I don’t know a whole lot about revolutions, truth be told, but I assume that most revolutions start in the streets. Likely because that’s where life is: where humanity and inhumanity intersect in powerful and painful ways. Krystyn Heide started her revolution in lower Manhattan…in the middle of the street, natch. That day, she had found a hate letter directed at anyone who might give a homeless person some money AND was struck by the number of gawkers teeming outside the loft where Heather Ledger had been found dead.
Rather than allow the enormity of the negativity to overwhelm her, she decided in that moment to start her very own revolution: a Hope Revolution. The premise is simple and the impact is powerful: write and leave loving notes to by found by others. Nothing easier than that…ergo, pure genius.
Krystyn agreed to answer my questions...she's now officially my favourite resident of NYC.
When I think of hope, I always think of the advent wreath…can’t help it. The four candles signify hope, peace, joy and love. You know lots about hope…what do you feel you know about the other three? One thing I tried to encourage in my first notes was to allow yourself simple moments just for you. My first messages were very simple: Listen. Breathe. Pause. I felt like they were things many people, especially myself, took for granted. When you don't make that time, you can become overwhelmed by the negative, and lose hope.
I look at peace, joy and love the same way. You have to make time to find them, every day, even in things as simple as a sunset or your kid's freckles.
Most beautiful hope note ever?
But honestly, I've been moved to tears *many* times by photos or videos I've received. I think it's the act of participation, the kindred spirits I come across, more than the actual messages on the notes themselves.
What is so easy for you that you don’t even realize it’s your gift?
I can sing off key like no one can. Glasses spontaneously shatter and babies cry and dogs a mile away start howling. But I guess that wonks the second half of your question because I am fully aware that it's my gift.
You want people to write hope notes. What music do you want people to hear?
I've recently fallen in love again with Explosions in the Sky. I listened to them a lot around the time I created my first note, during a very low point in my life. Even on my worst days, I feel like their music is a reminder that there is still beauty in the world.
What’s the next revolution a-brewing?
I recently moved to New York, and while visiting the Statue of Liberty, a ranger told the history of how the city was built. Something he said that really resonated with me was "We do this not for ourselves, but for our children, and your children." I thought of men building the subway tunnels, the streets, the ports, the things we take for granted every day... not just for a paycheck, but because they had hope in the future. It really hit home.
So I've had an idea a-brewing in my head that's specific to the city. Notes for police officers, the people in the subway toll booths, the people that keep you safe or keep things running. The people who probably aren't thanked enough, if ever.
I'd like to maybe coordinate it in a few major cities, to all happen on the same day. But of course, people could participate on the local level anywhere if they wanted to.
**************************************** So, I have written and posted my first (of many) hope notes, and I intend to get the family in the game too. It lives on a bulletin board at our public school.
Finally, if nothing in this interview made you smile, please check out this vimeo of University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work students spreading hope by plastering hope notes around Houston. Set to Natalie Merchant’s Kind and Generous, it was a bone fide grin-fest for me.
Thank you Krystyn, for being a beacon of what is possible and for helping this in global shift in consciousness move along. With people like you, it may not progress at such a Jurassic pace after all.
And you, gentle reader, please join the revolution. Grab you favourite pen, conjure your inner peace-lover, tap into some creativity and love and get writing. The world needs it.