Heaven and Hell (personalized parable)

Published January 28, 2015.

Kind morning, 
I hope this finds you and yours surviving the snow and cold by being warmed from the inside out by friendship. (And hey if all else fails, you can always ask this famously hopeful question- "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

My friend John Porcino is the warmest, kindest man I know. His altruistic urge to give back is so good hearted I jokingly refer to him as Father Teresa. So perhaps it's only natural that he's the guy who taught me today's folktale about finding Heaven. 
Here's hoping reading it reminds you of your own Kindmind teacher's wisdom,
PS  If you've done or witnessed a kindness please drop me a quick note, and join me and other readers in co-creating The Kindness Chronicles. (Surely a good counter-balance to The Holy Horror Headlines and The Mass Media Miseries!)


Eternity is your choice: Smoking... or Non-smoking! 
(Homer Simpson dies but St. Peter won't let him into Heaven until he does one good deed. He asks his wife Marge for suggestions. She handed him a long list. Homer said: "Gee, I just want in, I'm not running for Jesus!")
"If you're going through hell, keep going." Sir Winston Churchill
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?" Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Heaven is here... if we invite it." John Porcino


Paul wasn't a saint like his namesake. But he'd tried hard to be pious, and when he was on his last legs, the Angel of Death granted him a rare wish. She would wrap an invisibility cloak around him, fly him to the two eternal resting places, one above, one below, and give Paul the choice of his final residence. Paul thought sure he'd want to be above in Heaven, but figured just in case they had things backwards on earth he'd start with below.

Poof! The Angel whisked him off to a grand estate with a gorgeous mansion, proudly bearing the letters H E L L above its ornate front door. Paul was astounded to see smartly clad men and women stream into the stately main dining hall. Pulling his invisibility cloak around him, he followed them to an enormous table, draped in the finest white linen, laden with a succulent assortment of exotic delicacies and a cornucopia of gourmet desserts.  Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!
Paul was ready to tell the Angel of death to sign him up for Hell, when he noticed an odd thing. Every person's arms were locked at the elbow. Then to his horror he saw they were ravenous with hunger. But because their elbows couldn't bend, none could get any of the delicious food from their forks into their mouths  Soon their frustration turned to rage and they began whacking spoonfuls of food into their neighbors hair.
Paul quickly signaled the Angel to lift him from the fray. She spirited him far above the clouds to a second grand estate. At first Paul thought he was seeing double. Everything from the luxurious mansion to the smartly dressed inhabitants was identical.
The lone difference was that the letters above the ornate door were H E A V E N. But inside was a duplicate long, lace linen table, laden with the same spectacular smorgasbord. Then Paul's eyes froze on the front limbs of the inhabitants. To his horror everyone in the place had arms locked at the elbow. 
In disbelief he whispered to the Angel: "how could this be Heaven?"  Paul saw the answer when the diners used their outstretched arms to spear a delicious morsel , reach across the table and place it gently in their neighbor's mouth. "Heaven is here... if we invite it."
Breathe in and invite a little bit of Heaven into your heart. Feed the place in your soul that hungers to help others, and allow your mind to picture someone you know who's hurting. Who do you know that even when your elbows are locked, you can still reach out to and nourish with kindness?
Jot the person's name on a piece of paper, and think of some small act of generosity you could do for them in the next 24 hours. Imagine their grateful smile. Remember- Heaven is here... if you invite it. (amen)


Today I'm letting my "locked arms" lead me to link arms with kind souls and focus less on getting, and more on giving. 
PS Please tell/send me a kindness you heard about, and forward this story and invite to others.Together, we can share small gifts with great heart- and a kindmind.

Signs of Change... for the better!

Published January 21, 2015.

Kind Wishes,

The proximity of Martin Luther King day and Barak Obama's State of the Union reminded me of one of the former's most famous sayings "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Great or small, we all face challenges, and few of us want to give up our comforts. On the outside, it may be inconvenient to stop and help a stranger in need. But on the inside, there's no comfort in being callous. As MLK eloquently stated "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

Here's hoping today's story shows how that arc is shaped by kindness,


PS  If you've done or witnessed a kindness please drop me a quick note, and join me, Karen, and Sid (so far) in co-creating The Kindness Chronicles. (Which sure beats The Holy Horror Headlines and The Mass Media Miseries!)


A compilation of memorable MLK Jr quotes that make the case for a kinder society and sets the table for today's 'parable'. 

"Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.... Power without love is reckless and abusive. Love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love." 

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men... The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."  


The YouTube video this story is based on is titled: 

Change Your Words Change Your World)

 With a stroke of a pen, Ann did just that for a down and out stranger. Before she came along, no one saw the blind man's humanity. All pedestrians saw was another panhandler with a paper cup, and a ratty sign scribbled on a torn piece of cardboard that read- Blind need money. Instead of opening their wallets, they walked past as if their eyes were closed.

