kindness

Comfort food

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When I was in my early 20s, my then-boyfriend and I used to go and stay with his grandparents, in their little blue weatherboard cottage in the country, beside a lake. I remember waking early in the morning and going for long walks on the sand, watching dolphin families fish for breakfast. Morning tea with his grandma, served precisely at 10am every day, was always tea in a big pot, and Iced Vo-Vo biscuits.

One year, a few days after Christmas, we were less than an hour into our journey back home to Sydney when we received a sad phone-call: my boyfriend’s grandfather had had a heart attack, and died. We immediately turned around and hurried back to the weatherboard house, which by the time we arrived was already overflowing with family-members: parents, sisters, uncles and aunties, all with their jobs to do, somewhere on the spectrum from grief-counselling to hearse-ordering, depending on their skill-set.

All except me. As the little-known girlfriend of one of the grandsons, I felt acutely in the way. Awkward, a noisy presence (although I rarely spoke) during a time when the family needed to close in, bunker down, and support one another.

Often, food is how we show someone we love them, when they are going through a difficult time. Something hearty and lovingly baked, and left at the doorstep to be consumed when there’s no time or energy left for cooking, or frozen for a later day.

But as a superfluous guest in the bereaved person’s house, I couldn’t do that, so I made the next best thing: tea. Pots and pots of tea. I made so much tea, in fact, that everyone got sick of it. I distinctly remember walking into the kitchen where my boyfriend’s mother and grandmother sat together over the table by the window, and offering to put on the kettle. “I think we’ve all had enough cups of tea for today, thank you Naomi,” they said.

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We had a bereavement in our family this week and, once gain, my mind turned to food.

I can’t erase the pain of those who are most affected, but I can sit in the stillness with them. (I have learned, since my 20s, that sometimes it is OK to be still with someone. We don’t always have to be doing, doing, doing). And the other thing I can do, this time, is make food. Nutritious food because grief can take a toll on the body. Hearty meals because they feel like edible hugs. Handy dishes that only need to be heated up to feed a whole family. And sweet treats, for emotional self-care and to have something easy to offer the inevitable well-meaning guests who drop around.

It was serendipitous, also, that the day after we lost our loved-one, I received a gift in the mail from Sophie Hansen (of Local is Lovely): her latest cookbook, A Basket by the Door. Actually, I received two copies of this book on the one day, one that I had pre-ordered, and another as a personal gift from Sophie.

Sophie’s book is all about food that is made to be given away. The edible care packages through which we share love during the large and small milestones of life: the loss of a loved one, a new baby, a school picnic, pre-exam jitters, a graduation, welcoming a new neighbour… and the list goes on.

This is such a heartwarming concept for a book, don’t you think? There is nothing fancy or flashy in here, and most of the recipes are relatively easy to make. The goal is to share love, not show off. Delicious, tasty, wholesome food that is intended to be given away (although Sophie does make the clever suggestion that we double some of the recipes, to keep some for ourselves as well!), alongside practical tips on how to ensure it travels well.

Country hospitality.

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(I realise at this point that this is starting to sound like a sponsored post: I assure you it’s not. I bought my own copy of this lovely book, and nobody asked me to write about it. I just really, really adore the concept of edible care packages, and even I can cook these recipes!)

For my grieving family, from A Basket by the Door, I have already made a rich and hearty lasagne, half to eat now and half to freeze for another day when cooking feels like too much. I’ve prepared a simple and delicious filling for chicken sandwiches so we can stuff it into crusty bread rolls and take it to the park to recharge in nature. I plan to make and freeze some bliss balls during the school holidays for the kids to take in their lunch boxes when term starts, and there’s a coconut and lemongrass broth that has caught my eye for dinner some night soon.

I baked the blueberry, lemon and rosemary cake you see in the photograph above this afternoon, as a treat for the children when they came home from school, tired, grubby and low on reserves. (It freezes well so there’s a lot of future after-school treats in that tin!)

Sophie made all the food for this book, and photographed it, herself, over two years. Doing it this way - slowly, thoughtfully - meant the food she made was shared in the way it was intended, with family and friends, each dish an individual act of abundance and love.

In this spirit, I was thinking I’d like to send you a care package, too, to say thank you for being my community.

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This blog is my happy place. I called it “Naomi Loves” many years ago, because I wanted it to be a celebration of the things, places and people I love, and that has never changed. In fact, of late I have really fallen back in love with this form of storytelling, and it gives me great joy to write a blog post each week.

