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Part 2: Guan Yin and The On-line Practice of Kindness Class with Andrew Smallman

January 4, 2010
“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” — Theodore Isaac Rubin

Last night when I returned from Flagstaff, an email from Danika Dinsmore, the Accidental Novelist was waiting. In it, she encouraged me to contact Andy Smallman and join his On-Line Practice of Kindness class. After reading up about Guan Yin, the Compassionate Rebel, how could I say no to committing to a Practice of Kindness each week?

So I emailed Andy and signed up for the Winter Term 2010 online Practice of Kindness class being hosted by the Puget Sound Community School (PSCS) in Seattle, facilitated by Andy Smallman, founder/director of PSCS. About 100 people from North America, Europe and Australia have signed up but he expects the class to grow in the next week. Maybe after you learn more, you will join in also!

Here’s a Seattle Times story from just after Christmas and links to last Sunday. Local TV station channel 13 did a brief TV story  ( & Deepak Chopra retweeted info about the class and it showed up as the “Idea of the Day” on bestselling author Dan Pink’s blog (

Here’s how Andy describes it:

“Each Sunday night I’ll post that week’s kindness theme via email and on a special blog set up for our class. Your job is to consider the theme and, in a way that is meaningful to you, act on it. After completing your act, you go to the blog and post what you’ve done so the rest of us get to learn about it. Imagine each of us interpreting the same theme each week in our own way and spreading ripples of positive action out in the world. It’s a revolution of kindness!

A big part of the experiment involves the practice of mindfulness. By that I mean paying attention to your thoughts and feelings, and carefully considering what you do to honor each theme. It’s also important to spend time reading and considering the acts of kindness completed by other members of the class so plan to check the blog regularly. As a virus, your acts will impact (some might say inspire) others, even people outside of the class. Being mindful, you’ll start noticing more of the kind things happening around you. You’ll become happier, more peaceful. You’ll sleep better. You’ll exercise and eat better. You’ll feel great. You’ll infect others with optimism.

While I call this a “class,” it’s important to feel relaxed and engaged. There are no serious deadlines, there are no grades. There are no expectations other than we try to get the most from this kindness alliance of ours, personally and globally. You don’t have to raise your hand to do something. If you need it, you have permission now to make this class what you want it to be. For you veterans, you may have noticed I’m not using the word “assignment” any more. I prefer the word “theme” to describe what we do each week.”

You can go to the blog to see the first assignment. It’s easy one–do something kind for yourself! If you decide to join in, please leave a comment and let us know!
One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2010 1:29 am

    Of course I’ve signed up. Although I haven’t thought of how I’m going to be kind to myself yet this week. I’m going to make it something really good…

    Thanks for forwarding the information. PSCS is an amazing school and Andy is one of the best teachers I’ve ever met.

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