror and pay a bit more attention to the collateral beauty. You just may inspire a hidden optimist to shed their disguise.

Reflections on Relationships

by Orly Wahba

It’s no coincidence that immediately following last month’s theme of courage we move into the theme of relationships. Relationships are all about being courageous enough to be vulnerable, to let someone in and to be willing to be honest and engage in dialogue even at times when it can be uncomfortable. While we often think of relationships as our connection with someone else, I have found that to begin to even discuss relationships we must start closer to home.

As many of you know, just one week ago I took the courageous plung and moved away from my home, everything I know, my family to live in Jerusalem for the year.

I can say that in less than a week I have seen a complete shift in one of the most important relationships we can nurture – the relationship with ourselves. Being on my own for the first time has provided me with the opportunity to get to know things about myself that I never knew before. I thought I knew myself pretty well and it’s been a pleasant surprise to learn something new with each passing day; a strength and determination I never tapped into before. The more we nurture the relationship we have with ourselves, the more likely we will be prepared to nurture other relationships that come into our lives.

For me, this move was about many things but one of the main things was to focus on building a life. It was about moving onto the next chapter of my life and building a long lasting relationship with one person who I hope to start a family with. I don’t know whether I will find him here or not, but that’s not the point. I’ve come to see that by simply fostering the relationship I have with myself, giving myself the time to breathe, to enjoy life and the simple moments – I can more readily allow others things to enter my life that may not have had the chance to enter before.

Yes, I’m a workaholic, but that’s only because I don’t see what I do as work. I can honestly say I NEVER worked a day in my life! The things I’ve always chosen to do with my time have been things that are so purposeful and that I am extremely passionate about. So it’s natural that I want to continuously give to those passions with no regard for time or my own personal space.

I haven’t even been in Jerusalem for a week and already I have been out and about at night meeting people, engaging in fun activities more times than I have taken a night off in NY for months upon months. The strange thing is that my productivity has only increased. It’s when we give to ourselves just a bit that we are at our strongest and when we are at our strongest – WOW what we can accomplish! Plus the best part of it all is that when we breathe and allow ourselves to simply live in moments without an agenda or plan – magic ensues. If we aim to control every aspect of our lives we limit the possibilities of the extraordinary from emerging. Relationships are not about control; they are about letting go of the control, trusting more, having faith more and following your heart more than your mind.

So to all of you out there – take the time for you. Nurture your relationship with yourself. Love you. Treat yourself well. Your best self will thank you for it and as a result you just may find that the relationships you’ve been seeking out in your life will magically find you. Here’s to letting go and trusting the process. Wishing us all an exciting adventure ahead. One filled with love, laughter, joy, happiness, wonder, excitement, passion, purpose and the most amazing sense of serenity. Thank you for being a part of my journey…

In the words of my all time favorite Billy Joel song, “Slow down you crazy child…you better cool it off before you burn it out. You got so much to do and only so many hours in a day…When will you realize Vienna waits for you…”

Oregon Brewery Running Series

Inspiring Kindness Update

The Oregon Brewery Running Series has gone above and beyond by adopting Life Vest Inside as one of their local non-profits. 10% of their proceeds from each 5K race are donated to Life Vest Inside. The OBRS encourages people to be active, build community, have fun, and chooses to give back to those that can help fuel the fire of kindness. I was able to connect with a ton of great people and share Life Vest Inside with them and how they can be part of our world. A very special thank you to Drew Klinsing and Nathan Freeburg for partnering with LVI, supporting us financially, and for helping to make the world a kinder place.

Inspiring Kindness in Full Swing

Inspiring Kindness Update

This has been an amazing month for Life Vest Inside and I am so excited to share with you a few exciting moments from Vancouver, Washington coming at you from our very own, Jason Hattrick – COO of Life Vest Inside.

Our Inspiring Kindness initiative is in full swing. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office continues to spread kindness as if they were on a high speed chase. In fact, I was introduced to a wonderful young lady through a Facebook post that was sent to me from one of our deputies. Here is the actual post:

inspiring-kindness-1

It was not the fact that she had collected over 80 blankets that got my attention but it was where her heart was. She is a living example of humility and grace that we want all of our children to grow up and emulate. That put my wheels in motion to plan a “Kindness Sting” to surprise and honor Missica. Myself and Clark County Sheriff’s Deputies Bain, Boyse and McCarthy showed up ready to go. We were also joined by another LVI partner Sabrina Mendez, Regional Manager of Dutch Bros. Coffee as she loves the idea of giving back to our community and wanted to honor Missica as well. With Principal Ed Little’s permission, we planned on just showing up at their school’s moring chapel where all students and staff begin their morning as a captive audience but…

Just two minutes before we were going to make our grand entrance our deputies got an urgent call, had to leave campus and engage in a pursuit and unfortunately were unable to present Missica with her citation. I bring this up for a specific reason. Our law enforcement officers do so much for our communities that are not part of their job description to create wonderful relationships with the citizens of every community. With a grateful heart, I am honored to know men and women, that when duty calls, place themselves between danger and us. I give a heartfelt “Thank you” to all law enforcement officers out there for your courage and choosing to stand for others.

Sabrina and myself did go to chapel and surprised Missica in front of her peers, teachers and parents with a well deserved Kindness Citation and a wonderful gift basket from Dutch Bros. It only takes one to start a movement and Missica is one of those people. Congratulations to Missica! inspiring-kindness-8

Reflections on Courage

by Orly Wahba

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~William Faulkner

Thinking about this month’s theme of courage, the quote of the month hits close to home for me. Courage can mean a great many things. From strength of heart, to perseverance, to taking a leap of faith, to following your heart even when you’re afraid, to venturing into uncharted territory – and leaving the familiar.

Change has never been something I love. There is a sense of comfort and security in the familiar; a warmth and homey feeling to it. But change, when you allow it to, can bring with it adventure and new beginnings. Seven years ago I took a leap of faith, probably one of the biggest in my life to date. I decided to leave a job I loved; truth be told it was more than just a job – it was a calling. I’ve always loved kids and having the opportunity to come to school each day and not simply educate, but inspire, empower and motivate my students to be the best they can be, to see themselves the way I saw them — that was the greatest gift of all. Those 7 years teaching were amongst the most transformative of my life. They set me on a path, they helped me tap into a strength that I never knew I had. I was only planning to take one year off to see what would happen if I threw myself into a dream I had; a dream to start an organization that would infuse this world with kindness like it had never seen before. A dream to shift the way people saw one another, by helping us begin to shift the way we see ourselves. I didn’t know it would turn into a 7 year journey to date and going strong. I remember how anxious I was. I didn’t know what would be. Could I possibly make something of this dream of mine? Would I impact change? Would I fail? Was I just kidding myself? It took all the courage I had and a whole lotta faith to jump in with both feet, willing to let the pieces fall as they may.

I still miss teaching every single day. The joy of connecting to your students, helping them navigate through the rough patches that come about as they discover who they are and what’s important to them. But I must say that taking that leap of faith, having the courage to bet on myself even though everything and everyone around me thought I was nuts – has proved to be an amazing life changing choice. The impact, the lives touched, the worlds changed over these past 7 years is incredible. I’ll never truly know, as we all won’t, the extent of the positive change our actions have. However, I am thankful every day to have been chosen to serve this organization, Life Vest Inside, from a place of such pure and deep love for people. Without COURAGE I wouldn’t be who I am and this organization would have remained just another dream propped up on a pedestal.

7 years has passed and I’m now faced with another choice. Another opportunity to be courageous and see where the pieces may fall. This past summer I had a chance to spend a month in Israel. I’ve spent many summers there growing up and those experiences are amongst some of the greatest memories of my life. Something inside of me began to speak, calling me to make a move. I’m a huge family person; my family means the absolute world to me and I’m lucky enough to live in such close proximity to all of them here in Brooklyn, NY. So when the thought of moving away popped into my mind, I don’t think anyone thought I would actually listen to it – I don’t think I thought I would listen to it, to be honest.

After a lot of back and forth and emotions running wild, I finally made the decision to move to Israel for the year to test it out and see what it’s like. I’ve been finding myself walking around my house late at night with flashbacks of all the good times that happened in this home, the home I grew up in. I’ve always had a close attachment to my home, especially after finally moving back in 6 years after we had a fire my sophomore year of high school. My home has always been my safety net, my haven – the place that carries the essence of my childhood.

At the end of this month, the month of COURAGE, yet another 7 years from my last big courageous leap – I’m taking yet another one and heading to Israel. If I said I wasn’t nervous – I would be lying. There are loads of emotions flying about. I choose to see this as an adventure and what a great place to begin an adventure.

As William Faulkner so wonderfully writes, “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” And so I’m setting sail, on yet again another exciting adventure. I look forward to what’s to come and how I can bring Life Vest Inside’s message of kindness, connectivity and respect to the region as well as the personal growth I will likely experience.

To those of you out there fearful of the unknown, fearful of failure let me remind you of the words of C. JoyBell C., “Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”

Here’s to a courageous start for us all! May the pieces fall as they may…

Reflections on Love

by Orly Wahba

Love exists in so many forms, each beautiful and unique in their own way. Love between a parent and child, husband and wife, teacher and student, friends, family, love of self, etc… I don’t think any two people love in the same way. It’s something personal and internal. It’s the way we interact with the world but it begins with the way we interact with ourselves. For some love is just a word thrown around like confetti. For others loved is sacred only shared with those close enough to be vulnerable with. But for all, love is something all consuming, unconditional and in my humble opinion it can never be truly understood because love grows and with growth comes change in interpretation and meaning. Love grows because we grow. When we grow our perception of love shifts and develops.

Some people believe you can only truly love a quantifiable amount of people, but I’ve never been one to believe that. I have experienced love in some of the most intense and remarkable ways. I have always said that I fall in love with people more and more each day. Why?

To LOVE is to give! When we give wholeheartedly, without expectation of receiving something in return – we come to love the object of our love more and more with each passing moment. When two people give wholeheartedly to one another – their love and bond grows deeper and deeper through each moment of giving.

But what of unrequited love? Why does it exist? Afterall, if like attracts like then shouldn’t someone who loves another wholeheartedly receive that same love in return? The answer is no. The real question we should be asking is where is that love and that giving coming from? Is it coming from a place of strength or from a place of weakness?

Oftentimes people get the two confused but they are polar opposites. Giving from weakness feels like sacrifice. When you give to the object of your love from a place of weakness, the danger is that you will come to resent that same person one day. Why? Because the likelihood is that you’re giving in order to feel worthy as opposed to giving because you feel worthy. Giving should NEVER feel like sacrifice. In fact when we give from a place of strength we’re filled with a sense of abundance and plentitude; it’s as though we are a candle giving of our light to others but never being depleted of our internal and inherent fire and energy. I’ve always said that when giving begins to feel like sacrifice, stop giving right away and start turning that giving towards yourself.

Once you’ve mastered giving from strength, your love will become deeper and endless. How do we know that giving is the root of love? Think about the love a parent has for their child. A parent will always love a child more than a child will love a parent. Why? Simple – it’s the giving principle. A parent is constantly and unconditionally giving to their child from a place of strength. The more they give, the more connected they are to their child.

In today’s world – why is it that we see such an increase in divorce? Why is it so much harder for people to “fall” in love? Why are people searching tirelessly for their other half? In my opinion, we live in a time of instant gratification. We press a button and presto something happens. If our cell phone doesn’t respond almost instantly to our touch, we are already considering getting the new model. It’s not our fault – we have been conditioned this way because the fast pace we find ourselves going at. A person simply receives benefit from their cell phone, we don’t give back to our cell phones. It’s a one way relationship. And so when we feel like we are not receiving any more – we toss it away. But love is not a cell phone. It’s something that requires work, effort and the concept of GIVING! When we don’t give to the object of our affection, how can we expect to love deeply. It’s by giving that that bond is developed. A healthy relationship is built on both giving and receiving. This is diametrically opposed to giving to receive. If you give solely for the purpose of receiving, love cannot flourish and grow – it’s stunted.

So what do we do? Perhaps the answer is look inwardly and recognize that we are loved regardless of whether someone proclaims their love for us. It’s only when you internalize love for self that you can then love and give outwardly from a place of strength because you are no longer giving and loving to be accepted – you are accepted regardless of someone else’s love.

Once we can completely give just to give and allow others to give us in return, can we begin to comprehend the vast abyss of that which we call “LOVE.”

As it’s said in one of my favorite movies, Moulin Rouge, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

By |February 6th, 2018|Posts|0 Comments
 

The Daily Kindness Digest #492

 

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kindness quote of the dayKindness Quote

“A man’s real worth is determined by what he does when he has nothing to do.” ~Megiddo Message

act of kindness of the dayAct of Kindness

Start a kindness chain. Be creative! You never know how far your simple act will spread.

positive affirmation of the dayPositive Affirmation

Today I focus on the good. Even amidst hardships, there is always something to be grateful for.

kindness media of the dayKindness Media

Former students surprise a teacher who inspired them.

Inspiring Kindness continues partnership with Clark County Sheriff’s Office

Inspiring Kindness Update

Inspiring Kindness powered by Life Vest Inside is continuing its unbelievable partnership with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Vancouver, Washington. So much has been going on in fact that I am only going to be sharing the events of the last 48 hours.

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On Wednesday, December 18th Deputy McCarty and Sheriff Atkins planned a kindness sneak attack on an unsuspecting staff member at Sunset Elementary School. As hundreds of students and faculty entered the gymnasium they all had the same question, why are the police and the news cameras here? They would soon find out! Principal Michael Martin introduced Deputy McCarthy and Sheriff Atkins and then invited Angie Winston aka “School Mom!” Today Angie was issued a “Kindness Citation” for her above and beyond efforts at Sunset Elementary. She is the Safety Patrol supervisor where kids and parents are greeted with a smile and a hug. Amazing! She also supervises the cafeteria (thankless job) during lunch and is in charge of all the kids’ medications. If that is not enough, she also fills in as a secretary or sub when there is a need, and always does it with a smile on her face. Today was an incredible day for an incredible ambassador of kindness. You can see the news story from KATU Channel 2 right here.

