Letter to Los Angeles
Today I started a new project. I wrote a letter to my Los Angeles acquaintances inviting them to be a part of it. You don’t have to know me to participate. The letter I sent to them is posted below. If you want me to keep you in the loop going forward, let me know
Greetings Friends -
I am writing to you because I am starting a new project and want to
know if you want to be a part of it. It’s really simple, it won’t take
hardly any of your time, and I think it could change the world.
I was talking with my friend Scott yesterday. He’s another L.A.
implant out of Colorado and we both seemed to have a similar opinion
about the state of human nature here in Los Angeles. Scott put it best
when he said, “It feels as though everyone is racing to get ahead of
everyone else, whether you’re in the super market or on the freeway,
and they’re willing to hurt you to do it.” I think Los Angeles is
actually filled with a lot of good, artistic, smart, progressive
people. I’ve never had a closer and more supportive social and music
community. However, you can’t argue that in a city of 18 million
people, many of which have very competitive careers with long hours,
people sometimes forget their manners when dealing with strangers.
I’m definitely guilty of this. It’s contagious and ugly. If we live in
a community where pain is projected onto each other continuously and
randomly, you start to see the world in a dimmer, more defensive way
and before you know it, you’ve passed your own pain onto a stranger.
When I first moved to Los Angeles I worked at a running shop and found
it surprising how many people came into the store ready to attack me
rather than assume I can help them. If I showed them I was sincere and
patient, it would disarm them and they would most likely be talking to
me as a friend by the end of the transaction. On the flip side of
that, if a neutral customer came into the store and I had just had a
bad experience with an ugly customer, I would be more likely to be
less patient with my new customer. They’ll get a more defensive,
less-engaged version of me and the next interaction they have with
someone is more likely to be ugly as well.
I have generally believed that I am responsible for myself and all I
can do is try not to be affected by other people’s actions so much.
Now, though, I’m starting to wonder if that isn’t a cop-out. I think
that there are things I can do to possibly reverse this cycle.
I was inspired by Patience Salgad, author of kindnessgirl.com. She has
a blog of all kinds of random good deeds she does for people and I
felt like there was really a lot to that. It can be anything from
leaving an anonymous nice note on a park bench to leaving flowers at a
stranger’s door. The acts are so small and take almost zero time, but
the impact is profound.
Even if I personally only ever reach a few people, it would be worth
my time. I’ve decided that I need to be proactive and produce love
rather than assume I’m only responsible for keeping myself from
becoming jaded by hate.
I’m looking for anyone who would be interested in subscribing to
either an e-mail newsletter or a facebook group that would give
instructions for a small good deed to do that week or month. Sort of
like a flash mob, but you do it on your own time and it’s always
anonymous. I’m not asking if you will follow my project, I’m asking
you to please be a part of it. It’s worth it to me if I make a
difference to anyone, but if more people commit to changing the way
they treat strangers and go out of their way once in a while to make
someone feel good, I think it would only make you feel good too and
possibly change the way our community’s citizens treat each other. It
doesn’t take much time or money to do either.