I first “met” Amy Krouse Rosenthal when her 17 Things I Made video – and its follow-up: The Beckoning of Lovely – came out in 2008. These videos were celebrations of creativity, connection, and flying by the seat of your pants (one of amy’s mottos is “figure it out as you go” …). I was a little in crush with this amazing writer, creator, and filmmaker.
I’d dip into her work now and then over the years, but it wasn’t until her Modern Love piece in the New York Times – You May Want to Marry My Husband – went viral the first week of March, I learned that she had ovarian cancer, and only a few days left “being a person on this planet.”
Almost immediately, my online friend (who i can’t wait to turn into an in-person one) Sherry Richert Belul of Simply Celebrate invited me to a thing she was making in honor of Amy.
Based on Amy’s book Plant a Kiss – Sherry asked a bunch of us to commit to offering some gesture of kindness (big or small – it didn’t matter) to the world between March 7 and March 16, and then share the story of that kindness on their blog and/or Facebook in order to spread kindness and love.
It didn’t take me long to come up with my gesture.
I absolutely LOVE bubbles cause I think it’s hard not to smile when faced with a shower of bubbles. (my story in chicken soup for the soul’s random acts of kindness book features them …) So I went out and bought 3 dozen 8 oz bottles of soap bubbles, and wrapped them in notes that featured one of a number of my favorite uplifting poems, the hashtag #plantakiss, and a request to keep spreading the kindness and good vibes.
I left some of the bottles in spots to be discovered later: on top of a mailbox, on a car’s windshield, in a couple of free tiny libraries, and on a couple of benches in a shopping district. I also handed them out to folks I saw when I was out doing errands.
The first was a woman who stood with me at a street corner as we waited for the ‘walk’ light to come on. She looked at the bubbles, then at me, and asked: What is this about? Why are you doing it?
That’s when I realized I hadn’t planned anything (figuring it out as i went, a la amy i guess) … but what to say? What to say? Do I tell her about Amy? Sherry? The whole project? Nope. What popped out of my mouth was:
Because I can.
“Because I can” became the standard answer to the question that almost everyone asked. Everything else was really just details; the point was to spread kindness and good vibes. And I could.
And it was awesome.
I gave a bunch of bottles to some teenagers outside a pizza joint; a bottle to the cashier at the drug store; the guy at Dunkin Donuts who sells me my 3 lbs of coffee every few weeks.
I’d ask parents if it was OK to give the bubbles to their kids before I’d just hand them over, and once the parents would process that, no, I wasn’t selling anything; I wasn’t asking for a donation – I really was just giving out the bubbles because I could – they’d agree, and the kids faces would light up. Really? one little boy said – his eyes nearly popping out of his head as his body vibrated with excitement. It was so cute I nearly cried right there.
Since we were waiting on line at a grocery store, and neither of us were “up,” his mother asked me more about it, and I told her a little about the project, and to check out the hashtag on Twitter to find out more. I’m totally going to do this! she said, I just have to think of my project.
Day made. Kindness spread. And rippled out some more.
Like the old adage says: it is better to give than receive, and these several days of giving away bottles of bubbles wrapped in poems lifted my spirits in a big way. And these days, with the political landscape being what it is, we could all use a little spirit lifting, methinks.
I actually have a couple bottles of bubbles left over, and even though the official Plant a Kiss week is over, I think I may keep giving them out until they’re gone. And then maybe do it some more.
Cause I can.
midlife women life-reimagined
More than 100 celebrated Amy Krouse Rosenthal with the Plant a Kiss acts of Kindness project. You can see links to many of the stories by visiting the official Plant a Kiss Kindness Project on Sherry Richert Belul’s website. And you can plant your own kisses any old time. Cause you can, y’know.