Then on the morning of Thursday, December 19th I was invited to attend the Clark County Sheriff’s Office: “Shop with a Cop” at our local Walmart store. Deputies are paired up with families with children in need and get to have the shopping experience of a lifetime. It is magical, the relationships between law enforcement and children. It was an incredible way to start a morning. More available on their Facebook page.

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Following “Shop with a Cop”, I had the opportunity to meet with and train additional deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office who have volunteered to be part of the Inspiring Kindness initiative. Our community is seeing the incredible impact that a little bit of kindness can spread. The ripple effect is definitely being felt as Life Vest Inside continues to get requests for this brand new program from multiple law enforcement opportunities across the United States! For more information, please check out last month’s Kindness Flash story.

Prepare yourself; you may be the next recipient of a “Kindness Citation!”

By |January 3rd, 2018|Posts|0 Comments

Reflections on Resolution

by Orly Wahba

A resolution is more than something we make at the beginning of a New Year; it’s something we contemplate at the end of one as well. The concept of resolving something means that before you begin a new chapter, you must first take an accounting of the chapter that’s just about to close. Afterall, how can we figure out where we’re going before we take the time and effort to understand where we’ve been; the mistakes we’ve made, the accomplishments we’ve achieved, the person we’ve become, the hopes realized and dreams pursued, the missteps and the choices that led us to where we are in the here and now.

For most, we create lists upon lists of what we hope for the future – what we envision the new year to bring. However, we don’t invest ample time evaluating the past. For some, looking at the past is scary. It brings up emotions that we may rather stay hidden, locked away. But we can’t hide from our past. Whether we like it or not it’s a part of who we are but it doesn’t have to define where we will go. For some, the past makes us feel sad. Perhaps we’ve strayed from the person we had hoped we would become, perhaps we have lost sight of what’s important in life, of who is important in life. Or perhaps looking back makes us feel guilty of the things, the people and the memories we left behind. Creating meaningful resolutions isn’t easy because it requires that we shed light on the darkest parts of ourselves. For some, remaining in the darkness is preferable. After all if you ignore what you need to change, you have no responsibilities. But responsibilities and “growing pains” are the reasons we live life. We are here for one thing – to improve our character. Not to compare ourselves to this person or the other, but to compare ourselves to who we are meant to be. Feeling guilty never helps anyone. When resolving to make resolutions be careful not to allow the gap of where you are to where you want to be crush you and stop you in your tracks, preventing you from taking the first step. We can’t climb a mountain overnight, but we can take steps each day to ensure we reach the top.

Resolution comes from the Latin word resolvere which means to loosen or release. When we think of resolution – the concepts of being determined, firm and strong willed come to mind. But when we look a little closer we learn that to make a lasting resolution – one that will stick – we need to loosen our grip. We need to take a moment to step back, reflect and experience true release. Only by doing so can we begin to break things down into its parts. Once we do that, we now have a blueprint instead of one larger than life goal. As I always say, Dream BIG, but think small! Don’t forget to list the small steps you will need to take to turn that dream into a reality.

But be aware – just because breaking things down into their parts is an important process in creating a resolution, focusing too much on the exact pathway you think you need to take to get you there is dangerous. It can blind you from seeing other pathways you never knew existed. A true resolution is a perfect meld of both release and control; of being cautious and taking a risk. Too much of either can leave you feeling frustrated.

By |January 3rd, 2018|Posts|0 Comments

Kindness Flourishes in Times of Loss at York Elementary School

Inspiring Kindness Report

Thinking back to our elementary school days we typically have fond memories of friendships, playground games, and some of the most amazing teachers we will ever know. York Elementary in Vancouver, Washington is no exception to the joys of childhood. However, on Monday, November 27, 2017 they lost one of their very special first graders to cancer… her name is Mackenzie and she was an absolute princess and as beautiful as a butterfly to those that knew her. A loss of this magnitude is never easy to comprehend and to even harder to begin to tell such young children that Mackenzie was not coming back…impossible!

Mackenzie and Principal Harris

Mackenzie and Principal Harris

It was decided by York Elementary Principal, Dawn Harris, that letters would be sent home to parents the following day so each family could talk to one another, provide support and process this event as the best could.

Then on Wednesday, the school had a Staff Community Circle to process their own feelings. What is so frequently forgotten is that teachers are rocks for their students. They remain strong so others can be weak. Teachers are nurturers and caregivers to every one of their students every single day. However, with a loss like Mackenzie from their school, many staff members were deeply struggling. When they arrived in the faculty room for the circle this is what they discovered.

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Dpt. B. McCarthy, CCSO and Cyndee Richards

Dpt. B. McCarthy, CCSO and Cyndee Richards

5th Grade Teacher, Cyndee Richards, kept asking herself what she could do for her colleagues in this difficult time. What she did was what she always did when strong emotions needed to be processed…she wrote. She laid out rows and rows of sticky notes across her dining room table and filled them with positive thoughts. She then used them the following morning to decorate the whiteboard in the staff room with words like peace, kindness, grace, friends, space and hugs and phrases like “You are loved.” This beautiful tribute to her school family then also formed a heart in the center that read, “Gather what you can, what you need, knowing, we are in this together.” To truly honor Mackenzie they needed each other and needed to show an unconditional love for one another. Cyndee knew that everyone needed to grieve in his or her own way and this was hers.

Cyndee commented that she sent that love out into the world to be received with no expectations about what it would do. She knew her kindness would be received well because York is a special place. She also said, “I didn’t need to be recognized or thanked…ever. I am a merely a product of all of the inspiring people around me who show me love and acceptance every single day. Small acts can make a big difference.”

We want to give our heartfelt condolences to Mackenzie’s family at this time of loss. We also want to give our love to the staff and families of York Elementary School as you strive to heal and love those you get to touch each day and in doing so honoring the memory of the one we lost. In addition, we want to honor Cyndee Richards for Inspiring Kindness.

By |December 6th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments

An INSPIRING new Life Vest Inside initiative that truly SERVES those we PROTECT

Inspiring Kindness powered by Life Vest Inside is officially underway!!! We are so honored in our partnership with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Vancouver, WA. Our deputies have been fine-tuning their eye muscles seeking acts of kindness throughout our county. What is “Inspiring Kindness?” I am so glad you asked. When a Sheriff’s Deputy witnesses a kind act, they will be honoring those individuals with a “Kindness Citation.” Not only is this bridge the gap between law enforcement officers and their citizens but it is also generating a contribution to a local non-profit just because they showed a little kindness…amazing!

The non-profit that receives the contributions can change from campaign to campaign. In our inaugural showing, the CCSO has chosen “Santa’s Posse” to be the beneficiary of these kindness donations. Santa’s Posse was created in 1997 as a way of contributing back to the community and helping families in need during the holiday season. What started with delivery of food, gifts and personal care items to 25 families has expanded to 1,000. This year, Santa’s Posse will provide Christmas gifts for over 3,400 children in their local community.

We have to give a very special thank you to Sheriff Chuck Atkins and all of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputies for taking on this charge. Also for their daily commitment to making our community a safer place, but also a more compassionate one. Together, through KINDNESS, we will keep our county, country and world afloat.

A special shout out to all of our men and women in law enforcement for your service to your communities. Thank you!

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(Left to Right) Dpt. B. McCarthy, Sgt. K. Allais, Jason Hattrick, Sheriff Chuck Atkins, Henrik Gerner, Sgt. A. Schoening & Dpt. J. Granneman

By |December 6th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments

Reflections on Laughter

by Orly Wahba

When I think of laughter one of the first memories that comes to mind is the famed Mary Poppins song, I Love to Laugh. Mary Poppins was and still remains one of my absolute favorite movies. Not simply because it transports me back to childhood, but because of the lessons of positivity that resonate through the entire film. For those of us who’ve seen Mary Poppins time and time again, we can’t help but fall in love with dear old Uncle Albert and his wonderful song, I Love to Laugh. Regardless of what mood you find yourself in, it magically brings a smile to your face and laughter to your heart. So what is the message behind this whimsical song?

“The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I’m a merrier me”

Life isn’t always so clear cut. There are ups, there are downs and there are a vast array of times in between. Times of laughter and joy, of sadness and sorrow, but if we remember to infuse each day with a bit of laughter, finding our own unique way to make light of oftentimes very difficult situations, we don’t magically transform the situation, but we allow ourselves to push through and seek out the reasons within our lives to laugh. The more we laugh, the more our lives become filled with glee. The more the glee, the more we’re a merrier we!

We all have those go to’s in our life. The small things we do for ourselves that make us laugh and for a brief moment put the hardships we may be facing on pause. For some it’s spending time with the family or being in the presence of children, for some it’s listening to music, watching a funny TV show or browsing through the latest comedic bits on YouTube. I personally always end my day, regardless of how late it may be with an episode of Friends – a good laugh is always the best way to end the day!

Wherever your laughter comes from, make it part of your daily routine, even if it’s just a few moments each day. When we laugh and put joy into the world, oftentimes the world finds more reasons for us to continue laughing.

By |December 6th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments

Reflection on Healing

by Orly Wahba

Thinking about the theme of healing, the first word that comes to mind is believing. That may seem a bit strange at first but consider this; our minds are more powerful than we can begin to imagine. When we believe something to be true it becomes our reality, for the good and unfortunately for the bad.

This past month has been a month of enormous pain and suffering. From those whose lives were turned upside down by the onslaught of natural disasters to those and their families innocently victimized in the Las Vegas attack on Sunday, October 2nd. Whether you’re personally connected to someone that has been a victim or not, we are all mentally, emotionally consciously and subconsciously feeling the hurt. As for myself, I’ve been feeling out of sorts as though the weight I generally feel on my shoulders has not only gotten heavier but in a sense become unbearable. As I’ve been conversing with people it’s evident that others are feeling the same way. We all want to do something to make a change but with so much pain it feels almost impossible to think we are powerful enough to make that change.

Pain can oftentimes change us. Make us lose faith, make us question, make us shut people out, make us break down, make us become cynical or bitter and worst of all – make us stop believing.

I woke up on the morning after the Las Vegas attack to hear the tragic and devastating news and I started crying. It wasn’t so much a feeling of hopelessness but more a feeling of helplessness. Knowing that people are suffering and feeling as though there is nothing I can do to help. Naturally I began questioning myself, after all the work I’ve dedicated myself to is focused on uniting people, infusing kindness, love and respect. Am I actually making a difference? It was only when I jumped on a call with a dear friend of mine who reminded me of something I already knew in my heart to be true, but was so blinded by the pain that I couldn’t see. “This is exactly why you need to keep on going Orly,” he said. Because if you impact one person it’s as though you impact the world. It’s in times like these that we need to hold steadfast to the belief that our actions matter. Each person is a world of their own, so touch the life of one and you touch the life of all those they are connected to. We are all interconnected. Through giving the greatest healing ensues.

This statement alone is the foundation of Life Vest Inside. The concept that kindness keeps the world afloat. We may not be able to prevent the hardships, curve balls and obstacles from coming our way, but what we can do, what we have the power to do, what’s in our ability to do is to throw someone a life vest – a life line of kindness. Even though they may still be surrounded by waters, by troubles that small life vest can literally be the difference between life and death. It instills within a person the hope that all will be ok.

I’ve always found that like attracts like. The moment we allow ourselves to feel defeated, the more reasons to feel defeated come our way. So how do we shift our mindset? How do we heal when we feel so much pain and confusion? How do we believe in spite of hardships?

We give. But here’s the important part, giving isn’t something we only give outwardly – it’s something we must first give inwardly. If we are healed from the inside – then we can more readily heal the world on the outside. Think about a life vest. What’s the difference between a life vest that saves someone and one that allows a person to drown?

AIR.

The more we GIVE from our own air supply the stronger our life vest becomes. The strong our life vest becomes, the stronger we become to help others around us. To lift them up when they can’t lift themselves. So how do we stay afloat in a world that sometimes seems to be pulling us downward? How do we heal? The answer is INSIDE of you – your greatest life vest exists within YOU! We keep each other afloat in this world. So take a deep breathe, remember that YOU can and together let’s keep this world afloat one life vest, one act of kindness at a time.

As Michael Jackson put it in what I call the single most powerful song of all time,
“And the dream we were conceived in
Will reveal a joyful face
And the world we once believed in
Will shine again in grace”

Listen to the words, let them enter your heart, your mind and your subconscious. Even the most cynical of us, deep down inside, believe in our hearts of hearts in our ability to HEAL THIS WORLD. Join me and bet on this world and the people in it so that we can “Heal the world, make it a better for you and for mean and the entire human race.” All we need to do is “make a little space” in our hearts, see past the pain, the fear, the negativity the endless reasons to give up – and remember…

“There’s a place in your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place could be much
Brighter than tomorrow

And if you really try
You’ll find there’s no need to cry
In this place you’ll feel
There’s no hurt or sorrow

There are ways to get there
If you care enough for the living
Make a little space
Make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place
For you and for me



If you want to know why
There’s a love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares for joyful giving

If we try we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel
Fear of dread
We stop existing and start living

Then it feels that always
Love’s enough for us growing
So make a better world
Make a better world

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

And the dream we were conceived in
Will reveal a joyful face
And the world we once believed in
Will shine again in grace
Then why do we keep strangling life
Wound this earth, crucify its soul
Though it’s plain to see
This world is heavenly
Be G-d’s glow

We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we’ll cry happy tears
See the nations turn their swords into plowshares

We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space
To make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me.”

Thank you Michael Jackson for your art and your heart. This song made me such a strong believer, ever since I was a little kid, that I can in fact make this world a better place.

By |October 14th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments

Renewal, a practical Guide

by Orly Wahba

How do we successfully hit the reset button and give ourselves the chance to begin again without the baggage from past poor choices? I’d like to share with you some of my own methods of renewal.

For me, September has always been a month of renewal. Not only is it my birthday, it’s the beginning of the school year. Being that I have been on a school calendar for almost my entire life; first as a student and then as a teacher, September has always felt like the start of something new. On an even more personal note, the month of September also marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year.

