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Spreading Kindness, May 20, 2018

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170 people came to discuss specific ways we can bring more kindness into our communities and our personal lives, to counter local hate activities, harsh national discourse, and create more positive role models for our youth.


A short news segment that a local station did on the workshop

Continuing discussion available in the Spreading Kindness Facebook group.


SPREADING KINDNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY: Small Action Groups 

Brief summaries for all the groups are below. If you would like to join any of the Action Groups, please email spreadingkindness7@gmail.com so we can send you notices of meetings and activities.

The Mindful Kindness Group (Doug Carnine): I want to thank everyone for coming to the workshop and the Mindful Kindness seminar planning group. Our tentative plan is to meet six times, every other week from 3 to 4:30 beginning on September 16th, possibly meeting at The Oaks (15th and Oak Patch). The sessions will be a mix of small and large group discussions with very little lecturing from me. Those interested in benefiting from the course will need to do the practice exercises in the book before each seminar meeting. We will cover two chapters at each meeting. If the discussions take longer than anticipated, we might add a 7th meeting. The seminar is free but each person will need to have access to How Love Wins: The Power of Mindful Kindness to be able to complete the exercises. I highly recommend the participants use a booklet of some type for writing their answers. Please respond even if Sunday at 3 PM does not work for you. We may need to come up with a different time. If you want to receive more information or future communications about the seminar plans contact me at dcarnine@uoregon.edu
 
The Communicating with Kindness: Nonviolent Communication group: We encourage people interested in Nonviolent/Compassionate Communication (NVC) to visit the website of the Oregon Network for Compassionate Communication—www.orncc.net -- where you can learn about NVC activities, read articles about applying the process, join the Eugene-Springfield Google Group, learn about the Eugene-Springfield Facebook Group, and sign up for the monthly newsletter. The Eugene-Springfield Organizing Team usually meets monthly at a local residence. Everyone is welcome. If you'd like to help plan events, trainings, picnics or have inspiration for other NVC ideas, please join us. Email Sally Marie at sallysuzanne@comcast.net for meeting time and location.
 
The Kindness in the Workplace group: There have been research studies that point to the power of a kinder workplace as having profound effects on morale, trust, willingness to collaborate and work harder, company loyalty, employee engagement, and lower absenteeism. Most often, attention to kindness requires buy-in from line staff and leadership through ideas generated by the team. As follow up to the Spreading Kindness in the Workplace workgroup, Bruce and Steve are available to meet with management or staff teams to discuss workplace kindness. Bruce and Steve can help focus on team strengths that can promote the recognition and appreciation of thoughtful kindness as a standard organizational value. There is no cost.  If you have interest, contact Bruce Abel at bruceabel@msn.com
 
The Brainstorming More Kindness Ideas group was a fun and inspiring exchange of ideas, including some discussion and problem solving.  A few of the ideas shared were to:  1) push past your personal comfort zone, when possible, to extend kindness (e.g.:  interact with difficult people in your life in a kind way), 2) do at least one kind thing every day, 3) listen closely to what others are sharing and give a kind response that really fits person/situation, 4) say "hello" to people on the street in a respectful manner, 5) allow others to go first, 6) tasteful humor goes a long ways to make someone, or a situation, be more comfortable to others, 7) be aware of "white privilege" and how it affects our lives and daily situations, 8) remember small steps in kindness are valuable, 9) be true to yourself when being kind. If you want to join this group please come to the meeting and also email spreadingkindness7@gmail.com
 
The Kindness in Leadership group: Those who attended were encouraged to take one idea from the discussion back to a group or a relationship in which they play a leadership role.  They were also encouraged to check our forum (www.mindfulkindness.community) for ideas to be posted there about how to infuse kindness into leadership roles. For individuals interested in joining this group, please email Bingham Powell at bingham@saint-marys.org
 
The Kindness Signs group viewed sample signs about kindness, discussed the elements of effective graphics/messaging and shared what moves us personally with signs we see in the community. Several in the group were particularly interested in involving children in creating artwork for signs that could pop up around town.  Branching out from lawn signs, bumper stickers and business cards, the group added murals, traveling installation of children’s art, painting kindness stones to drop along walkways, creating a kindness tree ….to the list of projects we might like to take on.  The group did not set another date to meet but will use the forum at www.mindfulkindness.community to stay in touch about future action. 
 
The Social Media Action Group: These are suggestions that arose during our breakout session:
  •  Anonymous reports of kind actions are more generally favored, and may be posted on the Compassionate Actions Map via this Report form
  • The Emerald Compassionate Action Network newsletter can keep you informed about the local community of kindness.
  • The Social Media forum on the MindfulKindness site is a private discussion group promoting actions among ourselves.
    • The forum contains links to numerous resources for shareable kindness memes, good news stories and other ways to be positive on social media.
  • Compassion Games International provides inspiration for local kindness projects. 
  • Social media works best as an introduction to in-person, offline conversations.
    • It is kind to oneself and others to initiate those offline conversations.
    • Conference calls and video chats also use technology to increase depth of connection.
Contact David Hazen at ecan.today@gmail.com to be included in updates.

The Kindness and Youth group shared stories in dyads on such topics as ‘When have you given or received kindness from someone older than you; from someone younger than you?’ ‘Have you ever been in a real jam and had a stranger or someone unexpected help you out of it?’ and ‘What have you learned from a young child?’ We also shared symbols, images and expressions of kindness. In the future we may organize an occasional event featuring children and teenagers taking actions of kindness in our community, to learn from our youth and to support them.  
 
The Kindness into Action group agreed that we need to channel kindness into actions that benefit our community as a whole.  Actions talked about included going door to door to talk to folks about how they can come to together to challenge hate in their neighborhood and speaking on the new, grassroots radio station KEPW-97.3 to spread the word about how people can get involved. Finally, everybody agreed that we need to network, network, network and Michael Carrigan from CALC peace@calclane.org volunteered to help folks make that happen.

Workshop organized by community members and endorsed by:  

Doug Carnine (Author How Love Wins), 

Bhavia Wagner (Friendship with Cambodia), 

Bruce Abel (former Director of Mental Health for Trillium), 

Steve Christiansen (behavioral health technology consultant), 

David Hazen (Emerald Compassion Action Network), 

Helen Park (Alternatives to Violence), 

Michael Carrigan (CALC), 

Bingham Powell (St. Mary’s Episcopal Church), 

Melanie Oommen (First Congregational United Church of Christ), 

Gary Baran (Oregon Network for Compassionate Communication), 

Dan Bryant (First Christian Church), 

Phyllis Hockley (Church Women United), 

Hafiz Leland (Interfaith Prayer Service), 

Kara Steffensen (Beyond War Northwest)

Affiliations are listed for identification and do not indicate organizational sponsorship. This is not a fundraiser.    v2

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