But what really makes me swoon about this blog is you. In 2019, when so many people are saying blogging is dead and the only real community is on social media, you are here. You read, you leave your comments, you send me emails, and I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel to know that we are sharing this little time together, and that you allow me into your world in this small way.

Those of us here on this blog are a much smaller community than on my Instagram or my newsletter, but that makes it feel all-the-more intimate when I am writing to you, and I feel I can be more vulnerable here than anywhere else in public. It’s almost as though we’re family.

And so, I want to thank you. I’d like to give you my second copy of A Basket by the Door (the one I paid for, because the one Sophie gave me has a little note in it that makes it extra special to me). I won’t post this opportunity anywhere else online, I’m keeping it only for this little blog community, because I appreciate you so much.

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If you think you’d like A Basket by the Door, either for you or a friend, simply leave me a comment in this post below (if you’re reading this via email you just need to click on the title of this blog post to see it in your browser, and then you’ll see the comment box), letting me know what your favourite ‘edible care package’ is (either to give or to receive), and what makes it special. (Mine is chicken pie, but the why of that is another story for another day).

I know some of you have missed out on past opportunities on this blog because of time zones, so this time we can take it slow. I’ll choose a winner a week from today, on Friday evening, Australian Eastern Standard Time, and email that person. The opportunity is open to you anywhere in the world and, depending on the laws in your country, I might bake you a batch of my mother’s Anzac biscuits (they travel well) to go with the book.

Big hugs,
Naomi xo

UPDATE 15/04/19: This competition is now closed, and the winner has been notified. But if you’re in the mood for some inspiration, have a browse through all the kitchen-generosity in the comments below. It’s utterly heartwarming! And do still feel free to share your thoughts on this. The community on this blog genuinely makes it my happy place.

Creativity, kindness, and the Internet

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So, this is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever had the pleasure of sharing. A few weeks ago, I shared a photograph of this mail-art on my Instagram account: a painted journey (kind of a map for the postie) of the route my letter will take, from my home in Melbourne, out through the suburbs, past vineyards and the iconic Hanging Rock (remember?), all the way to Pippa's house in a country town at the edge of the Macedon Ranges.

A day later, I received a message from a beautiful German lady called Fine. She had used my mail-art as inspiration to write a short story about a different sort of journey, the slow unfolding of an old man from retirement and grief to openness and adventure. She wrote the story "just because," and sent it to me as a gift. With her permission, I have reproduced it for you here (I gave the story its title, but the rest of the words are Fine's own).

Fine's gift of this story left me slightly breathless. I am always telling people that writing a letter (as opposed to, say, an email or Facebook message) is extra special because you are giving someone the gift of your time. I feel the same way about this story, because she took the time to think about my painting, and through it brought an old man to life with her words.

The next time social media algorithms or online bullying or targeted advertisements on the Internet weigh you down, think about Fine, and this story, and how people all over the world are making the Internet work for them (not the other way around), using it to spread creativity and kindness as far as they can go.


GUS AND THE YELLOW BICYCLE 

by Fine Winkel

The elderly white haired man with his old and rusty yellow bicycle (that squeaked with every step on the pedal) had long ago stopped dreaming. Had stopped caring, and had stopped doing anything wholeheartedly.

When he woke in the morning, he allowed himself to wince for just a second, glimpsing at the empty pillow next to his, where he used to see Erna’s red curls and her beautiful, warm smile first thing every morning. As the red had faded into white Erna had begun to fade away herself, somehow getting smaller and in the end with her, all the laughter, the friendly chatter, the music and the delicious smell of apple cake had disappeared. After she was gone, the house felt empty and cold, and the lines on his face were no longer from smiling but from cruel scribbles of grief.

His light-blue mailman uniform was still pressed and the remaining strains of his white hair were neatly tucked under his dark blue cap, but he avoided looking into the mirror over the bathroom sink other than to shave, because he could hear Erna’s frail voice making him give three promises on the last morning they had woken up next to each other… and he could practically see her disappointment reflected in his own eyes.

The promise to call their son every week, the promise to harvest the crunchy and juicy apples from the tree they had planted together when their son George was born (so he could make apple cake with Molly, their granddaughter, who had inherited her grannie’s red curls and twinkling green eyes), and the promise to go to the pound and adopt a deserted old dog who would trot alongside his bike on his daily delivery routes.

