Inspired by Mom(This is one of a series of posts we’re running on what inspires us as facilitators and designers here at Collective Next.)

With the anniversary of my mom’s death, her birthday, and Mother’s Day all neatly stacked in a row, I’ve always found late spring a difficult time of year. While spring represents newness and hope, for me, it’s mostly a time for reflection. Memories of my mom come flooding back: packed school lunches in hand-drawn brown bags, elaborately crafted, prize-winning Halloween costumes, handmade crafts for elderly churchgoers, “just because” breakfast coffee cake cut into heart shapes.

My mom was the queen of all things thoughtful. Spreading good-natured deeds wasn’t just a way of life; it was part of her core.  

Just like my mom, inspiring others to spread kindness is what inspires me. I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a warm, fun, likeminded, and thoughtful community at Collective Next. We delight in birthday surprises, share homegrown goods from our gardens and homemade baked goods, and amaze each other with saw-this-and-thought-of-you gifts. We laugh. A lot. We pay attention to the little things that matter to each other and to our clients. We want them to feel it in the way we show up in our sessions. We’ll do whatever it takes to create the ideal experience: craft handmade puppets, find the perfect session closing song, celebrate a client sponsor’s birthday. Sometimes even something as simple as making sure the participants are fed and caffeinated makes a big difference. As Dave Rutley says around here, Everything Speaks. We hope we’re creating an environment in which our kindness encourages more kindness.

In honor of my mom’s kind spirit, I’ve started a project dedicated to spreading love like my mom, Annie (you can see the beginning of it on Instagram @lovelikeannie). I hope that by April 2016, the 15th anniversary of her passing, I’ll have helped spark a humble trail of human kindness. Help me pay it forward in memory of her and all of the amazing little things she did for the people in her life — friends, family, and strangers alike!