Spotlight on Kindness - Amy Giddon

It is my pleasure to introduce the Spotlight on Kindness portion of our newsletter, highlighting the inspiring and empowering work of another to bring kindness, joy, love and hope into the world.

This month’s Spotlight on Kindness is Amy Giddon. Amy understands that to create harmony we must all hear one another and respect the song we all infuse into this world. Through her incredibly inspiring app, The Daily Haloha, she is ensuring that HARMONY is alive and well in the world!

And we are happy to share with you how she started this amazing project:

“My Daily Haloha story began in the fall of 2016 after the US presidential election. Like many, I was dismayed by the level of division and polarization that had arisen during the election process. I was brokenhearted by the “othering” that had crept into our public and private discourse, and even to the discussions around our family dinner tables. We had stopped listening to each other. While feeling the heaviness of our division, I had an uplifting and transformational experience in a New York City subway station.

At this time, I was commuting to NYC’s Union Square for a consulting assignment and one day as I was rushing for the subway I caught a glimpse of a colorful sticky note display that was beginning to blossom across the walls. I stopped for a closer look. I saw notes of hope, affirmation, and encouragement. I was captivated as I saw the New Yorkers rushing by also get drawn in by the colorful notes, and feel compelled to participate.

I watched as the commuters would pause in thoughtful reflection as they considered their own unique contribution. Once they wrote out their note, they would add it to the wall and snap a photo as their note became embraced by the whole. It was a moment of togetherness and harmony— not because the notes were singular in their sentiments— but because placing a note on the wall said I’m here too, in this moment, feeling something too.

This project, started by artist Matthew Chavez, was known as Subway Therapy and culminated in 50,000 bits of benevolence. It was so simple but felt like magic. How did this simple experience create a feeling of kinship and harmony among thousands of anonymous strangers?

I started searching for other examples of public projects on city streets that invite passersby to express themselves anonymously and then display the collective responses, creating a mosaic of shared humanity. I found plenty! Whether through writing on a chalkboard, putting up a sticky note, or sharing a secret on a postcard, these projects allowed the participants to share a bit of themselves and become a part of the bigger human story.

I began to understand the source of the magic. In all of these projects, anonymous strangers come together and express themselves free of judgment. Every thought matters and everyone belongs. In the display of the collective contributions, we see our uniqueness and our sameness, harmoniously woven together. They remind us of how good it feels to connect, as humans.

I realized how different these collaborative experiences were from social media, which runs on judgment and popularity contests. Despite its promise of connection, it can also fuel divisiveness with echo chambers and outrage, and fuel loneliness with social comparison and digital addiction.

Could there be a digital experience that feels more like gathering together at a sticky note wall and less like an endless feed? Could we bottle up the magic of city streets and serve it to people any time and everywhere, connecting us all on one big sidewalk? Those are our goals with Daily Haloha.

Daily Haloha presents the entire world with a new thought-provoking fill-in-the-blank question each day. The questions are an invitation to reminisce and imagine, create and contribute. Just like the projects on city streets, participants offer their personal reflection, which then joins the reflections of others in a colorful wall of thoughts and feelings from around the world. Because it’s all anonymous, and we leave out the judgment and popularity contests, participants can express themselves freely. Our Haloha Wall sparks curiosity and compassion, inspiration and perspective. Maybe even magic.

We need connection and compassion more than ever. I couldn’t have imagined back in 2016 the challenging times we are experiencing now in 2020. Daily Haloha is a welcoming place for all of us to get to know ourselves and our fellow humans a little better. And to be reminded of the remarkable human story we are all a part of.”

~Amy Giddon