I just want to interject that I have always been super careful not to bring up anything related to religion in regards to Life Vest Inside as the organization is an organization of the people; for all people regardless of what they believe or don’t believe; it’s place and platform where everyone is welcome and invited to be just who they are. That being said, I thought that these emails/blogs can be a fun way for you guys to get to know me a bit better. I just want to say that if perhaps I share something about myself that you don’t agree with for some reason or another please reach out to me. For me dialogue is key and I think that the world needs to be doing a bit more of that. I’m beginning to realize that we shouldn’t avoid speaking about certain things, instead what we should be focusing on is how to have open, honest and sincere dialogue with people that may believe or live differently than we do.

That being said, I guess you can say this post itself represents renewal; a renewed state of connecting of understanding and of sharing.

So why did I mention the Jewish New Year? As we all do, the new year forces us to reflect on our past year and take an accounting of all we’ve done and all we’ve accomplished. It’s natural then that we also take an accounting of all we haven’t been able to accomplish and the areas where we fell short. Looking at both are important when we’re hoping to start anew because it allows us to be realistic about the goals we hope to set for the coming year.

I have a very specific ritual I do every year; while I may not be successful in upholding the ritual to the letter of the law each and every year – the simple act of doing the exercise helps me focus on what I hope to bring into my life.

While the new year comes around only once a year I’ve oftentimes practiced this ritual mid year or revisited and modified the exercise midway.

Step 1: R&R
Find a relaxing place where you can let your mind rest and find calm

Step 2: Create a list
Make a list of personal, professional, and spiritual goals that you hope to accomplish by the end of the coming year, or the end of a given period. Ask yourself, how do I want these areas of my life to look like in so and so amount of time from now. Be as specific as possible.

Step 3: Break it Down!
Now that you know your goal, the next step is to create a spreadsheet that you will look at and consult each day. Listing large goals is not enough, we need to break them down into their parts. For example, what practical thing do you need to do either daily, weekly or monthly so that you can guarantee you will achieve your goal by the end of the year. For example, if I wanted to build a better relationship with my family. One of the more specific things I can list on the weekly section of my spreadsheet would be to call or visit my grandma, to organize a monthly family outing, etc…

What routines can you begin to implement in your life and/or what renewed vision can you adopt so that your goal doesn’t simply remain an item you wrote on a list but something you truly embody. A goal isn’t something you check off of a list. A sustainable goal is one in which you find a way to infuse into your daily life so that it becomes synonymous with who you are. The key is to remember that the greatest thing in the way of us achieving our goals is ourselves and so a renewed mindset is vital.

Step 4: Accountability
This is the most important part., and oftentimes the hardest. Print out your spreadsheet and keep it by your bed side. Make a commitment to read through the list every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed. Check off which things you were able to do that day. The left column should have a list of daily, weekly, monthly goals and the top row should have the dates for the month. Check off the boxes each day of the things you were able to accomplish. You want to make sure your goals are super small and achievable; after all it’s important to work off of positive momentum.

Regardless of whether you are able to check off everything on the list on a given day or whether you aren’t able to check off one item, the important thing to remember is to read through it. I’ve found that when I start I’m filled with so much excitement and energy I end up being able to check off everything from the list. If I find myself at the end of the day and there is only one thing not checked, simply reading it infuses me with energy to complete it just so I can check off the box.

Here’s where to be careful. The question isn’t whether you read the list on the day you accomplished everything. The question is whether you continue to read it on the day when you aren’t able to check one thing off the list. Guilt prevents us from wanting to even glance at the list; don’t fall into that trap. It’s ok to have days where you are on the ball and days when you’re not, but if you stop looking at the list, you will come to resent the things on that list because they make you feel guilty for not accomplishing them. It’s true what they say ignorance is bliss. We prefer to dismiss the list from our mind instead of looking at it and realizing that we are nowhere near being able to accomplish the tasks.

At the end of each year as I would take an accounting of my year, I would sit with all of my monthly checklists and analyze the points where I fell short, the times when I was successful in checking everything off my list and the times where it was clear I wasn’t even reading the list. I found certain patterns and took strides to prevent myself from falling into the same pattern. Whenever I find myself feeling overwhelmed, stressed or confused as to where life is going and my role within it all; doing this exercise affords me the opportunity to reconnect to a part of myself and look with fresh eyes to the future.

Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself! I would never be so audacious to say that my method is the best method. I think that when it comes to personal growth we all need to find our own pathway. Perhaps there is something I’ve written here that speaks to you, perhaps it will lead you to creating your own tailor made formula for renewal. The one thing I have learned is that there is always something to learn from everyone and everything. Never close yourself to soak in tidbits of inspiration, motivation or knowledge from any sources. You may not enjoy an entire album, but you just may fall in love with one song.

Something to keep in mind when committing yourself to a renewed way of thinking or a renewed way of life – don’t fall into the trap of allowing your past decisions, choices and reality become your future. Think of each day as a blank canvas and you are the sole artist making all the calls. Perhaps today’s painting may not have come out the way you had hoped, but tomorrow is a new day with a fresh canvas waiting for you. We are not our mistakes, but if we allow our mistakes to define us we will never escape them.

I’ve found that in addition to allowing ourselves get in the way of our growth, sometimes those closest to us hinder our growth as well. Not because they don’t care or are unkind, but rather because they have a certain picture in their head of who we are and shifting that picture isn’t always an easy task.

I happened to have been a really tough child, always throwing temper tantrums growing up. I remember wanting to change and being embarrassed of how I acted but it was so hard for me to prevent myself from lashing out. My family members would often make fun of me and rightfully so, but worst of all I was labeled as the kid that would lash out and throw temper tantrums at the drop of a hat. As I started growing I made a very conscious effort to change. It took a lot of work; working on who we are on the inside is much harder than any physical work we can ever do. I was making great strides and I felt proud to see myself grow. But then I would “fall off the wagon” and have an isolated episode. I would immediately feel terrible but the hardest part was people saying, “You’re still the same. You never change.” I had changed and I was always working on how to improve myself, but one mistake erased all the progress in the eyes of others. This feeling can be disheartening and make you feel as though, “What’s the point in trying,” they’re always going to see me in the same light. It’s hard to convince ourselves otherwise, but we can’t change how people react to us all we can change is how we react to them, the choices we make. Perhaps you won’t get a pat on the back for the strides you’ve taken to improve yourself, but you know in your heart all that you’re doing.

I have changed so much since I was that child throwing temper tantrums. The truth is, having been that kind of a child allows me to connect and empathize with children who act out. It’s no wonder that during my years teaching, I always connected to the kids that teachers didn’t want to deal with. I would NEVER give up on them just as I never wanted anyone to give up on me. Our mistakes therefore, are the key to where our greatest achievements may stem from. I was the teacher I was because of those past mistakes.

Let’s remember that everything we are and all that we’ve experienced is yet another piece in our puzzle. It’s up to us to figure out how those pieces come together to make up the beautiful and unique picture that is YOU!

To all of us I say, allow the people in your lives to change for the better. Allow yourself to see those positive changes, those efforts at renewal, however small and seemingly insignificant they may be. Call attention to the positive even more so than the negative. By doing so, you become a part of a much greater change they are headed for.

By |September 4th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments

Reflection on Renewal

by Orly Wahba

We’ve all experienced hardships in our life; obstacles, bumps in the road and moments when we feel as though we don’t have the strength to push forward, to stay afloat. Speaking for myself, I can say that more often than not, it was in those moments of utter confusion and chaos when clarity and calm began to peak it’s head out from amidst the noise and started to take shape. We can’t see it in our hour of need, but rebirth and renewal almost always spring up precisely at the point of collapse, our breaking point. Why? While some people may see this anomaly as sadistic, nature’s way of playing games with us, I see it as it’s way of instilling hope and strength.

Consider this, when you see a tree in the dead of winter and inspect its branches and bark – had you not known that spring follows winter you would never imagine or predict that soon enough that same tree, looking frigid and dead at its core, bears life deep beneath the surface and that once spring comes along it will be as vibrant as ever.

During my years as a teacher I taught my students a phrase, “G-d provides the cure before the disease.” Whether you believe in G-d or not, is irrelevant. But try and understand the concept. Although we may not have the vision to see it, the source of healing, renewal and rejuvenation is present even prior to the moment of pain and suffering. Simply understanding this and believing this allows us as human beings to remain hopeful amidst the hardships, knowing full well that the winter will pass, and spring will surely follow.

Renewal. It stems from the realization that you have all you need deep within you. The potential to grow, to overcome and to succeed is within your power – you simply may not have the strength to call on it just yet. But sometimes all that is needed is time.

As we gear up for a month of renewal, let us revisit our past and take the next steps forward with the confidence that we can and we certainly will. After all, “success begins with a fellow’s will it’s all in a state of mind.” ~Walter D Wintle

By |September 4th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments
 

The Daily Kindness Digest #292

 

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kindness quote of the dayKindness Quote

“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.” ~Pierre Corneille

act of kindness of the dayAct of Kindness

Take the extra split second and hold the elevator door open for someone rushing to make it. We’ve all been there, now let’s remember what it feels like when we’re on the other side of that door.

positive affirmation of the dayPositive Affirmation

Today I will spread my wings and fly! Life is meant to be lived and I will live it to the fullest!

kindness media of the dayKindness Media

A beautiful video about how simple acts of kindness can mean so much.

The Great Dictator

 

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The Great Dictator speech by Charlie Chaplin has become an all time favorite of mine. A message that is as true today as it has been throughout the centuries. It’s a message to awaken us all to recognize that we are in fact one people. While many differences exist amongst us, differences in race, in religion, in ethnicity, culture and background; differences in beliefs in tastes, in ideologies – our differences are not reason to war, to harm, to torment, to imprison and to kill. They are in fact reason to celebrate, to love and to rejoice.

The message of this short speech is simple: what if those in power…empowered? What if influencers, influenced for the good; not simply for the good of themselves, but for the good of humanity. What if instead of pointing fingers at others, we took a long hard stare in the mirror at ourselves and tried to uncover ways in which we can become a part of the solution as opposed to simply adding gas to the flame.

And so a few months back after sharing the original Great Dictator speech with the Life Vest Inside Ambassador’s – I decided that it would pretty amazing if members of the Life Vest Inside Ambassador group from all different parts of the world would come together to recreate the Great Dictator speech – a message for the world, a message we all desperately need to be reminded of.

Why did I choose to do this with members of Life Vest Inside (LVI) community? For me – it was a simple choice. LVI has always prided itself on being a platform where each and every person’s voice can be heard, a place that welcomes you with open arms and where labels don’t exist. The core of this organization is empowerment. Empowering people to truly recognize their value, their potential and the good that only they are able to bring into this world. You see it’s only once a person truly values themselves that they can openly value others for who they are, in spite of their differences. But when a person doesn’t have a real sense of value for who they are and doesn’t wholeheartedly believe in what they believe – fear can arise. Fear that the beliefs of another will infringe upon your own. And so a person is left with one choice, but to force their beliefs and ideologies on those who they are fearful will challenge their own beliefs. This is exactly where conflict, resentment, hate, and war stems from. If only we all felt secure enough in who we are and what we believe, there would exist no reason to challenge others.

People oftentimes use the word freedom without really understanding its essence. True freedom is acknowledging that others believe differently than you do and not feeling the intense desire to alter their beliefs (so long, of course, as those beliefs don’t put into question the life of another). We all have a place in this world, something unique and significant that we can bring that no one else can. Understand that, celebrate that, embrace that and you will no longer feel hatred or resentment towards another.

Perhaps the purpose of us all traveling on this journey that we call life is to bring us to a consciousness that we all play a role and that by fulfilling our role we contribute to the good of humanity as a whole. It is my belief that in this world we have all of the resources, knowledge, manpower and tools we need to ensure that every person is cared for, is healed and is successful. Perhaps it sounds crazy, but that doesn’t make it untrue. To get to where we need to be, we need to start being who we are meant to be; each and every one of us.

You want to stop hate in its tracks? Stop giving into it, stop feeding people someone or something to point fingers at, to place blame on, to use as a scapegoat. No one person is responsible for the hate that exists – to believe so will only turn you into the dictator you’ve hated. We can no longer allow ourselves to be manipulated to believe that SOMEONE or SOMETHING is to blame for our lot in life.

Division is oftentimes caused because something or someone convinced you to believe that it was there to begin with. We are better than this – personally I LOVE all people regardless of what they believe, don’t believe, or whether they agree or disagree with me or my opinions. But nothing will change the fact that I will still LOVE them as a person, respect them and embrace them…no matter what! The moment I loose that, is the moment I am no longer a member of the HUMAN RACE! We are all so interconnected – when will we all finally see that is when hatred will no longer a place in this world. Let’s remember that just because someone may have different thoughts, opinions and beliefs than you do – doesn’t make them wrong and doesn’t make you right. What makes EVERYONE right is embracing people even though YOU may not agree with them.

And so, I hope this video collaboration will serve as a reminder to all of us – that what we all truly crave is PEACE. PEACE can not be fought for – FIGHTING for something will ONLY bring about more reason to fight – it will never lead to peace. Peace must be something we live by, must be something we embody, a way to see ourselves and a way to see the world. So the next time you want to fight for something, consider living for it instead.

Do you want to become part of another worldwide video collaboration? Email me at orly@lifevestinside.com.

A BIG thank YOU goes out to all of the Kindness Ambassador’s who took part in this worldwide video collaboration. Without each of you this video would never have come to be.

 

The Daily Kindness Digest #223

 

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kindness quote of the dayKindness Quote

“Always give without remembering & always receive without forgetting.” ~Brian Tracy

act of kindness of the dayAct of Kindness

Offer your delivery man a warm cup of tea or hot cocoa on a cold winter day.

positive affirmation of the dayPositive Affirmation

I am VIVACIOUS! Every cell in my body vibrates with energy and health.

kindness media of the dayKindness Media

A simple act of kindness helps a customer in a unique way.
 

