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About 18 months ago I wrote a blog called, “Random Acts of Kindness” – RAKS. As we begin a new year it may be good to remind each other of the power of small, random acts that build beauty and spread kindness.

My holiday has now come to an end. It has been a very gentle time; family, friends and the Brothers. But more than that it has been full of a gentle rhythm of quiet, reading, walking and reflecting. I have loved it.

These last few days there has been a low pressure system out in the Coral Sea with resultant huge waves pounding the shoreline on the Gold Coast. Last week I was out walking from Bilinga down to Kirra. Around Kirra point there was a huge crowd watching the jet skies and surfers loving the huge seas and the only several times a year swells. As I walked past the crowds a young surfer – probably about 18 years of ago was running past behind the crowds, obviously keen to get back around for another wave ride. Surfboard under arm he stopped suddenly and picked up a bit of plastic laying on the footpath and put it into a nearby bin. He set off again and then about ten meters further on he stopped again and picked up a lolly rapper on the ground. He proceeded to put it into the zip up pocket at the back of his boardies. I am sure that no one other than this wandering monk noticed his two random acts of kindness. No fuss, no fanfare – just doing his thing to keep our planet beautiful.

Forty minutes later I was making my way back towards Bilinga but this time was not on the footpath but on the meeting point between the dunes and the huge waves. The tide was beginning to wane and so there was a growing space of harder sand to walk on. Coming towards me was another young man – again not much older than 20 armed with a plastic bag that a loaf of bread comes in. He was making his way along the edge of the dunes and collecting every single little bit of plastic and paper he could find. His plastic bag was quite full.

Two small examples of Random Acts of Kindness leading to the building of beauty. In both cases – no audience, no fanfare, no ego driven motivation – just doing one’s little bit to leave our world a better place for all.

One of the choices that can fill our 2022 will be the choice as to what we see. Do we focus on the negative, on the selfish, on the petty, on the us V’s them narratives and more? Or do we choose to grow our awareness of the beauty in our lives, of the kindness all around us, of the generosity that so many display?

Last year my friends Caroline and Liam gave me a book, “Blessed – The breakout year of Rampaging Roy Slaven” by John Doyle. At the start of Chapter 10 there is a quote from St Augustine of Hippo,

“Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe!”

During 2022 let’s not look to change the world through massive and public acts of courage and kindness – though some are privileged to have this opportunity. Let’s make 2022 a year of building beauty, of seeing the RAKS, of choosing to engage in them ourselves, of dreaming our dreams and trusting the dreamer within us all. Let’s make 2022 a year when we deliberately strive to live more simply – putting our energy where our heart is and building a better world for all. Let’s pick up the wrappers that litter our path (engage in our RAKS)!

Let’s make our way through 2022 armed with integrity, with honesty, with humility – one small lolly wrapper at a time. Then, even though I am certain of less and less every day – I am certain we will have a great 2022!

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