You know how sometimes you get a warm feeling when you think about a loved one who lives far away? Maybe they’ve been through a personal trial recently and could use a little cheerleading, a sweet note or a gift, a simple gesture to show you’re thinking of them. Your heart swells, your thoughts go out to them… and you get an intense urge to ship them a lump of granite rock.
Or is it just me?
If a gift like that sounds cold to you, let me elaborate. These one-of-a-kind stones are dazzling. They’re all decorated by hand in a gorgeous assortment of colours, using a dot-painting technique that a Nova Scotia resident adapted from an Aboriginal Australian art form.
The self-taught artist behind this project is a schoolteacher named Ginger LeBoutillier. She calls these Travelling Kindness Rocks – and she’ll send them, for free, to those in need of kindness. Trust me, anyone would feel uplifted after receiving one of these in the mail. Especially since it comes with a touching letter explaining why the person is getting a crafty chunk of stone.
The idea was initially inspired by a project Ginger led in her grade 5 and 6 classroom. Eventually, it spilled over into the community. She’s only been at it since August, but to date the rocks have been mailed all over Canada and the United States, to several countries in Europe, and to places as far away as Argentina, Australia and China. This week Ginger is shipping her 200th rock.
Travelling Kindness Rocks have been cherished by individuals dealing with serious illnesses, coping with grief, even battling suicidal thoughts. Typically, people express extreme joy when they learn their loved one will receive a rock.
Ginger loves finding out, often through social media, that a Travelling Kindness Rock has brought someone comfort. She’s usually heard a bit of their difficult backstory. “I feel blessed that I’m welcomed into so many people’s lives, all around the world… I have felt humbled that something I’ve created could mean so much to people,” she says. She adds, “We are all connected, and the TKRs are a physical way of representing this.”
Donations to the project help cover mailing costs. There’s also a lovely pile of merch for sale on the Travelling Kindness Rocks website, with part of the profits going back into the project – so when you shop on the site, you’re paying for these rocks to keep on rolling.
I’m in awe of this lady’s talents. Not only is she a creative teacher and artist, she’s also a mom to a five-year-old, she’s a violinist with her community orchestra, and she apparently has a reliable talent for producing a fresh apple pie. (Mmm… Ginger, do let me know when you’ve expanded to a line of Travelling Kindness Pies… I’ll wait right here.)