The Daily Kindness Digest #211

 

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kindness quote of the dayKindness Quote

“And in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” ~Anon

act of kindness of the dayAct of Kindness

Deliver freshly baked cookies to city workers in your area. A delicious surprise remember far long after the cookies are gone!

positive affirmation of the dayPositive Affirmation

Today I am PATIENT with myself and others. Sometimes it’s within the pauses that the greatest things come about.

kindness media of the dayKindness Media

A chance encounter on a plane gives a mother of an autistic child a wonderful act of kindness.

MAGIC IN THE MATTER

BY LAURA JENSON

I was touched deeply today. Reminded that the simple things we do, the little things we do…matter. Matter more than we realize. Magic in the matter. Magic in the touch. Magic in kindness and love. A few months back I ordered “Life Vest Kindness Cards”. I wasn’t sure where they would all go, though at the time ordering 100 seemed right. They sat for a time and I knew that where they needed to go would be revealed…right on time. With Easter approaching, I made up Easter boxes for family and friends. Some got mailed to faraway places and some I hand delivered to people I see and touch each day. Each box was a mini Easter basket with sweets, eggs with jelly beans and chocolate…and some had a dollar. Each box had a “Life Vest Kindness Card” in it. I didn’t pick and choose who got which card…I just blindly put them in each box and trusted that the right card would get to the right person. I made boxes for all the girls down at the bank. Their smiles and giggles were my gifts. The assistant branch manager was out that day, so I placed her box in her chair. At the time I didn’t know why she was out…until today. Sadly she was out because her mother had taken ill and passed away. She approached me this morning as I walked towards the elevator…she was coming in from outside. A short walk to help her compose her day. She stopped me from getting on the elevator. With tears in her eyes she said, “I just wanted to thank you for my Easter box of goodies…more importantly the “Life Vest Kindness Card” that was in my box. My card said “Take the time to tell someone you love them.” That touched me the most. My mother passed away and I was able to get home and tell her I loved her before she departed.” Then I had tears in my eyes and we gave each other a big hug. Magic. How I was touched this morning, moved me to the distribution of the rest of the “Life Vest Kindness Cards”. This story in an envelope, with a card and a dollar. The significance of the dollar comes from my childhood. My grandmother who had 5 children with spouses, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was on a fixed income and could not afford to purchase gifts for everyone. So to make sure no one was left out or forgotten on birthdays and holidays…each of us got a card with a brand new dollar bill in it. My grandmother passed away when I was sixteen years old. She is missed deeply on this physical plane, though with me each day. Growing up those cards and dollar bills meant more to me than anything I ever received, because she remembered me and loved me. Simple…I mattered to her. One dollar bills remind me that the simple things we do, the little things we do…matter. Matter more than we realize. Magic in the matter. Magic in the touch. Magic in kindness and love. I trust the Universe will make sure that each of these envelopes arrives right on time, to the person that was meant to have it. Know that you are felt and loved. Know that you are special. Know that you matter. Wishing you Peace, Love and Light on your journey ~   This beautiful post was written with love by Life Vest Inside Kindness Ambassador and Group Leader, Laura Jenson. Thank you for being YOU Laura! You are truly wonderful! IMG_20140424_142953
By |September 1st, 2014|Posts|0 Comments

GUEST BLOG

ABHINAV SHARMA ON KINDNESS

“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” – John Wesley   I couldn’t help but be touched by these captivating words that prompted me to engage in introspection. The very sight of the words weaved a magic on me. I was mesmerised and bewildered, but mostly perplexed. How can someone engage in a noble cause in which there is no money to get out of it?   Why should someone spend his time doing well for others? Why shouldn’t it be “tit-for-tat”? The world is avaricious enough, people are self-centred and mean, so why should I not reciprocate the the same thing? These thoughts sprung up in my mind, but I managed to break the flurry of them.   The answer to those questions is “our way of thinking”. It is how we look at things, how we perceive things. Obviously, I believe that our thoughts are shadows of our parents, the texture in which we are nurtured. However, I opine that us, humans, have got acumen. We have got our insight to tell us what is right and what is wrong.   If I ask, “What is your contribution in making this world a place of our dreams?” then one may defend himself by saying that “I am too small to make a difference.” This is where we exhibit tomfoolery.  Now, just to corroborate my point, I wish to give an example. Historically, we see that there were invaders who ransacked our country. Their rule was atrocious and people witnessed brutal activities. As a result, crime was at its peak. In stark contrast, the reign of rulers that were benevolent and kind saw humanitarian deeds by common people.   Therefore, whatever we see, we tend to apply that in our lives, no matter whether it is right or wrong. Very few follow their brains. On similar grounds, we learn from our parents. That is human nature –  to learn from the imposing individuals around us. If we can inspire someone to head towards graciousness, then we can be a link in a chain to promote kindness all around.   I strongly feel that one can derive inspiration from what is around us.Nothing around us is useless. We can learn to be good even from stray animals. To drive home my point, I will share a personal experience.   I was quite moved by a kind act of a dog towards its female counterpart. I often offer milk to stray dogs. There were a pair of dogs would wag their tails at the threshold as a sign of hunger. It had become routine for them to fight for the right to drink the milk first, but the scenario seems to have changed in the past few days. Now, the male dog allows its female counterpart to have milk first and never interferes while she is consuming the milk. That was something very difficult for me to digest at first. What was the reason for such an aberrant behaviour? Soon I came to know that the female dog had given birth to puppies, so the dog allowing his counterpart to have milk was just an act of profound care. Kindness is possible even in animals. One who needs motivation to be benevolent can be inspired by animals. It is abstruse how humans, who consider themselves as masters of nature, fail to understand such an easy thing while animals are practicing it.   This pragmatic world believes in “tit-for-tat.” If someone is doing wrong, he should be reciprocated in the same manner. However, if someone is insightful enough, he may see the other side of it. What if I say, if someone is doing good to you, he should be reciprocated with the same goodness? It sounds laudable. Again, it is a matter of our thinking. Broaden your mind to see both sides of a coin.   One may recognise oneself as significant amongst the crowd. A single act of kindness may even change the life of someone. It is necessary to fill one’s life with bliss. There are many destitutes who are void of education. The ones who are poor have no access to basic facilities and necessities. What we have as necessities may be a dream for them. So, can’t we manage our time to help these unfortunate ones? Can’t we make plausible efforts to remove or decrease the gap between two sections of society? Yes, we can. All we need is grit, determination and unflagging persistence.   If we vow to teach even a single child, we can make a difference. The day “each one, teach one” gets into effect, we’ll see a commendable change. In addition to teaching, we can pool funds to provide a decent life for impoverished ones. Also,the elderly can benefit from our activities. They can be given needed treatment for ailments, as well.   At the end, it is imperative to remind people that spreading kindness is not mandatory, rather it is an obligation. We are not being given any certificate for performing noble deeds, but the ecstasy that one experiences is above the rewards given in lieu of carrying the chore. And after all, it is our planet, our home, and it is our part to make it a fantastic place and stand enthralled for the triumphant success in making the world we want!!!!!   “No one loves you, you make yourself lovable. It is the time for greatness – not for greed. It is the time for idealism – not for ideology. It is the time not just for compassionate words, but it is the time for compassionate actions.” – Marian Wright Edelman What-would-you-do-if-you-could-change-the-world Abhinav Sharma currently resides in Jalandhar, a city in the north-western Indian state of Noida (JIIT) where he is pursuing his bachelors degree in technology. His hobbies include listening to music and writing poems, stories, and articles where he is able to express himself and pour out his feelings. Abhinav dreams of one day becoming a famous TV personality and he considers his parents and siblings to be his greatest source of strength and support.  

Catch Kids Doing Something Good

by Marni Rivera

Are you familiar with the game “Doorbell Ditch”? Or many you know it as Knock-Down-Ginger, Ding-Dong-Doorbell Ditch and Knock-Knock Run! I remember playing Doorbell Ditch for hours. I’d only stop when I got caught – or my dad whistled that it was time to come inside. If you never played this game, it involves knocking on the front door (or ringing the doorbell) of your “victim” – then running away before the door can be answered. They open the door to no one. You hide and watch their reaction. I remember the feeling I used to experience after completing the act. Although it was supposed to be a fun game, I felt awash in a wave of guilt, fear and shame. I always felt terrible for the person who answered the door and found no one standing there. Most of all, I remember thinking: “I wonder if I just interrupted them from something important.” My strong feelings of guilt almost always overshadowed any fun I was supposed to be having. My children recently asked if they could go Doorbell Ditching. “Here we go,” I thought to myself. “Do I allow them to have some good ol’ fashion (somewhat innocent) fun? Or do I use my childhood memories to guilt them out of it?: So, I created a new way to have the same SORT of fun. It’s an alternative to Doorbell Ditch – with a positive shift! Same game – with a new happy focus which turns it into a positive, character-building activity. Same fun and silliness – but without the negativity after taste! Most mornings, the first kid up and I take a walk together. They hold one of my hands, and with the other hand I gold my morning cup of coffee. It’s a great way to have that important one on one time with mommy. While we’re walking and talking, we’re also scouting for newspapers which were left far away from neighbors’ front doors. We then grab the once-distant newspaper and place it right smack dab on the doorstep. It melts my heart knowing this morning paper run makes my kids feel good! They turn around and give me a thumbs up when our mission is complete. It’s a great way to start the day! This has become a fun tradition in my family. I’m hoping it will be a new tradition your family can adopt this summer- to help your kids focus on positivity and kindness. Plus – when the neighbors spot your kids doing kind things, chances are they will catch the kindness bug! I’m sure you have many of your own ideas to help kids learn positive behaviors, so please share your ideas – and any photos with us!   Visit: http://kindnessu.com/ to learn more about their awesome work or connect with them on Facebook! kindness-run2

AOK Cards

taking over the lives of our newest interns

When I found out I was going to be the newest intern at Life Vest Inside I was so excited. I’ve heard about Life Vest Inside in the past but I was not even close to correct with any of my assumptions until I met Orly Wahba, the CEO and founder of Life Vest Inside. I thought I knew what LVI was from friends and family in my community, a non -profit organization with the main objective to spread kindness. It wasn’t until I met Orly and spoke to her did I realize how much more there was to LVI. Not only does it involve spreading kindness all over the world and advocating people to do good deeds. It also helps empower those who participate to improve their growth and self -confidence. The way that Orly spoke about LVI with such passion and enthusiasm made me fall in love with LVI and even more excited to work!   Orly handed me a stack of cards called Act Of Kindness Cards, I didn’t realize then, but I would always be carrying these around with me. My wallet now consisted of credit cards and AOK cards! “Hand these out to people you encounter! Help spread the kindness.” I was given ten cards to start off with and I started to think of different scenarios in which I could give out these cards to spread the kindness. There was no point in looking for these situations, because they just come at you, unexpected yet nevertheless meaningful!   My first encounter was actually that night- I was going to fix my phone at my local cell phone store. It was a long wait and all I wanted to do was get home already, I started to envision the delicious foodwaiting for me on my kitchen counter. The man working behind the desk informed me it would be another fifteen minutes, after sitting in silence for all this time I decided to start up conversation. The conversation was awkward at first but I realized everyone loves to talk, so once you ease the tension it all unfolds from there! We started to talk, and really talk, something I learnt from my first day was to try to be as engaged in the conversation as possible. I decided to do something with all the kindness motivation I got that day after being in the LVI office. I whipped out one of my AOK card like a pro and handed it to him. It was the best feeling seeing his lips curve upward into a smile. I felt empowered, he felt good and suddenly that awkward tense air in the store turned into positivity.   The card read: “Say “please” & “thank you” today and really mean it! There is a reason they are called the magic words!”   He started to laugh and asked me what it was. I went into a full explanation of LVI and didn’t hesitate when he asked for more. I felt like I completed a mission, I started to wonder where the AOK cards would travel to next….   “You will get these back,” he promised me.   Yeah, I thought, I probably will. Kindness and empowerment makes a full 360, like a boomerang, always coming back to that time you acted on a little thought that made a difference.
 
Welcome Samantha Shamah, our newest intern!

Welcome Samantha Shamah, our newest intern!

 
My stack of cards!

My stack of cards!

Selfies with our AOK Cards!

Selfies with our AOK Cards!