He had tried the first year, he really did. But he wasn’t good at putting his feelings into words, so he had stopped calling George after a few stilted conversations with increasing periods of silence. He couldn’t find Erna’s recipe book so the cake had been a disaster, and Molly seemed to be afraid of the haggard-faced old man who had instead served dry-as-dust cookies from the rear end of the kitchen cupboard, having forgotten to buy milk and ice-cream, so he had stopped inviting her. He had made his way down to the pound several times, but just couldn‘t bring himself to walk into the sterile, rectangular building that crouched at the bottom of the hill just outside the village, for fear that even the poor creatures inside would sense his grief and plainly refuse to come home with him. 

So when old mailman Gus stepped into the red-brick Post Office for the last time, the day before his dreaded retirement, he didn’t expect in the least that his life would be going to be turned upside down in a heartbeat. He didn’t mind that there wasn’t any bon-voyage bunting over the door, or a cake in the break room, or even a card on his small desk to bid farewell to one of their own after 49 years of doing his duty and unfailingly delivering each and every letter to his destination. He had become solitary, and his sendoff would be a silent one.

Still, he would miss slipping into his uniform and feeling his life still had a small purpose in this world. 

Gus began to re-sort the few letters addressed by hand that couldn’t be read by the machine that by now did all the sorting. To make out the flowing handwriting, Gus had to put on his glasses, which he knew would have made Erna giggle with delight at her husband’s vanity and tell him, “Honey, maybe it’s a good thing you’re as blind as a bat without your glasses and you refuse to wear them. Your eyes have a built-in Gaussian blur to hide all my imperfections.” He briskly shoved aside this sentimental thought and concentrated on the task ahead, just now noticing an envelope at the bottom of the pile. 

During almost twelve hundred days of delivering mail, Gus had never seen a letter more beautiful, and was instantly reminded of the most exquisite illustrations in an old children’s book Erna had loved to read to little George and later to Molly. The kids had spent hours discovering small details and oohing and ahhing over tiny maps depicting the magical village surrounded by woods steeped in legend. It made him sad to see all this elaborate drawing on the letter, knowing it would never arrive at its destination behind the densely wooded mountains. His replacement Kevin, though much younger and stronger than Gus, wouldn’t care for the extra work and would just mark it return-to-sender or, even worse, put it into a folder and forget it ever existed.

Once again Gus could hear Erna’s voice, but this time it wasn’t frail or sad or disappointed: it was strong and energetic, and it reminded him of all the adventures that he, George and their dog Albert had planned while studying the cherished illustrated map. More than once they had packed their backpacks and taken their bikes to start on an adventure, coming home sweaty and with messy hair, but with enormous smiles on their faces, to breathlessly tell Erna everything they had seen, while eating cake fresh from the oven.

No, he wouldn’t let this envelope that had, as if by magic, replaced his wife’s sad mutter with joyous incentive, just sit in a folder gathering dust. He would – and he couldn’t quite grasp his own boldness – deliver the letter himself, and start on an adventure once more. Quickly he glanced around, making sure no one saw him slipping the envelope into his pocket. 

He hadn’t felt this alive in years, as the warm fall afternoon turned into night, and he made his way home from the pound on his squeaky old bike with a new faithful companion by his side.

For now he would call George and ask him to come over for apple pie next week (the handwritten recipe book had been found lying in a box with Albert’s old bowl and collar, clever Erna). But first thing tomorrow, Gus and the chocolate Labrador, Hamilton, would embark on an adventure. And he couldn’t wait... 

Animals in sweaters

knits-elephantsknits-penguins knits-chickens I am super tired this morning, and entering the week already exhausted is never fun. I was going to (try to) write you something insightful and meaningful, but my brain just won't cooperate. So instead, I decided to share something altogether lighter: animals in sweaters! 

The chickens, from Cornwall in the UK, are wearing knits to protect them from cold temperatures. They are retired battery hens who, after spending a lifetime in cages, are not able to acclimatise to weather fluctuations. 

The elephants are from a conservation for formerly-abused elephants in Mathura, India, and local villagers knitted these sweaters when they were warned that temperatures were forecast to dip to near-freezing, making the elephants vulnerable. 

