A brilliant young(er) man I once had the pleasure of working with (he did an internship for my ecommerce venture Thistle & Broom while finishing his studies at Yale School of Management) has created something called KangoGift. While used primarily to support companies’ employee recognition programmes it came to him based upon the absolute ease of buying friends small gifts (a cup of coffee, lunch, et al) via a mobile app while he was working for Google in Korea. On Facebook not so subtle reminders pop-up to send someone a gift in conjunction with the birthday announcements now embedded in the platform. Crowd-funding platforms provide for immediately supporting innovation, new music and art, good deeds and to fix various social malaises. With all this ease of ability to ‘reach out and touch someone’ (amidst the economic meltdown just about every country is experiencing) I wonder, how often people actually are using these tools?
We text with rapidity, we pride ourselves on achieving speed in everything from our athletic endeavours to preparing a meal in under 20 minutes, and these software platforms mentioned above allow for us to engage and feel righteous without much personal ‘investment’. The status quo is easy, human beings are essentially – lazy – and even as we free up all kinds of time, what exactly are we doing with it as we have found it? Taking time, s-l-o-w-l-y, writing a letter, whipping cream in a copper bowl, actually selecting flowers one-stem-at-a-time – by hand is a lost ‘art’. These are sublime pleasures, not only for ourselves as we go through the act of doing, but most assuredly for the recipient.
A woman in Sweden, who is not a business associate, who I have never met, never even spoken to, did something very nice for me; the Internet allowed me to review the work of a dozen florists around her corporate offices in Stockholm and email Jemima, the owner of Norr Mälarstrand Blommor, and send the most exquisite bouquet of flowers to thank this woman. (I know they were exquisite because not only did Jemima send me a photo via her phone but the response to the flowers within the recipients’ office filtered out the door and across the ocean to both my inbox and to my ears directly.) Two things came of this gesture – Jemima may have earned her business a new corporate client, and I was able to make someone’s day as they had made mine; reciprocity in absolute perfect balance.
I am heading out to my garden shortly to finish planting spring bulbs and continue the efforts of putting it ‘to bed’ for the winter. It’ll be a long, physical day filled with mindful intention. The irony is that I hope not to be ‘here’ to see the net results of these efforts next growing season – and yet, still, I am compelled to ‘do’ because energetically I know as I put my energy out in the universe, in this case in conjunction with making the centre courtyard of my apartment building more beautiful for everyone who lives here to enjoy, in my heart-of-hearts I know that this extended love will somehow, someday, when I least expect it to come back to me.
It’s in all of us to put more love out ‘in the universe’ – even if we need the Internet to do it – but putting in place a pebble in the pond which ripples with goodness really does take less time than preparing dinner.
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