Orly’s day on the court

NY Knicks Honor Orly Wahba

On Sunday April 14th, 2013 Orly Wahba, founder of Life Vest Inside was honored at Madison Square Garden by the New York Knicks at center court and awarded the Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award. Each month the Knicks reward an outstanding member of the community with the Knicks Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award in honor of Nat Sweetwater Clifton, the first African American to play for the Knicks who remained a stellar figure in the community until his death in 1990. This award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond and have made a difference in the lives of others in a significant way. Orly was called to center court during the 2nd quarter of the game and was joined by NY Knicks legend, John Starks, who presented her with the award. Orly was honored for all that she has done and continues to do through Life Vest Inside, a non-profit she built from the ground up. Life Vest Inside is dedicated to spreading kindness, empowering people, and building self-esteem and self-value. Orly received the award with great humility and said, “I’m honored to be given the privilege of waking up each day knowing that the organization is making a difference in the lives of others. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences.” As for the purpose of the organization, Orly said “It’s all about showing people just how amazing they are and the potential they have to affect real and positive change in the world through simple yet powerful acts of kindness. When we are involved in acts of kindness, we realize how unbelievably amazing we are and that our value isn’t reliant on the amount of followers we have on instagram or Facebook, by the clothes we wear, or by how wealthy we are, but more importantly by the lives we touch, the impact and mark we leave on the lives of others.” When asked about how it felt to receive such an honor from the Knicks, Orly commented, “I am so thankful to the Knicks for their amazing love and support. I don’t do what I do for recognition but at the same time a thank you can go a long way. It’s the thank you emails, posts, and tweets that people send me each day that keep me going, keep me giving, and most importantly keep me believing that change is possible and that kindness is the way to get there.” Walt “Clyde” Frazier, NY Knicks legend and commentator was touched by Orly’s commitment to Life Vest Inside and commented, “It’s so great to see someone like that…so young and so concerned about our youth.” The Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award couldn’t have gone to a better candidate; Orly truly is an inspirational community hero. To learn more about Life Vest Inside or to contribute to this amazing cause visit: www.lifevestinside.com and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram: (@lifevestinside) Interested in Corporate Sponsorship opportunities? Email: orly@lifevestinside.com or Call: 347.2929.LVI
Life Vest Inside is proud to welcome Adversity to Advocacy (A2A) on board as our Kindness Partner! See below for an interview with Life Vest Inside Founder, Orly Wahba, about her YouTube sensation, “Kindness Boomerang,” and the personal adversity-to-advocacy story behind it. Adversity 2 Advocacy Alliance (A2A) is an all-volunteer 501(c)3  non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and fostering the power of turning personal challenges into service to others with similar challenges. To this end, A2A has three primary objectives: (1) Network and support inspiring individuals who have turned adversity into advocacy; (2) Provide pathways to advocacy for anyone facing adversity; and (3) Showcase the proven power of turning adversity into advocacy. While adversity is something we all experience to some degree, there is one approach that time and time again has proven successful in helping a person overcome the challenges they are facing. It taps the wisdom of the age-old adage that we help ourselves by helping others, and it is supported by a growing body of empirical evidence.  This approach is simply that of turning one’s personal challenges into service to others with similar challenges, and it’s available to anyone battling any form of adversity. A2A aims to achieve its goals through a web-based collection of inspiring stories, educational material, and advocacy opportunities for individuals: (a) facing mental, physical, or other life challenges; and (b) looking for ways to be of service to others with similar challenges. A2A has proven to truly influence change in people’s lives. Life Vest Inside is proud to be associated with A2A and would like to acknowledge the great work they are doing in building a phenomenal healing process for those who have experienced a great deal of adversity in their lives. As their motto states, “We help ourselves by helping others.” A2A Allies program is a very practical way for LVI followers to demonstrate kindness.   By adding your name to A2A’s “Wall of Allies,” followers are simply declaring their belief in the A2A concept that we help ourselves by helping others.  In doing so, you are also showing great kindness to dozens of remarkable individuals who have courageously turned their adversity into advocacy. A2A Founder, Jeff Bell, interviews Life Vest Inside Founder, Orly Wahba, about her YouTube sensation, “Kindness Boomerang,” and the personal adversity-to-advocacy story behind it. Click HERE to check out the interview. To learn more about A2A and get involved click HERE Link to A2A’s ally page

Welcoming Our Newest Intern:

Shannyce Lashley

Life Vest Inside is excited to welcome Shannyce Lashley on board as one of our newest interns. Shannyce has recently moved from Trinidad and is pursuing her degree in journalism and communications. Over the past few weeks Shannyce has shown herself to be committed to spreading the message of kindness by embodying it on a day-to-day basis. Read below as Shannyce shares her experience with Life Vest Inside and why kindness is so important to her. Shannyce, welcome aboard to the LVI family! “I first learned about LVI through an internship workshop at Brooklyn College and I must say that I was captivated by the organization’s mission. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and this was clearly noted when I had the opportunity of meeting Orly Wahba, the Founder of Life Vest Inside, on the day of the workshop. For as long as I could remember I have always been interested in helping others. When I saw the video “Kindness Boomerang,” I knew that I had found my purpose in life. This may sound cliché, but I had found my calling. I had the opportunity to speak to Orly when the workshop ended, and amazingly enough we both clicked! I was in love with what she was trying to accomplish through LVI, and I knew that I could be a helping hand in seeing that through. Every day we are given the opportunity to make someone else smile, so why not do it. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see.” At Life Vest Inside, we are changing the way people see themselves and others by spreading the word of kindness and empowering people to see that even a simple act of kindness can go a long way. I am passionate about helping others and I believe that the opportunity that Orly has afforded me will definitely make a difference in the world. This may seem a bit far-fetched, but once you believe you can achieve! A small group of people can change the world! Life Vest Inside’s mission is to make kindness go viral and that is exactly what we are going to do because after all…kindness keeps the world afloat! My first memory of experiencing a kind act was in my pre-adolescent years. As a child I used to perform ballet, and one year at dance camp, I was unable to complete a dance routine because I fell down and twisted my ankle. I remember my dancing partner running over to my side to help me stand up. She did not have to do that, but she chose to be kind and help me. Similarly, when I was in high school, I did something that helped me see the world differently. I realized that we do not have to be kind, but in fact we choose to be kind, and in doing so, we uplift ourselves in ways others can only dream of experiencing. One morning on my way to school there was a homeless man near my car. I stopped at the traffic light and he came up to my window and said, “Ms. I’m not here to ask you for any money, all I want is something to eat.” I reached over into my bag and gave him my sandwich. He occupied my mind throughout the rest of the day and at the time I didn’t fully understand how much of a difference I made. After that, each day I saw him I would give him my lunch. Honestly, he changed my life more than I changed his. He showed me that something small can in fact make someone’s life better. Kindness is an important part of fixing things in the world because we as human beings need to look out for one another. The main goal humanity has to achieve is the actualization that we need to be our brother’s or sister’s keeper. People should choose kindness because it is what keeps the threads of humanity tightly bound. We are all made up of different races, colors, religions, and cultures, but it is our difference that makes us unique. Together we make up the quilt of humanity – and it is one beautiful quilt!” ~Shannyce Lashley Thank you so much Shannyce for sharing with the LVI community and for living a life of kindness.

Show You Care

Wear the Bear!

Life Vest Inside would like to recognize the charitable contribution of Peace Bear to donate 5% of sales to Life Vest Inside’s world changing mission. Founded in 2011, Peace Bear is a female owned and operated company that designs, manufactures and markets Jewelry and Handbag lines, targeting a young female demographic. Peace Bear International believes that businesses should be socially conscious. And so, all of their products are designed with a built in “social component” that enables them to pay it forward by contributing a school bag to a child in need. For each bag purchased and 5% of jewelry sales to Life Vest Inside. Check out their website to purchase Peace Bear merchandise.  
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    Orly Wahba addresses the Women’s Chamber of Commerce: The Magic of Kindness

Orly Wahba addresses the Women’s Chamber of Commerce:

The Magic of Kindness

On Thursday April 18th, 2013, Orly Wahba, founder of Life Vest Inside, was invited back to speak at the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce for their quarterly Women in Business Luncheon. The Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce is a valued resource for businesses and the community. The Chamber fosters growth for its members by providing information, facilitating business education, encouraging collaboration and sponsoring networking opportunities. Bill Atkins, a member of the Board, commented, “Orly had first come to speak at the luncheon back in November and after such a positive response, I felt it necessary to have her present again. Especially with everything that’s happened in Boston, people are in need of a powerful message to restore their faith in humanity.” Life Vest Inside is a non-profit organization with a mission to unite and empower the world with kindness. “It’s all about helping people see the amazing and wonderful potential they have to make a difference in the world through simple yet powerful acts of kindness!” Orly stated. The event was a huge success. As soon as Orly began speaking, she instantly lit up as she shared the story of Life Vest Inside and the powerful message it carries. People were captivated by her words, and enchanted by the great cause she is working towards achieving. Terese Rölke, an Independent Representative of Primerica Financial Services Insurance Marketing, Inc commented, “This was the most amazing presentation, Orly is a fabulous speaker. She inspired the whole crowd. There’s no doubt that she is going to make a difference in the world. Not only does she have a huge heart, she is authentic and it shines through.” Orly’s engaging presentation told the story of how she first started out and what drove her to invest all of her time into this worthy cause. “The concept of uniting people has been a part of my story since childhood, but it was my students who inspired me to take it to the next level.” In spite of the obstacles Orly faced when starting out on her venture, she pressed on and had a positive mindset for her vision. “I told myself that if I truly believe in my vision I need to let go of the fear of failure and just begin. I had no idea how I would reach the masses, but I knew I wouldn’t give up.” She shared some of her personal challenges and obstacles in life, experiences many can relate to. “We may not be able to prevent the curve balls life throws our way, but we most certainly can throw someone a life vest, a life line of kindness to help see them through, to help keep them afloat. After all we are all part of this world to help see each other through,” stated Orly. Maggie Ruane, a Sales Consultant at CSAV Systems remarked, “She is a phenomenal person and her presentation was great because she brings in real life situations others can relate to. It really touches your heart and it makes you want to do something as great as she is doing.” In her words, “Kindness is Magical because more than anything it reminds a person of their worth and just how valuable they truly are. In today’s society we all need a reminder that we matter.” The event ended with a roaring standing ovation and one by one the attendees approached Orly to share their personal stories and how the message of the organization resonated so deeply with them. “I have been attending these luncheons for 3 years and I’ve never seen anyone receive a standing ovation,” one of the woman remarked. The message is so simple, yet so powerful. “Kindness doesn’t require a change in lifestyle, but simply a change in perspective.” ~Shannyce Lashley (Shannyce is currently interning with Life Vest Inside and is a student at Brooklyn College)

To learn more about Life Vest Inside and donate visit: www.lifevestinside.com

Interested in Corporate Sponsorship opportunities? Email: lifevestinside@gmail.com Call: 347.2929.LVI

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram: @lifevestinside

Non-Violence:

No Higher Calling

At a time when violence in the United States is at its highest level in nearly two decades, international spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of the leading lights in the quest for non-violence, is taking a stand. His Holiness is launching an unprecedented national movement to counteract violence with one billion acts of non-violence. The initiative , “Non-Violence: No Higher Calling,” challenges individuals to commit to an act of non-violence through a social and digital campaign, culminating with the Guru’s five-city U.S. tour at the end of this month. Supporters of this groundbreaking initiative, powered by Mr. Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, are encouraged to share their commitments on the “Non-Violence: No Higher Calling” website in an effort to make non-violence go viral. With thousands of pledges recorded and partnerships with schools and advocacy groups underway, the peaceful crusade has already begun to change the world with actions ranging from playing only life-affirming video games to speaking out against bullying to practicing daily meditation, yoga or prayer. The goal is to accumulate 100 acts of non-violence for every act of violence and eventually reach one billion acts. Engaged citizens in five major U.S. cities will witness the power of this movement first-hand when Mr. Shankar, joined by various celebrities and activists, leads a massive guided meditation with thousands of participants to help create a stress-free mindset. Each event will also feature its own unique style, including live music performances, participation from various elected officials and inspirational speeches from students on what non-violence means to them. “The Wright brothers appeared crazy before they flew, and I have this crazy idea–a world without violence,” says Mr. Shankar, whose life mission to unite the world by instilling human values has inspired people throughout the world to connect and inspire change.. “With all the violence in the world, this idea may appear to be hoping for utopia, but we need to dream and we will get there. If we instill pride in being non-violent, compassionate and helpful to others, our lives will take a new direction. And that should be our unwavering commitment!” The tour comes to New York on March 30th at 2 pm at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. And it ends with an award ceremony at the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Morehouse College in Atlanta, where Mr. Shankar will be honored with the Gandhi-MLK-Ikeda Award for Non-Violence.   For more information on the “Non-Violence: No Higher Calling” campaign and upcoming events, visit www.nonvio.org.  

Kindness Hero of the Month:

Ziwei Mao of Miami, Florida!

A note from Orly Wahba, Founder and President of Life Vest Inside… It’s been one year since Kindness Boomerang first went viral spreading its message of kindness to the hearts of millions across the globe, and igniting the feeling of hope and possibility. I remember the hundreds of emails that would flood my inbox daily from people far and near expressing their gratitude in what the organization stands for. With every email my love for people grew. From a short email with a simple thank you, to a long email filled with a person’s most inner thoughts and hopes – each email, each tweet, each post inspired me, energized me, fueled me to keep pushing forward. To push beyond the fear of making Life Vest Inside not just a hobby but a life choice. I remember people calling me crazy. Saying, “Orly, you don’t need to answer every youtube comment, email and post! That’s insane!” But I refused to pay any attention. The way I see it, if a person takes the time to share their appreciation or thoughts with me, the least I can do is send a response. Looking back, I now see that it was those simple responses to people I didn’t even now that became the foundation for the organization, what we stand, who we are, and who we will never forget to remain. PEOPLE MATTER – plain and simple! I remember the very first email that Ziwei Mao, this month’s Kindness Hero, sent my way. Little did I know back then that he would grow to become such a vital of the organization and the Volunteer Leader representing Miami in LVI’s WorldWide Dance for Kindness event. Ziwei wrote: “Hey LVI, Just saw your Kindness Boomerang video, it was so inspiring. What kind of volunteer opportunities do you offer? I am in the Miami, Fl area. Thanks.” At first Ziwei was intrigued by the Acts of Kindness Cards and I gladly sent a bunch his way. Not long after he contacted me with excitement as he shared experiences with the cards. But Ziwei wasn’t done; he had only just begun to show his dedication to the organization. “I want to help in any way I can. I want to spread this message and do whatever you need. You tell me and I’m on it!” That was Ziwei’s approach. Various ideas were thrown around but when it was decided that LVI’s next main event would be a WorldWide Dance for Kindness, Ziwei didn’t hesitate in the least bit. “I have received your world wide flash mob video and eagerly awaiting the next step!” Ziwei’s enthusiasm empowered me and pushed me to get things moving along. From the beginning he was on top of everything, ensuring that the event would be a great success and more importantly that the organization would be represented with honor and dignity. Watching the Miami FlashMob video brought tears to my eyes. He did an exceptional job and what more he uplifted others and got them excited about kindness! Now that is AMAZING! So if you’re out there and you want to make a difference, never EVER think “how can I possibly organize an event?” YOU CAN! All you need to do is begin. Is it easy? Is it simple? No! It may not be – but can you do it? YES of course you CAN! Ziwei took the event to another level and as a result of his amazing work he has now stepped forward to become an official Kindness Ambassador for Life Vest Inside in Miami! Our next event…well you’ll have to wait and see! But one things for sure, with Ziwei as a member of my team I know we are in for yet another great success! Ziwei, you may have been inspired by Kindness Boomerang, but I have been inspired by YOU! Your fan and friend, Orly We asked Ziwei what led him to Life Vest Inside… Well, it started about around February of this year, I forgot how but I came across the “Kindness Boomerang” video. The very minute I watched it , I told my self I need to be working with LVI. LVI’s mission directly correlates with what I believe in and what I want to do in the world. So I contacted Orly and that’s where it all began. When I was asked to be a group leader for the World Wide FlashMob, honestly I was hesitant and a little bit afraid. I had never taken up a project like that before and never even participated in a flashmob before, when I got the email I was speaking with a close friend of mine, her and I always spoke about what we can do to change the world and that sort of stuff. So when I told her I didn’t know how to reply because I was afraid I would not do a good job being a group leader, she said one thing “Just Do It!”, she kind of pushed me out of my comfort zone and help me realize if I want to help change the world I am just going to have to dive in. That is the story how I ended up being a group leader, she has been with me every step of the way and have helped me spread LVI’s mission across Miami. For me, it has been such a wonderful experience. I can see the direct impact that LVI has, when I look at all the people that was involved with the flashmob. Everyone it touched has been inspired. We love you, Ziwei! We are so honored to have you as our Miami, Florida Kindness Ambassador!
By |December 25th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

Kindness Boomeranging

Almaty, Kazakhstan!

