Hello Stranger!

Have you taken the time today to say hello to someone new ? Not just say hello but talked to them with a genuine friendliness and warmth?

I always make it a point to greet everyone that crosses my path with a smile, a simple how are you and if there is few extra seconds available before they go their way, I compliment them on anything I notice about them. If not I share something personal and have a quick laugh with them. Result?  I love the smile that lights up their eyes, the sudden warmth that comes over them and relaxed, friendly banter I get.

Couple of days ago when I stepped out of the building to go out for lunch, I noticed a certain gentleman walking towards the building. There were three people ahead of me that passed this person without looking at him. Their eyes were glued to their phones and they did not acknowledge him. He did look at them as he passed by but when no one looked at him a look of confusion and disappointment cast a shadow on his face. I was at the very back with a big smile on my face and noticed all this going down very quickly as I kept walking. Suddenly he noticed me smiling and his face lit up as if the sun just came out from behind the clouds. He looked so pleased almost as if he had met a dear friend and had been greeted with a warm hug. I didn’t get to speak to him but I was surprised at how a smile can really mean so much to another person.

At the mission where I mentor the kids, the program director insists that when the mentors walk into the facility we greet the staff, volunteers, mentor and the kids with a warm hug. I love that about this program. At first I felt awkward but as every person I met gave me a big bear hug with a huge smile, I felt so loved, welcome, appreciated and at home with complete strangers. It set the tone for a relaxed friendly interaction with everyone. I understood the importance of body language in our social interactions. I learnt a very valuable lesson which has helped me interact better with people.

Rumi says its best,”The infinite green garden of love has many fruits beyond joy and sorrow. Love is forever green  without spring without autumn.”

©2015, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved


Power of compassion and new beginnings!

I want to share the incredible story of Lisa and Adam, two of our volunteers, at Mondays at Mission. They decided to mentor the Weah Kids and in the process got to know the story of the whole family and bonded with a family of four.

Their connection to this family lead to an amazing turn of events with Lisa and Adam deciding to help the homeless family by organizing a fund raiser, taking them into their own home and blessing them with love and affection everyday while Lisa and Adam kept looking for a two bedroom apartment for the Weah’s and helping the kids with their school work.

They eventually managed to raise $12,000 and moved the family into their two bedroom apartment few days ago. They will be paying for the rent while the money they raised was put in the bank as the Weah family’s savings to be used for their future needs. Lisa and adam also received donations of furniture which was used to decorate the new home of Weah’s family.

Weah family had no clue that Lisa and Adam were doing all this for them. Lisa and Adam surprised her and the kids few days ago when they took them to their new home and told them it was all theirs. Lisa and Adam intend on continuing to help the kids with their school work now that the Weah’s are all settled into their new home. They plan on helping the mother with learning English and mentoring the kids on a long term basis.

Here’s the email from Lisa with a touching video that was taken when the Weah’s moved into their new home.

Hello awesome people who donated to the Weah family!

> All in all, we met our goal!

> Thank you for your donations in household items, cash, or your time!
> We finally found them an apartment that you helped to make a home!
> We made an adjustment in karma and provided Angeline with a fresh start

> and replaced money stolen from her.

I feel overwhelmed that you would listen to her story and be inspired to take action.
How kind, optimistic, and generous…
Here is a brief THANK YOU VIDEO for YOU:
Angeline is filled with a new faith and the beautiful mystery that all these people
would come together for her.  She has been through so much as you may remember
…and wishes she could thank you all in person.
Every donation hugely appreciated,  Love, Lisa and Adam

We all got to help

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I was on my way to the beach yesterday evening. Just I was reaching the intersection, through the corner of my eye, I noticed a man with his head bowed down low with his hands clasped together sitting on a bench at the bus stop.As I stopped at the red light, I looked back to see who it was. It almost looked like he was praying. And then I realized it was an elderly homeless man sitting directly in the sun and probably exhausted from the heat. As the light turned green, I turned my car around and came back to the bus stop. There was a gas station behind the bus stop.I pulled into the parking lot, went into the store, picked out couple of water bottles and banana’s, walked over to him and gave it to him. He just gave me a blank look and didn’t say anything.

Concerned I asked him if he had eaten anything that day to which came a quick ,”No”. I offered to buy him food. Immediately he said, “There is a pizza place around the corner. Can I walk with you over to the pizza place?”. So he and I started walking together. He seemed like he didn’t want to talk much. So I walked quietly next to him. Soon he went into a Quizno’s Sub and I told the guy in the store to give him whatever he wanted.When I was ready to pay, the Quizno’s guy said, “I won’t  charge you for the drink. It’s ok. We all got to help”. I thanked him for his kindness and waited for the homeless man to finish getting his food and drink. A few minutes later I went over and handed him the bag of water bottles, made sure he was ok, bid him and the Quizno’s staff  goodbye.

As I got to the beach and sat  there watching the wave’s, enjoying the cool ocean breeze, the words of the Quizno’s guy kept coming back to my mind, ” We all got to help”.

©2014, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved

I just want to talk…..

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At my birthday dinner last night I told my friends about my plan to do two random acts of kindness this weekend. When everyone was getting ready to leave, one of my friends said she wanted to go walk by the ocean. I decided to go with her. As we got into her car it was 2 mins before midnight and she said “, Vani grab the box of nutrition bars, lets drive by and hand them out to homeless people”. I looked at her surprised and said”, Wow that’s amazing! I am about to start my first random act of kindness as the clock strikes midnight! Alright, lets do it!”

Within a few minutes we were driving up and down the street, our windows rolled down,  my hands stretched out with two nutrition bars as we stopped by the curb whenever we spotted a homeless person walking by. Every homeless person would look at us surprised, walk up to us cautiously, as soon as they realized what we were doing a big smile would break out on their face, their eye would light up and they would respectfully accept those health bars from us and  say”, Thank you ladies, God bless you”.  We must have handed them out to about 8 people or so when we parked and decided to walk down the path that was parallel to, but away from the ocean. We grabbed some more bars and started walking, catching up, while enjoying the ocean breeze and the breath taking view of Santa Monica pier clearly hearing the soft sound of the waves rushing to the shore, in the quiet of the night.

As expected, there were some homeless people around. Soon we came to a homeless guy sitting by himself looking upset. We had just noticed a group of three walk away from him. We could immediately sense something was wrong. When I asked him if I could give him some bars he said,” No I don’t want that. I want someone to talk to me. That man. He dragged his friends away. All I wanted was to talk. He wouldn’t let his friends talk to me. I mean no harm man! I ain’t going to hurt nobody. I am not feeling good and I just want to talk. Will you talk to me?”. The look of hurt and the  pain in his voice was obvious. We both said,” Sure, what’s going on?” And soon enough the three of us were standing together, looking at the ocean, enjoying the beautiful view, listening to him. He was mostly talking to my friend and sometimes looking at me and talking to me. Few minutes into the conversation, he introduced himself and we shook hands as he continued to talk, smiling and laughing with us. Few minutes later we waved him goodnight, walked back to my friends car, making sure we handed out the last batch of  the fig bars before heading home.

As I was driving home, I was reminiscing and taking it all in. I was very humbled by the experience and said a silent prayer for  people that were out there by themselves with no one to talk to and had no where to go.

As I conclude my post, this beautiful Saturday morning, I encourage you to share your story of a kind act and inspire us all. I would love to hear from you.

 ©2014, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved