Chances are you have seen a new trend brewing on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter have been flooded with pictures of painted rocks of all shapes and sizes. It may also be possible that you have spotted one of these painted rocks while out and about and wondered just what the heck it was about. No, this isn't just summer boredom kicking in early, there is a much bigger story behind these colorful little beauties and one that I think we can all get behind.
The Kindness Rocks Project was started by one woman who - like many of us - found herself looking for "signs" of encouragement from the universe when going through stressful times - something like a heart shaped rock or piece of seaglass to just simply reassure her that things were going to be ok. Knowing that others were probably looking for the same "signs" she began to start creating them - with words of love, encouragement, and compassion painted on rocks that she would leave along her morning walk on the beach. What began with one woman dropping a few rocks has turned into a worldwide movement with these Kindness Rocks reaching as far as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Thailand, Haiti, Italy, and England.
I discovered this movement this spring when I visited my cousin in Clearwater and a friend joined us for a night out. As we were walking she said, "oh gosh I almost forgot, I have to hide these rocks!" She went on to explain that there was a Facebook Group where people were painting and hiding rocks, and when you find one you post a pic to the Facebook Group, and then you can keep or rehide the rock to surprise and inspire someone else. In an instant - eight grown adults joined in the fun of hiding little painted rocks throughout Downtown Dunedin that had been painted in New Port Richie. I could hardly wait to get home to show the girls, and was delighted to discover that there was already a #PensacolaRocks Facebook group with almost 1,000 members! In just a short time that group is nearly 10,000 members strong, with rocks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs being spread all over town.
The mission is simple - to delight, inspire, and encourage people who find a rock, and let them spread the happiness by either keeping it so that they can be inspired everytime they see it, or re-hiding it for someone else to find. Skill is not a requirement - thankfully because I have discovered that I am not a rock artist by any stretch of the imagination - only the desire to spread happiness and kindness to someone in your community. Painters of all ages have come together to join the mission to spread kindness. In a world full of negativity, I have to say that seeing this grow the way that it has is pretty incredible. Recently we had a tragedy in our town involving a young girl, and many in our community came together to paint rocks of love and hope.
The trend of painting rocks has grown to even include local businesses setting up Rock Trading Posts, like this one at S&K Boutique! You can stop by during their open hours to trade out rocks in a safe place where you might just meet other "Rockers" doing the same thing! There is even a Pace/ Milton Rocks group too! Local Hobby Shops like Bobe's Hobby House are welcoming Rock Painters with paint supplies, brushes, and even clear coat. How neat is it that spreading kindness can even help your local small businesses!? It is a win all around.
All you need to do to get involved is find on purchase rocks, use paint, paint pens, or chalk pens to decorate (these are my favorite) and then seal with either a clear coat or a layer of Modge Podge so that your artwork will withstand the elements and make the rocks safer for the environment. On the back simply write instructions for the Finder to share - something as simple as the Facebook Logo with your City Group Name and "Keep or Hide." Voila! Then simply start placing your rocks where people will discover them, and wait to see them uploaded to your local group. You can find your local group by searching "YOUR CITY NAME Rocks" on Facebook. If you find a rock, flip it over and search for the Facebook Group listed on the back. Then upload a picture of the rock to let them know it has been found. You can then choose to keep it, or rehide it for someone else to find. It really is as easy as that. If you are in the Pensacola area, come join the fun in the Pensacola Rocks Facebook Group. Just yesterday Midge and I went to grab lunch where she left this penguin. I wish I had a photo of how happy it made her when she saw this today:
Our whole family has gotten involved and took advantage of a particularly stormy night to unplug all of our electronics and just spend the evening painting rocks. I realized it had been far too long since we all sat together - completely unplugged - and just laughed and talked and poked fun at each other.
I am not sure how long this trend will go on, but hopefully, the movement of spreading kindness continues to grow, and maybe - just maybe - we can fill the news with stories of happiness and kindness and not all of the sadness that is going on in our world today. I love the quote at the end of the Kindness Rocks video - "Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world." Maybe we can...because Kindness... Rocks.