  English teacher Timur Boskin of Almaty, Kazakhstan showed his students our Kindness Boomerang film. Here are some of the students’ thoughts about Life Vest Inside and the power of kindness… 🙂 Leonid: I know “Life vest inside” for about one month, it’s not too long, but still I understood that the community “Life vest inside” is making a real thing, to help people and to solve their problems. I think that real problem in the world is that simply don’t understand each other. We have to try to help somebody to know he’s problem, because we could understand people by helping them. I  think that “life vest inside” is organization, which realizes our dreams. Dreams which we are afraid of telling people because they can laugh at us. Fatima: I do agree with “Life vest inside” organization. Because they try save our souls, our kindness. They want us to understand how it is important to be kind with other people around us. Life vest inside it not only charity organization, they don’t just give money to somebody, they makes us feel ourselves like angels do and we can help. We can do very important step in one’s life. So, with life vest inside, I understand that I am capable to. Aigerim: I like life vest inside very much. I think that it is very important and I also believe that kindness one of the best things in the world because in our life people forgot about simple good things. We played “Angel game” and it was very interesting. It was very cool, because my “object” was happy, when I put some presents and good things for this person. Diana: I think a creation of life vest inside is really good idea, which made good influence to us. It is important to be kind, to can give, not only to take. Because when you do something nice to others, it makes that person happy and of course, makes happy you! I think life vest inside is very good project. Because without LVI we won’t be kind and generous. And without kindness, we can’t live on the Earth. I like this project. I think because of it I become kinder and more open to people. Adil Maken: I think Life vest inside it is very good project. I know this project one month and now I became better. Before I was very bad, for example when someone I help. If was beaten I didn’t pay any attention. But now I have become better.I want to tell you one story. I found money and I didn’t spend it I tried to find host of the money, but I could’t. Later I found one boy who was eating a bit of apple and I gave him money that I found. I saw his smile, I gave him hope. He was happy and I’ll never forget his smile. Alua: I think Life vest inside community is very important and helpful organization. They’re trying to awake the kindness and love in people. It is relevant, because nowadays our world become meaner, colder and darker. Life vest inside really keeps our world afloat. If they won’t care, nobody care. Dayan:  I think this project is Great, because people like it. Everybody like it. I knew this organisation, but didn’t pay attention, but now I like it too. Kindness – very important quality for all people of the world, because kindness keeps world on afloat. Dilara: Nowadays people pay attention to techies more than human quality and it’s really sad. When I looked around me I saw selfishness, rudeness, evil and other bad stuffs. But when I heard about LVI I was pleasantly surprised, because I saw that the kindness exists. And it’s really cool that people from all around the world are doing a good things just because they want it. Bibisara: I think that LVI impacted me in a very positive way and it is very important to care about kindness in the world. Because if all people care and think about other people in our world we can change everything. I know that it is a good idea to start kindness from our class and our school, and the first step was – “Angel game”. I hope that everyone will join us!!! Zhanbolat: So, I like “Life Vest Inside”. In the past I saw organizations like this and I liked it too, but they were not so global like LVI. After then, when I got introduced to the project I want to do more good things, but I can’t to do some thinkg. Because people think that I am a bad boy or a shoplifter and like this. I don’t know why they think so … Maybe because I like to wear dark clothes, and I am with the strange hair stile? Don’t look on this I do like kindness.I want to write a story. One day I went from school. And … I saw an old lady on the road. I ran to her and I asked what had happened. She sad that she fell and couldn’t stand up. One I couldn’t pick her up and then unfamiliar man stopped the car and helped me and then went further. I asked where she was going to. She said to house number 19 A and she didn’t know where it was. I accompanied her to the house and when we come she said: “Thank you! Thank you very much! God Bless you!” and she said it with tears on eyes … When I went home I didn’t understand, why nobody didn’t help her. I think than she is poor and asks for money. This proves once again that people are judged by their looks. It’s awful. And I want that everybody everyday do at least one good thing. Asanali: I think Life vest inside is a great non-profit organization of the world. I like it, Because kindness keeps the world afloat, kindness – very important quality for all people of the world. We need to give kindness to each other! Alemkhan Life vest inside is WONDERFUL organization. They help to other people, poor, people, whose sick. It is very important to help other people, because most people are thinking only about themselves. We have watched LVI videos and they’re very good. At school we played Angel games. Rustem: I like Live vest inside very much. It’s a great project. They show how it is important to be kind to each other. That’s why we joined Life vest inside. And now we play the angels game. Everybody must help to other and make kindness anonymously.   (THANK YOU to Republican Science High School for your words of inspiration!!!!)
By |December 23rd, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

Kindness is Thriving

in Bend, Oregon! 

Andy Worcester and Mark Koopman, teachers at High Desert Middle School in Bend, Oregon, have started numerous Kindness Boomerangs within their school! Their 6th period class made THIS VIDEO and showed it to the 750 students within the school. The same class then performed Kindness FreezeMobs for the lunch room! WOW!!! We are blown away, this is phenomenal. Our Life Vest Inside team is SO proud! Keep the Kindness going, HDMS!!! Read Andy’s full email:   Dear Orly, I would like to share with you how your “Kindness Boomerang” video has impacted High Desert Middle School, in Bend, Oregon. I will try to be brief, but I am very excited about what is happening here. On October 10, we celebrated Unity Day in our school by asking students and staff to wear orange in support of anyone who has been bullied. During the day, a colleague sent a link to your video, which had been shared with her by one of her students. From there the idea of spreading the Kindness Boomerang took off. My teaching Partner and I are fortunate enough to work with an incredible group of kids who have embraced this idea, and are running with it. On Monday, November 5, we held an all school assembly, combining your video, along with video clips of our students. The kids answered questions such as ” What would it be like if everyone was kind to each other at HDMS?”, or “How does it feel when someone shows you kindness?” Their answers were passionate and real, and the entire student body of 750 was engaged and attentive. We followed it up today with a Freeze Mob of Kindness during our school lunches. The same students froze in an act of kindness, while their peers watched in amazement. We were able to broadcast it on a screen for all to see, and receive the message that it only takes a slight moment in time to show a little kindness. With the help and enthusiasm of our students, we will continue to “throw boomerangs” throughout the year, as more activities are being planned. I can honestly tell you that the last two events would not have taken place without the inspiration from your video. It, along with your message has touched our students, my partner and myself, and by the feedback we have received, many others in our school. We hope to post our class  projects to our school website, and perhaps we could send them on to yours. For now, we send the boomerang back to you, and say thank you. You have inspired us greatly. Sincerely, Andy Worcester, Mark Koopman, and our awesome 6th period class  
By |December 20th, 2012|Posts|1 Comment

Rise of the Mud Army

in Queensland, Australia

We received this touching email from a Queensland, Australia resident: Dear Orly, how are you? Firstly, I want to thank you for making the video ‘Kindness Boomerang’, I have been showing this to my students, I know many have been showing the video to their friends. A bit of an intro, I am a teacher, and a physics PhD student. I live in Queensland, Australia. I have a true story to share with you: In January 2011, I lived in the Lockyer Valley, in between Brisbane and Toowoomba. I had just moved in after having surgery, I was still in pain, but coping okay and looking forward to a few weeks of relaxation and finishing my Masters degree. All this before I was due to start work at the new school later that month. January is usually hot, as it is high summer here – but this one had been not too hot, but unusually stormy. Then in early January, the impossible happened… the Queensland floods, sometimes referred to as the ‘inland tsunami’. This started in Toowoomba, then roared through the Lockyer Valley, literally sweeping entire towns away. I remember being in my house on a hill, the lightning was deafning and the thunder shook the house (as did the small landslide across the street). As I looked out my back door, I could see a sheet of water across the backyard. Here is a video tribute of the floods and what happened next. The next day, my neighbors and I realized that our little town was cut off, the highway was ruined. The phone networks went down, even the water was cut off at one stage. There were dozens of truckies in the truckstop down the road, stranded. All of Queensland suffered, an area the size of Texas flooded. But it was then, that a ‘call to arms’ spread, what became known to some as the ‘mud army’ rose, some say up to a million volunteers (though it would be impossible to truly know the number), helping their neighbours, helping strangers, sharing what they have, giving what they can. I did my little bit, 10 or so hours shovelling mud out and moving furniture out of my new neighbour’s business, only stopping when the pain (from the surgery) got to the point that I could barely move. I went home, looked in the mirror and saw that I was covered in mud, my eyes were red, I was bruised and exhausted – but I was smiling. A couple of days later, I went out again – this time, joining a group of people (who I met on facebook of all places) giving what we could to people in an evacuation centre in a hard hit town (that we could reach on the ruined highway) – we found it hard to get a parking space, as there were so many people coming in to help. One of the shirts that I gave went to an elderly gentlemen… he and his wife barely survived the devastation that as brought upon Grantham – the hardest hit community. A week later, I started work at my new school. When I left that town at the end of 2011 – I gave away all my furniture to some locals – and moved to where I am in central Queensland, in another town that was hard hit (80% under water), I came here with my clothes, books, a first aid kit and a shovel … just in case. My motivation? There are 3 main things that upon reflection caused my willingness to help – first and foremost, everyone was needed, secondly, I was brought up to help when and where I can and finally, I have been given so many acts of kindness, just a few months earlier, I was seriously sick and people who I just met supported me and helped me get through a very dark time in my life. My story is just one of so very many, of the million or so that lent a hand – I believe that the small acts of kindness performed by many many people did a lot in Queensland’s eventual recovery. I just thought I would share that with you. Oh and I finished my Masters degree and got into the PhD program! Sincerely, A Queensland Resident
By |December 20th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

WorldWide Dance for Kindness!

World Kindness Day 2012 was surely one to remember! On November 18th over 3500 participants in over 30 locations spanning across 15 countries around the globe joined together to DANCE FOR KINDNESS in Life Vest Inside’s first annual WorldWide FreezeMob FlashMob! The goal of the event is to promote kindness, positive human interaction and to help increase people’s awareness and sensitivity to others and it did just that! The event hosted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, and tons of locations throughout the USA, began with a Kindness FreezeMob. Dancers froze in ‘Kindness Positions’ for over 3 minutes as DeScribe’s AMAZING, soul stirring hit single, ‘We R 1’ brought hope to the crowds. For three minutes time FROZE for kindness and gave people the opportunity to see that kindness truly only takes a moment. Immediately after the FreezeMob, the streets filled with the sound of K’nann’s ‘Wavin’ Flag’ and Matisyahu’s ‘One Day’ as dancers from across the globe un-froze and broke out into dance. Life Vest Inside Acts of Kindness cards were distributed, giving the crowd an opportunity to take a bit of the magic with them. The New York City group, led by Life Vest Inside’s founder Orly Wahba and Executive Director Tory Dube, performed their FlashMob in Times Square. New York City’s American Eagle Outfitters donated their billboards for the length of the performance and Life Vest Inside played their award winning short film ‘Kindness Boomerang,’ and debuted their new kindness spots! Ari Grunzenweig of Imagination Creations compiled the footage and turned Life Vest Inside’s various commercials and short films into an epic 20 minutes of choreographed footage among the eight screens donated. ‘For ten minutes Times Square stopped to celebrate kindness with us. It was magical. The whole purpose of the event was to increase human connection… and we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams,’ recalled Tory Dube, Life Vest Inside volunteer. In the coming months, Life Vest Inside will compile the footage of all of the FlashMobs around the world into one montage- proving it doesn’t matter your race, location, religious affiliation, etc… we can come together as ONE in Kindness. ‘I know my life has been changed by coming upon Life Vest Inside’s Kindness Boomerang video and embarking on this fabulous adventure! I am so looking forward becoming an ambassador for Life Vest Inside. I know we have touched over 100 people’s lives right here in Montreal – who will then touch how many more!??!’ recaps Diane Dupuis-Kallos after successfully organizing a FlashMob in Canada.   To check out pictures from the WorldWide event – Click HERE! *Please note: The WorldWide Video montage of the event will be released shortly with a complete list of all participants and those who have contributed to the events success. NOW – let’s take the INSPIRATION from the day and turn it into ACTION! November 18th was not simply a day about Dancing for Kindness but Acting in Kindness! LVI launched our Rockethub fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy who lost their home to fire. Now, you can lend a life vest to someone in need. Visit our CAMPAIGN and make your contribution TODAY! It’s ALWAYS the season to GIVE! image Life Vest Inside would like to thank the following individuals and companies that assisted with the success of the NYC event: Times Square Alliance, Damien Santucci, Mike Dugan and Times Square NYPD, American Eagle Outfitters, Dave Taylor, DeScribe, KIND, Rachel and Jeff Sutton, Michelle Hazan, Tory Dube, Anthony Gorgio, Bobbie Beyda, Natalie Terzi, Nathan Tawil, Ari Grunzenweig (Imagination Creations), Vincent MacTiernan (Special Effects editor & one of a kind guy), Paul Rosen, Dorrie Jankowski, Derek Brown and the entire team of NITROUS, Roy Arias Theaters, Jack Hidary, Heather Chen, Simeon Rose, Jessica Mullin, Alexandra Petruck, Steve Hopkins, Matt Van Ekeren, Marlene Massry, Jack Laboz, Pauline and Mike Wahba, and of the AMAZING participants! Life Vest Inside would also like to individually recognize and acknowledge the AMAZING, WONDERFUL, and COMMITTED Group Leaders who have assisted us in making the event such a great success! I am forever grateful to them and feel fortunate to have worked with KIND and LOVING individuals, who in a short time have become GREAT FRIENDS of mine. They have further proven the validity of the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Orly Wahba  Courtney Collado of Topeka, Kansas    Breanne Oakie of Alberta, Canada This project has made me feel united with people around the world in ways nothing else has.  I didn’t know the other participants but we all felt the same in our hearts and we were able to lift each other up and support each other with our words and our actions.  It made me feel connected and as if we were all one, for a day, but we will all know that we are connected forever.                  Timur Boskin of Almaty, Kazakhstan

The whole Event wouldn’t be so effective without Kindness and Energy of those who participated and supported us.