The penguins are from an ongoing conservation project on Phillip Island, Australia. For penguins in rehab that have been covered in toxic oil from spills, the sweaters keep them warm and prevent them from trying to clean the oil off with their beaks. 

Every one of these groups of animals was made sick or vulnerable because of something that humans did to them. Thankfully, humans are also mobilising to protect and care for them. I feel better about Monday already. I hope you do, too! 

ps. I'm launching a big giveaway of beautiful things on Instagram today. Pop on over if you'd like to enter! 

Mail-art: picturing kindness

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With everything going on in the world towards the end of last year, I got to thinking about kindness, and what it meant. Why did some people seem to have it in spades, while others could act with such coldness, such brutality, that surely all compassion, all empathy, must have been clinically removed from their souls? I find cruelty - not angry passion but callous cruelty - truly incomprehensible. 

In all this thinking, I started to wonder what "kindness" meant to people. Because I'm fairly sure that, aside from genuine psychopaths, the people who I believed were speaking or doing things of utmost horror probably believed that they were actually good people, at least some of the time. They are not all villains, retreating to their lairs and laughing "BWAHAHA" every time they commit an atrocity. Somewhere along the line, these human beings have either justified their actions due to their beliefs, or have become immune to the suffering of others, because the mind is frighteningly good at self preservation (and nobody wants to admit to themselves "I am evil.").

I refuse to believe that that people are black to the core. Small-minded, intolerant, cruel, yes. But maybe not evil through and through? I don't know. I hope not. If you think terrible things cannot be done within the pretext of noble intentions, just ask any religious extremist, ever. 

Where is the kindness in all this? How can a man murder in the morning and let the dog sleep on his lap in the evening? Torture someone one day, and buy his mother fudge the next? Show hatred to an entire race of human beings, but love his children? 

Mail-art isn't going to solve any global or existential problems just yet, but this was all at the front of my mind as I was painting these envelopes, so I decided to follow it through. I did a Google image-search on the word "kindness" to see what other people saw in their minds when they heard that word. These envelopes are my interpretations of some of the images at the top of that search. 

What does kindness look like to you? What would you draw, if you got "kindness" in a game of Pictionary? 

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ps. have you heard about my new letter-writing and mail-art e-course?

Over four weeks, I will guide you through multiple methods of making beautiful mail-art and creative, handmade stationery; teach you the art of writing and storytelling; help you forge personal connections in your letters and find pen-pals if you want them; and share time-management tips so even the busiest people can enjoy sending and receiving letters. Register your place or find out more information right here

Lost for words

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA These nifty Correspondence Cards take postcards and "thinking of you" to the next level. When you want to reach out to someone by snail mail but you don't really know what to say, they'll do it for you! With sweet and funny little choose-your-own comment prompts, you simply tick the box that is most relevant.

Such as... 

I'm: distracted / well / a superhero / lost / drinking tea

This place is: beautiful / smelly / prickly / peaceful / interesting 

I've been: mugged / knighted / fishing / studying / adventuring 

Please: write back / dream of me / send money / feed my cat / take care  

And so on. The comments side of the card is illustrated with a lovely photograph originally captured on 35mm analogue film, and the back simply contains lines for the address, and space for a stamp.  

Tell me: would you use these? I think they are fun and pretty, and a postcard like this would put a huge grin on my face if it arrived in my letterbox (unless of course the person had ticked that they were lost and had been mugged), so I'm going to assume others might feel the same. 

I spend a lot of time writing to strangers to bring a moment of happy surprise to their days, which is something I love to do. But sometimes that means I neglect to write to the people in my life who are nearest and dearest. I feel like these cards are best suited to someone who already knows me (and appreciates my sense of humour), so that's where mine will be headed. 

Right now I have a box of 10 of these cards, sent as a gift from Brenner of Boots Paper, and I am itching to use them.

This all happened after I ordered some new notepads from Brenner, because I was running out of resources to write to you all. Her shop Boots Paper appealed to me because the notepads were not only beautifully-illustrated and lovely to hold (good quality recycled paper), she also donated a percentage of profits to conservation charities.

After I placed my order, Brenner found me on Instagram and reached out to say hello (this is her), and to celebrate the snail-mail joy that she and I have both spreading in our own ways. The following week, the most incredible box of stationery goods arrived in my letterbox as a gift from Brenner, and you can see it all here. She left a little note: "For all the stationery love you put out there, I wanted to give some back." 

