Community caring rock garden, near Carson Grove Elementary School, Ottawa
Small acts of kindness can pay large dividends. Those who give these small acts may not be aware of all their effects. But they can create ripples of goodwill down the road.
I like to run in the morning, before my kids wake up. Calms my mind. Exercise is like my medication. I adore the soft, early-morning sun: the colours of hope, changing of the guard between night and day.
I see crows and squirrels and blue jays and cardinals. I like to run on soft, wooded paths. Leaf-littered trails are much nicer than hard, unforgiving concrete or asphalt.
One morning I cut through a school yard. Near the front path to Carson Grove Elementary School there is a big sitting rock. It's the community caring rock garden. There's a bunch of painted stones, with drawings and messages. Three stones spoke to me:
- Take a LOOONG nap
- Trust your journey
- You found me
Take a LOOONG nap
There are times in my life when I felt failure, being in over my head, overwhelm. Folded, imploded. Like I've let down everyone and gone into a deep dark cave. I took some LOOONG naps.
These depressive episodes have taught me that getting back up is the most important thing. Just show up. One step at at time.
You can rebuild yourself. Steel yourself for the next storm, and trust those feelings will pass. So I have taken a few LOOONG naps in my life, which were part of my journey.
Trust your journey
I have gone through crises of confidence, not wanting to live, to die of hopelessness. Having gone through these crises, I can help others navigate those storms. Not prevent them, because that would be like trying to prevent the weather. But to prepare with a support network, accept that storms will come, and respond with the help of others.
Through my journey I am trying to find an inner peace, equanimity and hope. To align my values with my actions. Kindness, compassion, responsibility and goodwill to others. Not for their approval, not to please them, but in the conviction that in a small way, I can make the world a better place.
You can make the world a better place, too. Through small acts of kindness, ripples in the water that move one person at a time. Create a momentum, a critical mass, and pay it forward.
You found me
Thank you to the good Samaritan who started this lovely rock garden. And to those who have contributed to it. Your small acts of kindness helped me trust my journey.
I found your rock. You found me.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article credited the students and staff of Carson Grove Elementary School as the rock garden's creators. Both the principal and vice-principal of the school contacted me. They said the garden was started by somebody in the community (they don't know who).
They're very thankful this person took the time to brighten someone's day, and for the positive impact it's had on the community.
I would love to hear from the garden's creator (and its contributors) if they read this article!
Kindness and well-being stuff