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August 17, 2012

Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness from a stranger or an anonymous source? Do you remember how it made you feel? I have been blessed to receive a fair number of random acts of kindness, but no single act lives up to the experience I had most recently.

I was working, and I helped an older lady find some gluten free items for an upcoming trip to Japan. I sampled her a Lära Bar, and gave her as much information as I could. I told her to travel safe and come back for more if she liked them. Before leaving, she placed an envelope in my line of sight and gave me a sly look. I looked at it, a bit puzzled and cocked my head, "For me?"

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She nodded her head towards it with a smile and left. I opened it fervently, right in that spot, feet planted firmly on the ground. Inside I discovered the most heartfelt, perfectly anonymous letter I could ever have imagined receiving.

I chose to publicly share this little piece of blissful human kindness, because I find the love lurking beneath these words to be incredibly contagious.

I have this posted by my bedroom door as a reminder each day: enter carefully into the world, extending love, compassion and kindness. Do so, and love, compassion and kindness will return to you.

I was fortunate to devour the words in this card quickly enough to catch the woman, tears in my eyes, and ask her for a hug. She hugged me tightly and I told her she is a beautiful soul, and that I was at a loss for any other words. Her husband tearfully agreed that she is, indeed, a beautiful soul. When she pulled back from the embrace, the look in her sparkling eyes said more to me than words could ever convey, and we parted. I was shaken and filled with feelings of such vibrancy and emotional awareness for the rest of the evening that I vowed never to let her words fade away, nor pass up an opportunity to practice a random act of kindness. So here are three reasons to practice random acts of kindness:

1. You have the power to change someone's life for the better in practicing a random act of kindness. You may simply intervene and lift their spirits and day higher than they thought possible, or you might change their whole way of thinking. The letter I received opened my heart unthinkably to the compassion of this world and the truth that we are all one. One never knows the path another is walking, and a random act of kindness has the potential to completely alter that path for the better. Isn't that a powerful possibility?

2. You bring yourself joy in practicing random acts of kindness. The look in that lovely woman's eyes when she saw my floored state of gratitude was inexpressible. It seems the practitioner of the random act of kindness reaps as much joy as the receiver. I've always left kind notes or affirmations in library books, and while I've never been present to see the reactions, I've been filled with a sense of peace and wellbeing nonetheless. You will never feel badly about offering an affirmation to a stranger, nor will you ever feel badly about receiving positive, kind and heartfelt words from an anonymous source. The act is pure and brings both beings closer to the origin of human bliss.

3. Kindness is cyclical. If one extends love, compassion and kindness out into the Universe, these glorious sentiments will find their way back around. One is what one extends out into the world. Practicing random acts of kindness lifts us up to another level, a more genuine level; one that allows us to receive more love, compassion and kindness and one that keeps our hearts and eyes lifted. We must be open to receive these sentiments; it is by practicing these expressions ourselves that we learn to recognize them and open our hearts to the receipt of them.

What will your first random act of kindness be?

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Sara Courter
Sara Courter

Sara is a Northern California-based Holistic Health Practitioner offering and working with an array of functional healing modalities. She is a Certified Nutritionist, Freelance Writer, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, and Ayurvedic Counselor certified through the American Institute of Vedic Studies (AIVS). Sara holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Lit, with an emphasis in Creative Writing, completed her TTC with the renowned Yogaworks school of yoga, and continues to study under master teachers Seane Corn and Maty Ezraty. Sara's intention is to fearlessly manifest and pursue abundance, love and higher truth. A firm believer in living by the words of Hippocrates, "Let food be thy medicine," she advocates for nourishing the body with a plant-based diet rich in fresh, organic superfoods and a commitment to radical self-care. Sara's intention as a holistic healer is to foster a lifestyle that makes for a comfortable body, sound mind and happy heart.