It was an act of extraordinary generosity and kindness, and I intend to repay it by sending these gorgeous Boots Paper creations far and wide, as I write to each of you all over the world. 

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ps. Have you signed up to receive my monthly mail-art template emails yet? They're free, and the first one will arrive in your Inbox about mid-January. Sign up here

Why I write letters to strangers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It is an odd thing to do, I know. But in case you're thinking I'm a bit strange (you wouldn't be alone) and you wonder why I spend so much of my time writing letters to people I've never met, here's a tiny sample of what greets me in my own letterbox, on a regular basis...

"Hello Naomi, You couldn't have timed your aerogramme more perfectly! My 90 year old dad went into hospital the day before and we found he would need surgery - at 90! I was feeling so blue but then arrived home to find your aerogramme! It was such a bright spot on such a tough day."

"Your beautiful letter was such a lovely surprise in my mail box this week! Thank you for taking the time to write to me!"

"Your package that arrived a few days ago just MADE my day!... I've been so inspired by your beautiful letters that I'd like to start a snail mail project of some kind here for the students."

"I want to thank you for your beautiful letter. Was a wonderful surprise!!! Really made so happy my day."

"Thank you so much for the beautiful letter you sent me! I was blown away by the care and attention you gave to it, opening it was such a joy!"

"I just wanted to say a huge thank-you for the beautiful snail-mail package that you sent me in the post. It arrived on a Monday and was so perfectly timed to brighten up my week."

"I was beyond excited when I saw a deliciously decorated brown parcel in my mailbox"

"Just wanted to tell you how excited our children were when they got your fantastic letters. My daughter is going to show her teacher..."

"Naomi! Oh your beautiful, beautiful letter. It arrived today! And what perfect timing..."

"Dear Naomi, I was trying to hide in the garden and weed the wild shady patches out of the blistering sun. My son was yelling with much excitement at clearing the letterbox. Time stopped! We gathered and sat on the porch, I held your magnificent letter in my hand. We studied the tangerine pigeon and slowly opened the letter. My Mum sat with me and my son, all sharing the moment. THANK YOU. It captured our hearts and was so filled with surprise and treasure. I have shared your letter with friends and I have begun to remember a time when I wrote letters often... Your envelope of joy reminds me of the simple power of human kindness. I think it's contagious (ain't that a wonderful thing!)."

 

Kindness, both knowing and unknowing

ceramic-cup Sometimes kindness is a cup of tea, shared between friends. Sometimes kindness is the vessel that holds the tea.

Things have been a little less than peachy around here of late. A few weeks ago I was unwell - for three weeks - during which time I also suffered a rather devastating loss of a loved-one. Mr B was overseas for work so I had to deal with the combination of grief, pain and illness while caring for the children on my own, and keeping up appearances - whatever that means - for the sake of the little ones.

It wasn't easy and I'm not going to lie: more than once I locked myself in the bathroom to cry in private, then rinsed my red eyes and emerged, beaming like a mild maniac, "Who wants to play with play dough?"

I'm not the kind of person who finds it easy to open up or reach out when times are tough and so, as a result, I carried the first week of sickness and sadness entirely alone, before eventually the lump in my throat began to relax and allow me to share.

During that lonely week, completely unaware of anything that was going on, Tommy knocked on my door, bearing the gift of this lovely ceramic cup, made with his own hands.

I first met Tommy in the sandpit of Scout's childcare centre, where he used to teach the children. He transferred to a different childcare centre not long after that, but we used to bump into him all the time: at a school fete, at the local deli, in the park. And then one day Tommy reached out to me via this blog, and I sent him some mail art (it was this envelope).

Recently he switched directions in career, and is now pursuing ceramics full time. When he knocked on my door that day, handmade cup in hand, it was Tommy's way of saying "thank you" for the mail art I had sent him way back then.

He could not have known how horrible a week I was having, or just how much his gift could have cheered me in that moment. It wasn't a small gesture, either. Often I talk about how precious snail-mail is to people because it's hand-written, tangible, and permanent: I put it to you that there is not much more hand-made or tangible than ceramics.

Thank you, Tommy. I think what you created is beautiful but, more than that, every time I drink my tea from this cup I will be reminded of your kindness, both knowing and unknowing, at a time when I really needed it.

Kindness & chocolate

chocolate I watched this wonderful interview with writer, poet and holocaust survivor Francine Christophe yesterday, and it moved me to tears. What a beautiful, touching story about the power of kindness.

It's part of a new film called "Human" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand that looks to be extraordinary. You can watch the trailer and find out more here.

Image credit: Padurariu Alexandru, licensed for unrestricted use under Creative Commons

Why you should send thank-you notes and keep a gratitude journal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Did you know that regularly writing down your gratitude can make you a happier and healthier person, and make you more likely to exercise more, sleep better, and exercise kindness towards others?

Woah! I mean few of us would argue that gratitude is a more beneficial emotion than the lack of gratitude, but this takes things to a whole new level. A scientific level, if you will, because I'm quoting the findings of Robert A Emmons and Michael E McCullough, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (vol.84, no.2).

Their study, called "Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life" is a fascinating read.

Essentially Emmons and McCullough conducted three separate studies on "gratitude," randomly dividing the groups of people in each study into a further three different "conditions." They then asked them to a) document their feelings or experiences relating to these conditions, and b) provide some general "wellbeing rating" information about their health, exercise, sleep, moods etc. Depending on the study, they recorded this information on either a daily or weekly basis.

Instructions for the "gratitude condition" group in each of the three studies were the same:

"There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about. Think back over the past [week / day] and write down on the lines below up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for." 

And it seems from the results that the recording of gratitude, the forced mindfulness and physicality of writing it down, can have a profound impact on both health and happiness.

(What I like to think about is that as the participants were divided randomly, it is likely that the existence of "things to be grateful for" was more-or-less equal among all participants. And yet these wonderfully positive findings were significantly more pronounced only in the groups that were instructed to write their gratitude down.)

So in Study 1, involving weekly reporting over 10 weeks, the "gratitude group" experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness, and spent a lot more time exercising. The emotions they experienced in response to someone helping them or giving them aid were associated with significantly higher ratings of joy and happiness.

"Participants in the gratitude condition felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic regarding their expectations for the upcoming week. They reported fewer physical complaints and reported spending significantly more time exercising," the report found.

And that's just from writing down your gratitude, folks!

In Study 2, while the health benefits were not as pronounced as in Study 1 (something the authors posited could have to do with the much shorter timeframe of the study - 13 days instead of 10 weeks), the people in the "gratitude condition" seemed to become kinder. People who had been asked to record their gratitude were "more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to other."

Finally in Study 3, in which the participants were all adults with neuromuscular diseases, the findings of the previous two studies held firm. "It appeared that the gratitude condition not only fostered daily positive affect, but also, reduced daily negative affect," the authors found. "Participants in the gratitude condition reported considerably more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more optimism about the coming week, and felt more connected with others."

Even "observer participants," people who were close to and living with the main participants, reported noticing a higher life satisfaction in those who had been recording their gratitude.

So here is my conclusion. Get out your pen and paper, and write down the things that make you grateful. Big or small, significant or insignificant. Do this every day, at the end of each day. "What made me grateful today."

It will make you happier, more optimistic, healthier, and more considerate.

And even better: if there is another person on that list, someone whose words or actions were the reason you felt grateful, write your thank-you to them, instead of in your journal. Why not put your gratitude to use, by spreading kindness to others?

ps. While we're in the mood for saying thank-you, don't forget that there are free postcard downloads to say thank-you to your postie for delivering your mail (rain, hail, snow or heatwave) here

ps2. Here is a link to the Emmons and McCullough article if you want to read the full report

19 cheap or free ways to practice kindness, randomly and intentionally

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I've made a new thing. Do you remember the zine I made recently on snail-mail? I've been drawing and pasting again but this time, the zine is about kindness. Specifically about random acts of kindness, but also intentional acts of kindness.

I agree it's important to cultivate an attitude to life that leaves us open to performing random acts of kindness. To being open to opportunities when they present themselves, to do something good or nice or kind for others. But I also think it's equally important to be intentional about kindness. To deliberately plan - strategise even - to make the world a happier place, and spread kindness.

So this little zine is just a fun little book of ideas and inspiration for me, and maybe you would enjoy it too?

I'm going to make 10 copies to send to blog-readers. They are all hand measured and cut and pasted together, which makes them satisfyingly substantial to hold and read, but means that every copy takes me several hours to make. One of these days I'll get to a print shop that can correctly align front and back photocopying for me, and then I'll be able to make many more copies of both zines, and send them to you if you'd like them.

Naomi xo

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