It all began with a black sharpie, a rock, and an idea that maybe someone else needed the inspiration that I needed during a difficult time in my life. At age 46, I found myself walking the beach looking for guidance. I hoped that in the solitude I would uncover my purpose and at the joy that I had misplaced along the way. I had so much to be grateful for, a supportive husband, three great daughters, a lovely home, and good health yet I was unhappy, and I felt guilty for feeling the way I did.
Many people that I knew had real problems such as cancer diagnosis or deteriorating marriages or they were in the throes of taking care of young children and elderly parents. I simply couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong with me. The guilt of being unhappy for no apparent reason had been building up for many years, and I got really good at masking it. On the surface, I looked happy and was very outgoing. People would compliment me, and I would feel a huge disconnect when they did. Inside I felt confused, sad and angry at myself for not being able to figure out what was causing my unhappiness.
I began an introspective journey, one which included long walks on the beach looking for inspiration and collecting heart-shaped rocks. Each time I found one I saw it as a treasure or a “sign” of sorts. They made me feel happy. Some days I looked for sea glass. In this process, I realized that what I focused my attention on, I was able to bring into my awareness. On the days looking for sea glass, I found tons and never a heart rock, and on the days I Iooked for heart rocks, I found many and never any sea glass.
I began to understand that focusing my attention on the people, places, and things that made me feel good would bring me greater happiness. By eliminating the things that made me feel badly, my perspective began to change. I eliminated the negative morning news and replaced it with a beach walk. I let go of friendships that no longer served me and took too much of my energy. I gave up my business that I no longer found joy in running. I listened to uplifting podcasts, took time to meditate, and reconnected with old friends that I had lost touch with over the years.
Before I knew it, I began to feel happy again. I began creating my own joy.
Once I uncovered this process for myself, I wanted to help others. I noticed on my morning walks that other people seemed to be walking the beach looking for inspiration as I did. That is when I began writing inspirational messages on rocks and leaving them on the beach for others to uncover. Maybe, just maybe, they would have the same effect that my heart rocks had on me. One rock turned into hundreds. It made me so happy to create inspiration for others. My daughter suggested that I add a hashtag on the back of the rocks and put them on social media. A grassroots kindness movement was born and today The Kindness Rocks Project can be found in over 25 countries around the world!
I like to call it The Art of Connecting because … One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook or life.
When we give to others the inspiration we need ourselves, without expecting anything in return we begin to heal ourselves and send out a ripple of compassion in our communities.