Ann refused to turn a blind eye. She saw the man's poverty, and didn't look away.  She studied the ratty sign, stepped forward, and gently asked him if she could write something on the other side.The man shrugged and nodded limply. Ann flipped the cardboard slab over and scrawled 2 short sentences.

When she placed it back in front of him something shifted, and the blind became visible. His sign was now a magnet that drew people in. Slowly and steadily, the once lowly beggar became a beacon for human kindness. 

When his cup was literally overflowing, he cried out: "Lady, lady, you still there?" Ann lightly touched his back and reassured him "Yes I'm here."  His body suddenly alive, he alertly twisted his head in her direction and asked "What did you do? How did you make people start giving me all this money?" 

Ann answered by reading what she wrote- "It's such a beautiful day- and I can't see it. Please, help me."

Change our words... change our world. 

(And while we're at it lets change Washington- for to paraphrase another sixties social justice champion, Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan- Senators, congressman please heed the call. Don't stand in the aisle; don't gridlock the hall -for he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled. Keep your eyes wide ... the wheel's still in SPIN ... and the loser now, will be later to win, for the times they are a changin')


Today I'm opening my eyes to perceive why MLK so passionately believed in the power of non-violent revolution, opening my heart to take in stories of little things done with great love, and exerting my EQ to foment a Kindfulness evolution.  (Other than that I don't have big plans!)

PS Please tell/send me a kindness you heard about, and forward this story and invite to others.Together, we can share small gifts with great heart- and a kindmind.

Kind Mind (Proud Papa)

Published January 14, 2015.

Good day,

It's a new year (duh!) So today I'm trying a new direction. I'm sharing a short true story of a good deed, and I'm inviting you to reflect on small acts of generosity you've done or witnessed. With any luck, you'll recall I've devoted past editions (and the largest section of my book) to what I call Kind Management.

Starting now, I'm putting the practice of Kindfulness at the heart of every Witn ' Wisdom I write. My hope is that you'll find your own way to be the bearer of good news- and for "extra credit" email your story, and allow me to add it to my compilation of Kindful tales.
Here's hoping today's issue inspires you to contribute to the next one, and empowers us to co-create:The Kindness Chronicles,


"Do good... and good will follow." George Merck (Founder of an obscure, tiny, little pharmaceutical company perhaps you've heard of)
"As human beings we can do no great things, only small things with great love." Mother Theresa
"Having a Kind Mind doesn't make you high and mighty. It just guides you to dig deeper and deeper wells of good will."  John Porcino (a.k.a. Father Theresa) 


Sonya, a 34 year old mom was tired and hungry. She was shopping for food and trying to get her two malnourished children through the dollar store without enough money to buy any of the toys Tony or Alicia kept thrusting at her.  So when her kids pleaded for her to buy a small box of Animal Cracker cookies she relented.

Jazz, a 22 year old recent college graduate stood behind Sonya in the check out line. She grinned when Tony jubilantly lifted the box of cookies from his mom's cart, and Alicia merrily danced about singing "Cook-Keys, Cook- Keys!  We're getting  Cookies, Yay!"
The children's glee came to a crushing halt at the cash register.  As soon as her items were rung up, Sonya opened her wallet and took out twenty dollars in food stamps. The cashier shook her head and coldly pointed to a small sign that blared "Cash & Credit ONLY". Sonya fished out a few dollars and just enough coins to pay for a package of Hamburger helper and a box of Mac and Cheese. Sadly, she told Tony he'd have to put the cookies back on the shelf, completed her transaction, and dragged her disconsolate children out of the store.
Jazz put her few items on the counter and told the cashier she'd forgotten one thing and would be right back. By the time the cashier had rung up her three items she returned with the fourth- a large tub of Animal Crackers. Speeding her purchase with exact change, Jazz grabbed her bag and bolted for the door.
At first she couldn't find the family and feared the mom had already driven away. Then she heard a loud wailing and the cries quickly directed her to Alicia and Tony weeping in their discouraged mother's arms. Jazz took the tub out of her grocery bag and wordlessly offered it to Sonya. When she took her arm off Tony to receive it, the lad looked around and his eyes lit up.
His happiness was all the thanks Jazz needed. But when Alicia caught wind of why her brother's face was so bright with joy, she bounded out of her mom's arms and wrapped her own around Jazz's waist. By the time Sonya quietly said "mucho gracias" Jazz felt saying "you're welcome" was an understatement.
The family drove off all smiles, and Jazz Peck walked to her car warmed from the inside out by the afterglow of goodness. She knew her small act of kindness wasn't a headline story, but it would be a good news story to share with her father. (And this chance to retell it to you has made my day, and is proof positive of why Rob Peck is one proud papa!) 


Today I'm gratefully paying it forward by sharing stories of simple gifts, and planting seeds for a full -bloom Kindfulness (R)evolution.   (Other than that I don't feel strongly about good deeds)
PS Please tell/send me one of your own or one or a kindness you heard about, and help make 2015 the birth of The Kindness Chronicles. Together, we can do small things with great love.






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