From Media Town Talk (Delaware County [PA] News Network)
Author Judith Trustone has started a global revolution without any noise, and without any bloodshed. In her self-created vehicle to change the world, Trustone, a resident of Swarthmore, hopes to kill with kindness, rather than violence, creating a rippling effect through her Global Kindness Revolution.
With her recently released book, “The Global Kindness Revolution: How Together We Can Heal Violence, Racism and Meanness Through Active Mindfulness,” Trustone outlines her plan for changing the world by one little act of kindness at a time. The author proposes at 12 noon every day, people around the world should think a kind thought or do a kind deed. They can set their computers, tablets, smart phones or alarm clocks to noon and after alerted, they should pause, take five clearing breaths and then think or perform their act of kindness. If 51% of the world’s population did this, she says, the world’s energy field would turn from violence to kindness. Others will pay that kindness forward, she says, and the entire world would be a much better place.
“Did you know that doing or receiving an act of kindness, or even reading about or observing an act of kindness, raises our happy hormone levels,” Trustone asked rhetorically during a recent interview.
Endorsed by Jack Canfield, well-known author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the book was written to make a difference. Canfield wrote, “Judith Trustone is the Grande Dame for social change. She is committed to all of the good things in the world. Her work is on the same level as Maya Angelou’s.”
The idea for the global revolution and the book, which is available through Amazon in both e-book and printed versions, took root during Trustone’s volunteer work inside prisons. The Delaware County resident was already seeking an antidote to the rampant bullying, meanness and the growing culture of violence exemplified by Columbine, Newtown and the Boston Marathon killings. At the time, Trustone was teaching creative writing to prisoners at Graterford Prison, giving a voice to the voiceless through her writing, editing and publishing. While teaching at Graterford for seven years, she founded Sagewriters, a publishing company, to publish books with social merit by people in prison, their families and advocates. Sagewriters published the work of over 30 authors and worked with 1500 potential authors across the country.
Her work in prisons inspired her previous book, “Celling America’s Soul: Torture & Transformation in Our Prisons and Why We Should Care,” which is now in its second printing. The book is a compilation of the stories of the prisoners whom she met during her time at Graterford. Since its publication, Trustone said, both she and the book, have been barred from prisons but she continues to work with the residents through letters, phone calls and mutual contacts. Trustone also has published a third book, The Cat’s Secret Guide to Living With Humans.
Seeking ways to halt some of the violence and pent-up anger within the prison walls, when she was volunteering there, she also created “kindness cards.” Her idea for the cards originated from the reaction she would get when she gave people thank you notes after noticing kind things they did. She saw how her notes uplifted and encouraged more kindness so she came up with the idea to pass out the kindness cards. She gave the prisoners the cards, in both English and Spanish to pass on to others, and soon began passing them out to people outside in the community.
The cards read, “Thank you for your kindness. Kindness is the antidote to violence and meanness. Pass this to another with the courage to be gentle. Heal hatred. Soothe, nurture and energize yourself. Join our Global Kindness Revolution and our virtual Kindness Circle or start your own Community Kindness Circle. Be Kind All the time!”
Trustone has distributed over 100,000 of her Kindness cards, inside and out of prison walls in the United States and in three South American countries. She hopes the idea will spread and the cards will soon be distributed throughout the world. She currently has Kindness Ambassadors in six other countries.
She also hosts “Kindness Circles” in prisons, schools, and local communities. For nine years, except for a two-year respite after a car accident, the 77- year- old community kindness activist has been leading Community Kindness Circles for a variety of groups, churches and schools. In a Kindness Circle, participants stand or sit silently in a circle, holding hands, drawing the “Light of Kindness” into their circle. The total instructions on creating a Kindness Circle is printed on Trustone’s Kindness Cards and on her website. The Kindness Circle can be done alone or with others.
To make her Kindness Circles global, Trustone has made DVDs depicting Kindness Circles, as well as documentaries about their effect, so people everywhere can start one. The author said the documentaries have been shown on PBS and at universities around the country. She also released a training DVD on YouTube, to teach others how to create a Kindness Circle and shift from fear and anger to kindness and peace. Local school, church and community groups may also invite Trustone to come in person to facilitate a Kindness Circle. She recently led a Kindness Circle for over 100 participants at the Pendle Hill Quaker Retreat Center in Wallingford and Swarthmore Borough Hall, and participated in a panel discussion at the Delaware County Peace Center in Springfield. She will discuss and sign her new book 7-9 p.m. Wed., Dec. 7 at Head Room, 24 Veterans Square, Media.
“Everyone is just so hungry for kindness,” she remarked. “The recent election has tested our kindness to each other. We need to heal America and move on.”
Trustone is no stranger to activism. The self-proclaimed women’s activist has pushed for female causes for the past 50 years, she said. Growing up in Hatboro, Trustone moved to Media in Delaware County in 1960. Through the years, she has worked for Fair Housing, studied Vipassana meditation techniques at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne, Massachusetts and has served as an apprentice to a Native American medicine man in Washington State.
“The beauty and simplicity of the Global Kindness Revolution,” Trustone explained, “is that anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere, alone or with others. There’s no cost, no courses, no certificates, just a commitment to doing whatever you can to strive to be kind all the time.”