 I don’t know how to thank you, Life Vest Inside, for uniting all of us here and around the World no matter what race, color and belief system! It all helped us to feel ourselves as a part of one global nation – Humanity. Hope everyone soon will be able to speak Kindness!

     

Charlie Harkness of Gold Coast, Australia

Even a small group can make a difference.

Dustin Wong of Los Angeles, California 

Some of the best moments in my life: discovering new friends, building bonds, and spreading awareness. Keep kindness going because it is a universal language that is in everyone’s price range.

   

Nadan Petri of Croatia

[This event] was wonderful, I was feeling so young and enthusiastic again, and I am probably amongst the oldest, if not the oldest group leader, I am almost 58! It was so  hilariously WILD from time to time; the dancers were bursting with joy and optimism! I could only be sorry for not joining the LVI movement (yes, it is a first class world movement!) before. We did not have much time to organize everything, but at the end had more than enough dancers, and a strong support by almost everybody I addressed asking for help. We even had roses that were given to the people watching the performance! It was so great to be a part of everything. Thank you, Orly, for doing this, you are my hero!   Paola Ortega Sanchez and Celso Castro of Mexico City, Mexico The most incredible, joyful and supportive experience I had this year. Giving without the need to receive is truly an act of kindness. The chance to know people from around the globe, the possibility to talk to some of them, the capability of sharing this with friends and new people, it’s awesome. Now I know that the possibility to change the world and make it better is inside us.    Ziwei Mao of Miami, Florida Working with Life Vest Inside on this event was such an emotional experience for me. It helped me reach down to my very core and grab hold of the change I believed in. Orly sees the world differently than most, she is not one to subscribe to the negativity and hate that seems to constantly loom over the global population, she is naturally able to transfer her vision through her speeches and actions, she takes the concept of ‘Paying it Forward’ and makes it tangible. As the message of LVI reaches far and wide, no doubt it will make an impact both individually and globally touching the lives of all it comes in contact with.   Diane Dupuis-Kallos of Montreal, Canada I like to think of myself as a nice, kind and considerate person. After signing up to be a Coordinator of the Montreal version of the World Wide Dance for Kindness – it really made me pay much closer attention to kindness – around me – and what I do.        Maria Beatriz Alvarez of Montreal, Canada It has been an amazing experience, bringing a lot of gains to my life: learning about how to prepare an event, how to use technologies, PRACTICING ENGLISH, reflecting about my own kindness and trying to be more kind, meeting new people and doing what I like the most: sensitizing people about positives values! Also, now I know that there are a lot of people working on that around the world, like all of you!! For me, it’s wonderful news. Dolores and Nicole Lawton of Oneonta, New York When my daughter and I became involved with creating a Kindness Revolution Club at our school, we knew we needed to find activities that would have impact, while still being fun.  Life Vest Inside Inside gave us the opportunity to do just that. The worldwide flashmob dance is so spectacular.  It will take seeing the video montage for all involved to truly realize what they are now a part of.  Our community and students will never forget this experience.  As for our kindness Club, it continues to grow and that means more kindness!   Kasia Szczot of Lublin, Poland I knew could organize Flash Mob in my city very easily and with help from LVI it was just perfect. I love organizing such events and I was enjoying every minute of this process. At the end, everybody were surprised that nothing went wrong! Thank you very much for this help! I’ve realized how I can look for my way in this World of Kindness.       Natalia of Tomsk, Russia       Brian Kruger of Seattle, Washington             Michelle Tay of Singapore, Singapore The flash mob experience showed how kindness spreads across all ages! (We had 40 dancers who volunteered aged between 15 – 65 years old!) The Singapore Kindness Movement is proud to support the Life Vest Inside under the big umbrella of kindness. Indeed, with appreciation, kindness blossoms!                 John Miller of Taylor, Missouri            Tonya Bennet of Toledo, Ohio There were so many tears during that 7 minutes – the dancers, the mall director, parents, my family, me…… It was so great – my heart was truly moved and I felt very honored to be a part of it.   Adam Haesler of Vancouver, Canada In my experience, love can only be expressed honestly in the absolute sense, without discrimination or exception.  Kindness is one expression of love, one that I experienced as a continuous stream on World Kindness Day, and in the weeks leading up to day.  The love I experienced with friends, strangers, and for myself was life changing, and will continue into the infinite.  The goal for me is global community, which we all had a sample of bonding with each other.  If we choose to work together going forward global community will be a way of life.  I love all of you; thank you for choosing to create new connections of love with your global neighbors, this is only the beginning.  Kathy Kwasnicki of Vancouver, Canada All four of us, (left to right) ~ Kathy, Theresa, Adam, & Alexandra, came together through the spirit of kindness .. having just met face to face for the first time only 3 days prior and Theresa, joining in the morning of our FlashMob Dance for Kindness ~ just hours before .. having driven from Toronto newly relocating to Vancouver on that very day !! Also Chingtai, awaiting our arrival at the “Granville Island Public Market Courtyard” from our final & only 2nd rehearsal @ False Creek Community Centre ~ to memorialize the event through film ~ together with his 2 friends Danny, & Sukhraj ~ fellow photographers ….Thank you All So Very Much for your Enthusiasm, Dedication, and Encouragement ….   Fernando Brierley of Santiago, Chile     Sonia Surayya Ahmad of Sydney, Australia          Michael Lloyd-White of Sydney, Australia             Faizan Sheikh of Uttar Pradesh, India              Izabela Boanta Elena of Romania           Orly Wahba and Tory Dube of New York City, New York          
By |December 7th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments
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    Educate for Kindness: Life Vest Inside’s Kindness Curriculum

Educate for Kindness:

Life Vest Inside’s Kindness Curriculum

In response to growing demands to provide more real-life experiences for children during the school day that are based on improving critical thinking, and increasing awareness and use of life-skills, Life Vest Inside has designed a Kindness Curriculum! Lydia Criss Mays, Life Vest Inside’s Director of Education, has designed the curriculum to intentionally align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Bloom’s Taxonomy to elicit higher order thinking skills. The curriculum, currently including Units of Study from Kindergarten through Fifth grade, is unique in that it functions as a seamless curriculum to complement and enhance instruction for teachers, unlike “push-in” curricula requiring teachers to “make time” within a school day to accommodate additional learning objectives not reflected in the CCSS. Each Unit, designed by experts in the field of education, includes six lessons. Each Unit builds upon the prior, so by the end of Fifth grade, students will have received almost forty lessons directly aligned with the CCSS that additionally enhance their understanding of, and ability to, think critically about ways to generate more kindness on an individual and global level. Life Vest Inside will begin distribution of our LVI Kindness Curriculum to educational stakeholders across the United States and Canada beginning December 1st. During this time, we’re asking educational stakeholders to read the curriculum and provide feedback that will strengthen the Units. If interested in reviewing the curriculum, please fill out this questionnaire so we may better contact you. Using feedback from educational stakeholders, LVI will make the necessary adjustments and distribute the curriculum for implementation in the form of Pilot Lessons. Lessons will be piloted from January 7th-25th, 2013. If you are interested in piloting lessons, please fill out this questionnaire so we may better contact you. This data will be used to help LVI continue making necessary adjustments to help best meet the strengths, interests, and needs of students. Findings from both the lesson review and piloting process will be presented on the TED 2013 stage and the schools to pioneer the curriculum will be mentioned and thanked for their participation!
By |December 7th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments
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    December Hero of the Month: Diane Dupuis-Kallos of Montreal, Canada!

December Hero of the Month:

Diane Dupuis-Kallos of Montreal, Canada!

A note from Orly Wahba, Founder and President of Life Vest Inside… The Worldwide event was a greater success than I ever could have imagined! Watching the footage of people from across the globe uniting and dancing for the common cause of Kindness was heartwarming, empowering and touching. It was a true testament to the fact that regardless of our differences we are all the same; we are all citizens of humanity. We don’t have to wait for ONE DAY when the world will join together in peace, but rather we can make that day a reality TODAY by simply taking a stand and voicing our belief in kindness, respect and unity. The history of the world may be one of war, hate, and destruction – but we have the power to turn all of that around; to pave a new path for our future, a path of KINDNESS! Through Life Vest Inside and Kindness Boomerang I have met some of the most extraordinary people from across the globe. Bonds, friendships, and relationships that I know will last and will forever leave an imprint on my heart. An amazing team of Group Leaders from 30 locations was formed because we all believe in the power of kindness. We may have started off as strangers, but we have grown to become great friends, a small family of Kindness Foot Soldiers with passion in our hearts to make the world a better place. When I first set off on the journey to create this WorldWide event, I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it. But as fate would have it, the perfect team of Group Leaders was formed who share the same love, passion, and belief in the good of humanity. We may have been a small group but in the words of Margaret Meade, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” I would like to extend a debt of gratitude to each of the Group Leaders for their dedication, commitment, and the heart and soul they put in to make the event such a great success. I would like to highlight one of the Group Leaders who has become much more than just a Group Leader, but a great friend – Diane Dupuis-Kallos (Montreal Coordinator). From the very beginning, Diane’s passion radiated. Her enthusiasm and commitment to excellence was inspiring. Diane never missed a beat and her energy was felt through and through. I feel fortunate that our paths have crossed and I look forward to our continued friendship. I am excited to announce that Diane has just been appointed as the Kindness Ambassador for LVI Montreal! I am honored to have you as a member of the team! image We asked Diane to briefly sum up her experience with Life Vest Inside and the Worldwide Kindness FlashMobs and she responded with THIS! “I like to think of myself as a nice, kind and considerate person. After signing up to be a Coordinator of the Montreal version of the World Wide Dance for Kindness – it really made me pay much closer attention to kindness around me and what I do. Let’s be honest – being kind is really hard work!!! It’s so easy to go about our lives in our little bubbles, taking care of ourselves, our family and close friends… donating some money and time here and there – and being nice people… No problem. Imagine if everyone took an extra 5 minutes each day to do an EXTRA act of kindness… Just 5 minutes… It could be as simple as smiling at someone, giving them a compliment, talking to someone who is lonely, lending an ear to someone who is upset… I truly believe we could help make this world a much better place… I know I am forever grateful for my fabulous and sweet Co-Coordinator Mabe – our always smiling head choreographer Heather – our great team of photographers and videographers – our behind the scenes supporters that helped make it all happen – and most importantly all our participants. They took time out of their busy schedules to come to practices, learn the steps, read our long e-mails and most importantly – they came and danced, held posters, gave out cards – and helped spread the word of kindness! I know my life has been changed by coming upon Life Vest Inside’s Kindness Boomerang video and embarking on this fabulous adventure! I am so looking forward to meeting Tory and Orly in person in January – and becoming an ambassador for Life Vest Inside. I know we have touched over 100 people’s lives right here in Montreal – who will then touch how many more!??!” We couldn’t agree more, Diane! Thank you for being such a wonderful example of Kindness! image
By |December 7th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

DeScribe:

Vision of Harmony

On November 18th, 2012 we kicked-off our WorldWide Dance for Kindness Event with a Kindness FreezeMob, (during which participants remained frozen in a Kindness Position for over 3.5 minutes to show what kindness looks like), as DeScribe’s phenomenal single ‘We R 1’ debuted around the world! Who is DeScribe? His voice can awaken the soul through song. He has a vibrant, energy-driven and rhythmic vibe. We’re talking pulsating and inspiring music stemming from his personal journey from the darkness into light. Shneur Hasofer, better known by his stage name DeScribe, is anAustralian singer-songwriter. His music combines elements of Pop, Dance, and Reggae. Born in Sydney, DeScribe left home for Israel at the age of 14. DeScribe views music as a medium to awaken the human soul and has amassed a following built on his street credibility and religious life. As featured on the CBS documentary, “Faith, Music, & Culture” (2009), DeScribe takes his music as a direct mission from above. DeScribe has captivated audiences internationally through online presence and music videos including controversial “Harmony,” “Change,” and “Make It,” that have garnered over half a million views online. His recent accolades include a two-page spread in the NY Daily Newsand an exclusive interview on the Daily Buzz morning news show. He is on heavy rotation on Miami Music TV and a slew of other TV channels airing in countries including Jamaica, Haiti and Puerto Rico. Most recently, DeScribe collaborated with Matisyahu on “Pure Soul,” an uplifting dancehall record for kids with special needs. They’ve shown him a pure love of life, not often seen in the world, and with his musical toolkit, DeScribe paints a picture of children full of courage and joy in spite of tremendous adversity. He sings, “You light up the room like a fire, cause you’re from way up high.” DeScribe also collaborated with Rohan Marley, Bob Marley’s son, to create the theme song for Marley Coffee, “Livin’ for the Grind.” In Aug 2012, DeScribe was featured in award winning documentary forThe Arts of Brooklyn Film Festival, which has taken off globally and is being aired in film festivals all over the world now. On Nov, 18th 2012 in honor of World Kindness Day, DeScribe released his debut single, “We R 1,” that’s already making waves across the globe. Thousands of people in 30 cities and across 15 countries have performed a WorldWide Kindness Freezemob to ‘We R 1’ in honor of World Kindness Day. DeScribe made an appearance at the NYC Dance for Kindness Event to show his support. image Free Single Download link for “We R 1” Check out more of DeScribe at www.DeScribeNation.com For bookings or anything management related, contact: info@foreignity.com DeScribe mentioned Life Vest Inside and posted some of the FlashMobs on his website! On a personal note, Life Vest Inside would like to thank DeScribe for his continued support of our mission to spread kindness, love and respect throughout the world.  image
By |December 7th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

Life Vest Inside at

The Get Your Wellness On Fair! 

