It could be the fact that I am still basking in the warm after-glow of my magical trip to Copenhagen, but an odd thing has happened to me…
I’ve started embracing Christmas.
Even more so over the past few years, I have been decidedly dismissive of the whole festive season, be-moaning all the excessive spending and consuming and the pressures of expectation.
I’ve changed my mind though. Or rather I’ve changed the way I look at it. I’ve realised that Christmas doesn’t have to be this way. We can “opt-out” if we wish, and instead go back to what I believe it is about – a season of good will.
“Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real Christmas spirit”.
For some time, I’ve been promoting my belief that we should “make kindness cool”, but in my new bible for the season, “The Little Book of Lykke”, there is a term for it.
Raktivism – the act of doing Random Acts of Kindness.
This may include helping someone in need, but with no expectation of getting back. It can be a something very small and seemingly insignificant, but it’s often the little things that make a big difference.
It often it comes back to us, in ways we didn’t expect, like some kind of karmic reward, but the main payback is how it makes us feel.
“Helper’s High” is a very real, scientifically proven phenomenon. These random acts of kindness activate the reward centre of the brain, in the same way that food or sex does. Cooperation is good for the survival of the species, so we are literally wired to feel good when we engage in it.
I love this idea, and I seem to be seeing more and more sentiments that suggest we may be getting kinder as a species, and that we want to “spread the love, not the hate”. I hope so.
It started with a car in Copenhagen, which had the following quote on the side:
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. Desmond Tutu
Less than half an hour later, I observe the perfect example of this. My travelling companion, Paul, I think is a natural “ractivist”.
We’re arrived at Nyhavn, and having walked for hours that day, we decide to stop for a Glogge and sit for a while to watch the world go by. The table we choose outside because of it’s proximity to the fire and cosy blankets has yet to be cleared. There are four glass mugs with handles, and as the waiter approaches the table, Paul turns the handles round so that the waiter can more easily pick them up.
It’s a tiny thing, but for chap serving hundreds of people each day, it’s huge. He thanks Paul, saying people never usually even notice him, far less consider making his life easier for him. He is so touched my this random act of kindness, we become Mitch’s new best friend.
The kindness comes right back to us, but more significantly, we all get talking about love and how it really is at the heart of everything in life.
I’m seeing the world differently now. Christmas is about love, and I don’t even care how cheesy it sounds anymore, but it really is all around us.
My new mission is to be a Raktivist, and I think it’s going to make me very happy.