Reflection on Kindness

As many of you know, various Starbucks in the Philly suburbs serve as my "satellite" office, where I sit for hours most days working and sipping on a skinny mocha. I often joke that all of my money goes to Starbucks! And gladly so. I go stir crazy when I work from my home office, so I am grateful for a place to go to work, enjoy, and connect with others Starbucks regulars.

 

Last weekend I began my year-long level 1 training to become a yoga therapist at the Yoga Life Institute in Devon, PA (more on that to come!). Lucky for me, there is a Starbucks less than a mile from Yoga Life. So, on our lunch break I went to Starbucks to eat and journal. As I was approaching the door, Sarah, a barista at that store, was also coming toward the door. Her hands were full (probably with lunch for herself and fellow baristas), so I quickened my pace to get the door for her. Initially, Sarah refused my opening the door for her, saying it was her job to get the door for me. She may have been simply following standard customer service practices, but my sense is Sarah is genuinely kind and would have opened the door for me out of the goodness of her heart. In the end, I opened the door for Sarah and told her to consider it a thank you for all the delicious drinks she has made for me in the past.

With several hours of training yet to go in the afternoon, I ordered a drink to go. Sarah greeted me with a big smile, took my order, and insisted the drink was on her. I looked back at her confused and unsure I heard her correctly. Sarah explained that a free drink was the least she could do for me, that my kind words really made her feel happy. I expressed my sincere gratitude and left the store smiling from the inside out.

This experience resonated with me strongly, because it captured how our words and actions can embody and beget kindness. Sarah and I responded to each others' kind acts and words from a place of pure heart. We gave in a small but meaningful ways to the other (perfect strangers, mind you!), not with the intention of receiving, but from a place of natural and authentic kindness. And it felt so effortless. Sarah's kindness lit me up with gratitude and joy. I also felt a sense of peace from the sheer satisfaction of knowing I also made someone's day a little happier.

Perhaps this conversation on kindness resonated with you. If so, I’d enjoy learning how! Please share a kindness experience in the comments below.

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