World Kindness Day

Gloria Kimberley suggests that whatever we choose to focus our attention on grows in our awareness and so why not focus on something positive?

Yes World Kindness Day actually is a thing! I’ve only recently found out about this event and am keen to promote it as it is linked to our project of creating a Festival of Kindness, Compassion and Wellbeing in Leeds next September.

Many of the communication channels we come into contact with on a daily basis tend to emphasise division, negativity and drama, which for the most part leaves us feeling fearful, angry and often overwhelmed. However, we can choose to change our focus and attention to kindness. In fact kind things happen around us every single day. If we don’t hear or see them it’s usually because we’re allowing our attention to become diverted elsewhere.

I recently joined Next Door – this is an app that connects you with people in your area or in other words, your neighbourhood. Of course, like many of you, I don’t see my next door neighbours regularly never mind the people a few houses down the street.  The app opens me up to a wider local group and there was a lovely post the other day from a woman thanking the kind, young person who had helped her mother with Alzheimer’s when she went roaming around the neighbourhood. This person looked after her mum and had no obligation to do so nor was seeking anything from the situation other than to help a fellow human being who needed it. A story like that makes me feel warm, gives me faith in others and encourages me to be a bit kinder.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

So let’s put our focus and attention on being kind today and see how it feels. You don’t have to do a big thing but something small and easy that fits into your day (acknowledge someone with a smile, say good morning or thank you, hold a door open for someone or let a car out in front of you). If that feels good then set the intention to incorporate a small act of kindness into your week and soon enough it will become a kind habit.  

I completely understand when people say that there are so many bad things that happen in the world these days but the good far outweighs the bad when you start to look for it, even in dark moments. So let’s all tune into kindness and help it grow.

Gloria Kimberley is Project Leader of the Leeds Festival of Kindness, Compassion and Wellbeing

Are You Ready To Join the Kindness Revolution?

Our Journey So Far

Exploring Common Ground” – is a short video of an event that took place in December 2018 in Harehills, which was the first in a series aimed at building involvement in a city-wide festival of compassion and wellbeing.

Several workshops later the project had morphed into what is now being called the ‘Leeds Kindness Revolution’.

And at a recent celebration in September 2019 , people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds came together at Leeds Jamyang Buddhist Centre to launch a twelve-month countdown to the ‘Leeds Kindness Revolution’ which will be both a city-wide festival and campaign for kindness, compassion and wellbeing that will involve communities, projects, businesses and schools across the city next year.

At the launch event, project lead Gloria Kimberley shared plans for the festival and the different ways in which people can be involved. A musical cabaret was performed by singers Tenzin and ‘Captain of The Lost Waves. Leeds writer and artist Paul Heaney provided poetry and Andy Bradley, one of the originators who inspired the project, spoke about his experience of asking wherever he goes, whether this is a kind place and of the replies he got.

Representatives from diverse groups including Leeds Inter-Faith Forum, Leeds City Museum Service, MoMM’s mindfulness network and a variety of local community groups and businesses heard about plans for creating the festival which will be a multi-venue festival showcasing the work of some of the many individuals, voluntary groups, communities and businesses committed to creating kinder communities and public wellbeing across the city next year.

A web of kindness – through a distributed network of self organised events

The Leeds Festival of Kindness, Compassion and Wellbeing could be seen as an experiment in culture change – through the celebration of our collective commitment to living our values and showcasing the different practices and practical work that is being done by thousands of individuals, voluntary groups, communities, businesses and the Council to promote community wellbeing.

The festival is intended as a structure for participation intended to encourage participation and give people permission to self-organise and make a practical commitment to a shared purpose that ‘grows’ people, places and planet.

‘Leeds Kindness Revolution’ aims to give people an experience of what a city of kindness and wellbeing could be like and a glimpse into how things could be different for everyone including those who are often excluded.

Not so much a festival, more a way of life

By working with partners, projects and communities across the city ‘Leeds Kindness Revolution’ aims to create a culture of public, community and personal wellbeing where no one is left behind. The festival will take place between 5th-13th September 2020 but the project team have launched a twelve-month countdown to the festival that will involve a series of monthly smaller events to raise awareness and build participation.