Blog Pile

Spontaneous Acts of Goodness

Black Gold Direct From Brazil
Black Gold Direct From Brazil by cogdogblog
posted 17 Jan ’09, 9.50am MST PST on flickr

What a gracious thing Carla did after leaving a comment on my breakfast photo– she offered to send me some favorite dark coffees from Brazil, and here they are on my porch in Strawberry, Arizona (better daylight for a photo).

I am enjoying a luscious Saturday morning brew, looking out the window at the last remnants of snow on the Mogollon Rim, and taking in the idea that someone I know only from a photo sharing sites reached out to send me a gift from another hemisphere.

If anything can help crack the dire the economy sky is falling pessimism. it’s a small act of spontaneous generosity.

Carla, Seu café é muito bom!

The world seems in a perilous negative state- people killing each other for reasons perhaps not more than stubborn pride of their grandfathers’ differences, others still lack for the most basic necessities of life most of us on the net do not think twice about, and yes, the economy is long past swirling down the toilet- its down deep in the septic tank where no one wants to dive in to pull it out. Yep, the sky is falling, is that all we can talk about how gray and drab it is?

All of this can weigh on you. Or maybe not. I don’t know.

And then out of the blue, sometimes, if you are lucky, out of the blue, someone does something kind for you, unprompted. Just for the sake of doing it. No expectations.

I have such a long list of these things that have happened form people I have known (at first) only online; and yet, the impact is huge when at 10:00pm at night, returning from a long travel day, I open my mailbox to find a box of coffees Carla sent me from Brazil.

Yes, we need massive efforts to deal with large issues, but I think we also get much out a lot of small acts we can do (easily) for each other.

I am rather fuzzy on spiritual beliefs, but I do think that there is a long term payback for Doing for Others; not the self interest kind, but just that it can ignite a contagious act from the recipient that should be small Calculus like infinitesimal amounts that add up to something significant (I admit I get choked up at the movie Pay it Forward). And at the same time, the people who have done the opposite, who have taken advantage, profited by causing hurt, will get their due in the long run, I trust that Rod Serling is there in the wings, smoking his cigarette, and raising his eyebrow at what happens to the selfish takes when they realize they are in the Twilight Zone.

My soon to be 80 year old Mom in Florida has a routine she has done for years- every week, she bakes a batch of chocolate chip cookies, makes small bags of them, and goes about the week doing her Cookielady routine of giving them to people who have helped her, the guy at the Service station, the staff at the bank, the nurses in her doctor’s office, etc and she has a few left for things that may happen during that week. From her stories, people are happily stunned to get a bag of cookies of appreciation, and I am proud of the goodness my Mom spreads through this small act (Hi Mom! I told you I’d get a blog post written for you!).

Spontaneous acts need not be things– a simple acknowledgment, an appreciate and non self-fulfilling blog comment, send a flickr note card, an old fashioned hand written letter or phone call to an old friend… Just a gesture,

As for me, I am going to be prompted to think about this every morning for the next few weeks as I enjoy the Brazilian Extra Forte coffee Carla sent spontaneously.

Be spontaneous. Spread it around. It will come back, maybe in a way you do not even see.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Never underestimate the importance of good coffee! Imagine the potential impact coffee makes on individual and collective learning habits.

    Also, “spontaneous acts of goodness” almost always come in small packages and have the most lasting impression! small things add up to BIG changes.

    Mark A.M. Kramer’s last blog post..Updating

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