In July I shared how the The Kindness Rocks Project ™ from Massachusetts has impacted my eastern Florida county in Painted Rocks Spread Kindness #WATWB. Brevard county, a community of 568,000, has 52,000 folks who paint and hide their rocks, then post photos to one of our four local Facebook groups.
One of my readers, Lynn mentioned her hope that this concept would spread to other communities while another blogger, Eric called it “guerrilla happiness spreading.”
So I decided to investigate … just how far has the painted rock craze spread?
Surprisingly, I learned it has become a nationwide phenomenon with reportedly over 500 painted rock groups across the U.S. and even into Europe. I counted thirteen countries where rock painting groups placed pins on the map of the The Kindness Rock Project website.
Fascinated, I scrolled the globe to see the various places this project spans. Japan, China, New Zealand – wow!
How Did This Happen?
Social media is the primary vehicle that has connected people globally and informed them of this movement. It’s been two years since July 2015 when Megan Murphy, 48 found a heart-shaped stone on a beach in Barnstable, MA. She then wrote a hopeful message on a rock using a Sharpie, placing it in the sand for another walker to find.
Murphy tried to remain anonymous because she saw painting rocks as a hobby. But her Cape Cod friends recognized her handwriting. Busted, ha! Once she added the hash tag — #thekindnessrocksproject to the back of her rocks, she built a website and opened corresponding FB, Instagram and Twitter accounts to display the colorful rocks inscribed with positive messages while explaining the project.
It caught on then spread like wildfire. Soon rock gardens began popping up around New England and other U.S. cities explaining what to do with the rocks. Washington state has exploded (see Wash state Painted Rock Groups).
“It’s so much bigger than anything I dreamed of” Murphy told Boston Globe reporter Crisela Guerra.
Our world is desperate for random acts of kindness and this seemingly small painting activity is one powerful way to impact people we consider strangers.
One spinoff I located is the Traveling Kindness Rocks ,™ a small dotted mandala stone that is mailed at the request of a loved one to an unsuspecting someone anywhere in the world who needs kindness.
Another derivation and my personal favorite, are Bible verses inscribed upon stones. This is what I create now.
The Happiness Effect
Lynn, your hope has manifested. The simple action of one beach-walking woman has mushroomed into a painted rock craze impacting the globe. Will it deescalate wars and bring world peace? Maybe not, but think of the places we will go!
Could it be that programmer/blogger/author Eric Lahti was correct, these painted rocks are tiny weapons of happiness (guerilla happiness spreading) in the hands of optimists? After all, guerrilla fighters band together in a small underground army, usually trying to overcome a larger and more organized force.
Every act of kindness creates a ripple effect that spreads from person to person with no end in sight. Kindness is contagious. Jamil Zaki, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University recently conducted a series of studies that observe how witnessing kindness inspires kindness, causing it to spread like a virus. He concluded that “by emphasizing empathy-positive norms, we may be able to leverage the power of social influence to combat apathy and conflict in new ways.”
So grab a Sharpie, paint brush, some acrylic paints and become the change you wish to see in the world.
Or if you’re a blogger, you can click here to read the guidelines and sign up , then join us by writing your own #WATWB post. It’s a bloghop occurring once a month, the final Friday of each month. What’s #WATWB mean, anyway?
Social media and news in recent times is often negative and hate filled. In an effort to counter that negativity, “We Are The World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news in order to showcase LOVE, resilience and the power of the human spirit.
Once monthly, participating bloggers post stories that increase our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world. Our blog co-hosts this month are his month’s co-hosts, Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese.
Thanks for stopping by my small corner of the world. Blessings, Kate
Christian inspirational writer of truth that makes darkness tremble. Author of Lion in My Garden devotional.