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This afternoon I attended a four-hour Accelerate Bend workshop. Over the last several weeks there were six of these workshops and I was able to attend four of them. This one was focused on creating a more Vibrant Economy. It was attended by about forty people, most of whom hold politically important positions. Nearly everyone participated actively in all of the aspects of the meeting; it was a controlled democracy at its best. At the end we did come up with a short list of things voted upon as valuable for enhancing our community’s future. We have an unusual set of problems because our city is remote from everywhere. People are here because they came here, and they came here because this is a wonderful place to be. The ideas chosen for presentation to the Bend 2030 committee to consider for implementation were excellent.

My pet project, a Kindness Festival, was sort of outside of what was being considered by these workshops so it wasn’t seriously developed, but I did get a chance to present it to half of the people present. It did get a very enthusiastic response, so I am trying to work up ways of implementing the techniques for a public demonstration. It will probably be possible to start really small with just a couple of people doing some kindly gesture, but the gesture would be designed in a “Pass it on” style. Thus a person coming down the sidewalk gets some small kindness and they have the opportunity to pass the kindness on. Perhaps something so simple as a nice rose, with a ribbon is given, “Tie a knot and pass it on.” At first this might be too weird for some people, but after it happened a few times people would probably get with the fun and cooperate with the gesture.

What is good about this as a tradition is that it is so easy to do and it gives people a sense of community. For Bend, which is already a warm and friendly city, there would be the recognition of its city-spirit of kindness.