On Sunday, October 21, 2012, Life Vest Inside participated in Get Your Wellness On’s Suicide Prevention and Awareness Fair! Get Your Wellness On is a grassroots movement that encourages dialogue and education to reduce incidents of mental illness that can lead to suicide. Life Vest Inside was honored to kick off the full day of performances and activities and, through our first ever FreezeMob, aimed to remind everyone that kindness only takes a moment. Over 50 performers stopped mid-stride to freeze for a full three minutes in a position illuminating a kind act. As Fair spectators stood in awe, the frozen performers then broke out in a FlashMob to K’naan’s ‘Wavin’ Flag.’ The Wellness Fair brought a wave of new Life Vest Inside friends and kindness partners, and after a successful FreezeMob/FlashMob, we are even more excited for our WorldWide event: Dance for Kindness November 18, 2012! Check out our Main Event Page and Join the Fun!
By |October 24th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

Life Vest Inside at

the Premiere of ‘Road to Peace’

On Sunday evening, October 21st, 2012 Life Vest Inside attended the New York premiere of Road to Peace: Ancient Wisdom of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet! Among special guests were Leon Stuparich, director of the film, and speakers David Sanborn, Tushar Gandhi and Nawang Khechog. Not only was ‘Kindness Boomerang’ previewed before the film, but Orly had the opportunity to address the audience and give them a taste of what Life Vest Inside is all about. Phoenix Project NYC’s therapeutic theater collective ‘Let the Pheonix Rise’ was the recipient of the evenings proceeds. Orly had the opportunity to spend some quality time with David, Tushar and Nawang after the event and they all expressed immense interest in being involved with Life Vest Inside in the future! Not only was the event an honor and a success, the film itself was phenomenal. Leon Stuparich, the director, has graciously posted the documentary for free viewing on the film’s facebook page! To watch Road to Peace: Ancient Wisdom of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet visit the facebook page here. A great debt of gratitude goes to Kathy Horn who was a major player in making the event a tremendous success. The night was truly one of inspiration, kindness, and compassion!
By |October 24th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

Infinite Reach

Positive Affirmation of the Day: Today, I will recognize that I am part of a whole; that every action I do doesn’t simply live within itself – but has a ripple effect with no boundaries. I will realize that every act and every failure to act, sets in motion forces that can affect hundreds and even thousands of lives and has the potential to light up worlds of people that I may have never even contemplated. Today’s Positive Affirmation of the day was inspired by a passage I read in a book(Chofetz Chaim – Loving Kindness) this morning that I would like to share with all of you. You see, very often people don’t recognize just how powerful and influential they are in the great scheme of things – when in fact every act or failure to act, has an infinite reach. For example: Imagine a man is on the verge of bankruptcy. His friend is in a position to help the man reestablish his business on a firmer footing. The friend debates with himself – there are two choices in front of him. Should he provide a loan and take a chance on losing his money, or should he let his friend try and find another way out? Finally after a lot of contemplation, the friend decides NOT to help the man out. As a result, perhaps the business would have collapsed and the workers would have lost their jobs.  The result of which could cause a terrible rise in the level of tension in many households. Perhaps some marriages would have disintegrated amid fighting and rancor. Perhaps a child would have runaway from the turmoil and as a result would get mixed up with the wrong kind of crowd. Some of the workers may even suffer health problems as a result of the strain. The employee on the verge of buying a house would had to have forfeited his plans. The man who hired the aide for his mother would have had to put his mother in a nursing home – a move she does not want to make. All these people’s miseries and hardships would have landed, in part, on the lap of the man who could have helped but didn’t. A decision on behalf of the friend to help out would have a significant effect as well. As a result of the friends loan, the business survives, 150 workers the business employs remain employed. They are saved from the embarrassment and emotional pain of coming home to announce they’ve lost a job. The marital stress that job loss might have caused in some homes never comes to pass. One worker who was on the verge of buying a house is able to close the deal and resettle his family in a safe, clean neighborhood where his children thrive. Another is able to afford a home-care aide for his elderly mother. The restaurant across the street from the business maintains its steady lunch-time clientele, as does the newspaper vendor, the drugstore and the candy shop. And the friend who made the loan receives the reward for all of this and all of the additional infinite ways in which his act of kindness reverberates into the future. Each person in this world is IMPORTANT, SIGNIFICANT and a major player in the worlds events. You may not be on the cover of a magazine or a known celebrity, but each person is in fact an important public figure whose actions have the potential to light up the worlds of people he may have never even contemplated. So as you go about your day today remember that your decisions MATTER! Try and find some kind act to do that will set positive forces in motion and stand back and watch the infinite reach of Kindness!  
By |October 15th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

A Trixi, a Shmoop and a Monster

by Tory Dube

I first met Orly in 2010 when she called me in to audition for her first film, ‘Kindness Boomerang.’ I specifically remember wearing ridiculously uncomfortable shoes that made me further question why I agreed to travel so far for a casting that was non-paying and quite possibly, a waste of my time. I even recall trying to scheme up an excuse as to why I ‘couldn’t make it,’ as I sat on the long ride from Queens to Brooklyn. Obviously, I was way off. I was wrong because Orly gave a speech about her vision for Life Vest Inside during that audition that has since stayed with me, and.. because I have been nominated for an Oscar for my role of ‘flower vendor’ in the ‘Kindness Boomerang’ film. (Joke.) But in all honesty, while walking back to the train in my absurd footwear– I emailed Orly and told her that regardless of her casting decision I needed to know more about Life Vest Inside and I needed to be involved. I am still captivated every time I am in Orly’s presence. She possesses a passion that lets me wholeheartedly believe our world can be a kinder, gentler, more generous place- and what is a better feeling than that? I’ve been a volunteer with LVI since my first trek to her Brooklyn home, so when developing my next project it seemed like an obvious choice to give back to the woman and organization that has made me feel at home so far from my family in New Hampshire. With the sales of my first children’s book, A Trixi, a Shmoop and a Monster, I will be donating 20% of the profits to Life Vest Inside. Congruent to the values LVI promotes, our story is a quirky tale about three seemingly different characters who unexpectedly become friends– all the while illuminating the power of kindness and encouraging self-empowerment. I created A Trixi, a Shmoop and a Monster after recognizing the children I worked with became fanatical over certain characters and concepts in other children’s books. Wanting to create something that was equally enjoyable for kids– while including an embraceable and effective message for its readers to latch on to– I composed a touching, ridiculous, silly tale that achieves it all. Marina Vasilevsky, my magnificent illustrator, has brought the characters to life more beautifully than I could have ever imagined. Written for ages 3-7, a time when young children are starting to define how they interact with their peers and the world, the book aims to instill the invaluable and forever applicable lesson that there is an undeniable and contagious power behind every act of kindness. In addition to the book, with the help of Orly, I have created a follow-up ‘Kindness Curriculum’ that officially introduces and emphasizes the the concept of ‘living kindness.’ Through a variation of art projects, take-home ‘missions’ with the LVI famed Acts of Kindness Cards, and imagination-inspiring games– children feel the rewards of a good deed while improving communication skills, confidence and self-value. We believe ‘bad children,’ and ‘bullies,’ do not exist. People who act out in hateful and hurtful ways solely lack confidence, self-value and a trusted confidant. Through kindness and the inspiration and empowerment that comes from seeing one’s contribution, self-value and human connection are what will change negative behavior– not punishment and embarrassment. It takes one act, one tiny moment of selflessness, to affect someone else and I want children everywhere to have the chance to feel the power behind their actions. Ultimately, through this lighthearted tale, I hope to show children that their strongest muscles is their heart and it can get even stronger through ‘living kindness’ and spreading love. A Trixi, a Shmoop and a Monster will be ready for distribution in late December 2012. And, as mentioned, 20% of all proceeds will be donated to Life Vest Inside! Our website is www.LovelyThankYou.com, there you will find more information and the link to the fundraiser we are holding throughout the month of October. You may also venture directly to the fundraiser by going to http://rkthb.co/10569. We need to raise $10,000! Every contribution, small or large, is a step towards our goal. Please take a moment to look at the beautiful little faces in our informational video, I promise you’ll enjoy it. As Orly has illuminated so vividly through her continued efforts, one can never underestimate the power of an individual and his or her ability to produce positive and effective change.  I am forever thankful for my fateful meeting with Life Vest Inside, and Marina and I quite excited to reveal our efforts and get the chance to affect such a wonderful organization. Thank you for reading! Keep it Kind, my friends. 🙂 Best, Tory Dube ———————————————————————————————————–Author Tory Dube hails from New Hampshire and has spent the last 5 years in NYC as a writer, actor,    comedian and whatever else she can get involved with. In 2009 Tory created the annual Summer Sizzle with Charna’s Kids club at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital for patients and their families. Currently Tory volunteers with The 52nd Street Project’s Smartpartner program and with Life Vest Inside.   Illustrator Marina Vasilevsky grew up in Isreal where she illustrated her first children’s book. She is currently working as a fashion designer in NYC and of course, is the visual creator of the adorable Trixi, Shmoop and Monster characters! 🙂
On a personal note, I would like to thank Tory for all of the hard work and effort she has put into this fantastic one of a kind children’s book. I have read it personally and was blown away by the powerful message and the creative, fun and entertaining manner in which Tory tells the tale. For all those who believe in the power of kindness and have been touched by Life Vest Inside in some way, I ask of you to give what you can in support of this AMAZING project! 
Visit http://www.rockethub.com/projects/10569-a-trixi-a-shmoop-and-a-monster TODAY! Please share this link with friends and family – every little bit makes all the difference. Thank you in advance.
By |October 10th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments

The Power of Showing Appreciation

Each day, I post an Act of the Day on the Life Vest Inside Facebook page. Today’s act was inspired by a Life Vest Inside fan, Travis Dodge, who shared a wonderful story with me and in so doing triggered a memory from my childhood that truly epitomizes that act. Enjoy! Act of the day: As you head out on your day, take the time to stop, say hello, and engage in a short conversation with the crossing guard.  They don’t only protect our children but their bright smiles, as they go about their job, jump start a person’s day – One things for certain, the crossing guard at my school always greeted me so warmly and made each day begin with a smile. Today’s act of the day was inspired by Life Vest Inside fan, Travis Dodge, who shared such a phenomenal story with me. Thank you Travis for the great lesson in gratitude you taught us. Travis wrote: “Driving my boys to school today I realized how much we care too much about what others think. I say get out of your mind. This little girl was serving as a crossing guard at my boy’s school and it was raining really good. Still, every car that drove by she took the time to wave with passion and smile with love to each and every car coming and going. This made my day. Of course I was excited to see her waving but my first thought was do I know her? Then leaving she was waving again and I thought weird I wonder what’s up. Then I realized she was doing it to EVERY CAR! I then felt joy for her and every car that had the opportunity to have her joyous smile and wave presented to them. I will do my best to provide such a smile and pay it forward to as many people as I can thanks to a wonderful little girl with a strong heart and passion to make others smile. I challenge you to at least do this sort of act while doing something you are not fond of doing until you get at least one smile and wave or thank you back. Lets make this a better world by starting with the little girl waving on the corner when most would be sulking because they would come up with all kinds of bad self talk! SMILE AND HAVE A GLORIOUS DAY! HERE IS ME WAVING AND SMILING TO YOU! I LOVE YOU ALL! If you know someone who needs a smile today Share this with them! A smile goes a long way!” _______________________________________________________________________ My story: As a young child I was very attached to my mother and had a difficult time leaving her in the morning to go to school. I would often cry and make a scene as my mother did her very best to calm me down and get me out of the car. Day after day the same scene would occur. One day, the crossing guard, Christine, came over to the car and told my mother, “Don’t worry I’ll get her into school.” She looked at me with her very calming and warm eyes. I was still crying as my mom headed back into the car and drove away, but the crossing guard put her hand on my shoulder and led me into the building the entire time calming me down by saying, “Don’t worry you’re mom will be back to pick you up soon. School is so much fun and now that we’re friends you can always count on me to be there to wave hello when you come out of the car each morning. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Each morning there she would be, with a smile on her face. It was sort of a comfort to always see a familiar face when I would arrive at school each morning. But the story doesn’t end there. Let’s flash forward a good 15 years later to my very first day teaching at the same school where I was once a student. I parked my car and began walking to school with that same nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt as though I was a first grader walking into school on the first day; I could barely breathe from nerves. “Would I have what it takes? What I make a difference in the lives of these children? Would I succeed?” And then suddenly as I approached the cross walk all of those anxieties miraculously faded away because there at the other side of the street was Christine, the crossing guard with her same comforting smile. A calming feeling came over me and at that moment I knew it would be ok. I smiled back, took a deep breath and headed into school with the confidence I needed to make a difference and there I remained for 7 wonderful, life-changing years. But I will never forget Christine and the fact that her smiling face was the first thing I saw on that very first day. A few weeks into school I approached Christine and shared my story with her; let her know just how appreciative I am for her kindness. She smiled and began to tear. I did the very same. She said, “You have no idea how much that means to me to feel appreciated; to know that I mattered to someone.” I looked at her in the eye and then looked around at all the throngs of students walking to school and said, “You matter to more than just someone.” As I walked away the biggest smile came across my face. I didn’t even need to look back because I knew she was smiling as well. She retired a few years back, but the imprint Christine left on my heart is most definitely still there. Amazing, isn’t it? The impact that people can have on our lives. So the next time you walk by a crossing guard, shine a smile their way because they need that reassurance just as much as we all do.
By |September 10th, 2012|Posts|0 Comments