With a name like Koa, which means “strong warrior,” it’s no wonder that our next Kindee of the Month wears so many different hats, including mom of two teenagers, illustrator, jewelry maker, and nanny. And she does it all with kindness and grace. When she was nine, Koa moved to France with her mom and brother Cash, and living in another country was life changing for her. “Learning and appreciating new cultures and places was so incredibly helpful in cultivating an inclusive view of the world,” Koa says of her experience abroad.
We befriended Koa when we stumbled upon her Instagram account, @leavefootprintsoflove, which showcases hearts she finds all over LA. Here’s where it all started: “When my children were in elementary school, we would drive through this one area, maybe not the best of neighborhoods, and on one of the walls someone had painted a big red heart,” Koa told us. “The first time I saw it I was really taken aback. It instantly made me smile and feel so much joy. It was a stranger’s universal message of love and it was beautiful. Every day that we drove passed the heart, I felt the same sense of joy and gratitude for the reminder, ‘love is everywhere.’”
Koa also worked on the illustrations for a book called “School of Awake, A Girl’s Guide to the Universe,” written by her friend Kidada Jones, which offers tips and words of encouragement to help tween girls navigate their daily lives. Of how kindness is incorporated within the book, Koa says: “Kindness plays an important role in the book: kindness toward self, through our words and our actions, kindness toward Mother Nature, being aware of the imprint we leave, kindness towards friends, as well as kindness towards strangers.”
Here are more kind words from Koa:
Kindkness Karma: When did you start your Instagram account @leavefootprintsoflove and what inspired it?
Koa Jones: I posted my first heart on @leavefootprintsoflove back in November of 2013 and I was inspired by the heart itself. My inspiration for my hearts stems from my mom collecting heart-shaped rocks when I was little. Once I had children, I started the same tradition. Collecting heart-shaped rocks then grew into finding heart shapes after seeing the heart on the wall. There is an activity page in “School of Awake” called “Love is All Around,” which asks the reader to go on a heart scavenger hunt. I think it’s such an easy way to remember and share the idea that love is everywhere. That’s basically the message I try to convey with my posts. We can all tap into that source, it’s there for all of us to find, see, and feel. And once we do, it’s really nice to share it, pass it on, and brighten someone else’s day with the reminder.
KK: How can people contribute to your heart hunt?
Hearts are everywhere and anyone can get in on the Heart Hunt. I follow several other heart accounts and it always makes me feel so warm inside knowing that people all over the globe see the world through heart-shaped eyes, just like me. I think some of the easiest natural hearts to find for beginners are in leaves, tree bark, and rocks. From there it just grows and before you know it, you see them in everything and every place you go.
KK: Can you speak a little bit about why spreading kindness is so important in today’s world?
I feel that kindness is the easiest thing to extend to someone else. It requires very little output. Being kind is a courtesy we should want to show one another at the very least. Our words and actions have an energetic power to them and the more kindness we put out, the more positivity we are generating. Today we are faced with a tremendous amount of negativity, whether it be in politics, in the news, through people’s projected fear. It’s all around and kindness is our first defense really. If we can learn to stay rooted in kindness and spread it like the wind spreads dandelion seeds, things will change for the better.
KK: What are some easy acts of kindness people can do in their everyday lives?
There are so many easy acts that people can do in their daily lives, simple things like silently sending five strangers good vibes and well wishes for a love-filled day or leaving little notes for people to find that just say things like “You are beautiful.” Hold a door open for someone and make eye contact when you say thank you. If you ask someone how they are, really listen to the answer. Be present, give people genuine compliments. I have found the more you do it, the easier it gets. Kindness just flows once the lid is taken off the jar.
KK: Can everyone become a kinder human being if they want to? Where does one start?
The most important place to start is with yourself. You have to be able to show yourself real kindness before you can share authentically with anyone else. When my daughter was in the 6th grade, she did her science fair project on the power of words and thoughts, and she followed the example of Dr. Emoto’s experiment. She took two containers of rice, labeled one “Love” and one “Hate.” For one month, to one she thought about and spoke lovingly to it and the other she thought about and spoke negatively to it. You would not believe what happened to that rice. The love rice stayed fairly fresh for the entire 30 days while the hate rice was covered with green and black mold. It’s astounding what kindness can do versus negativity and hatred. Our words and thoughts really are so powerful and kindness is infused with so much goodness, so much light, so much love. Why not spread it every chance we have?
KK: Complete this sentence: Kindness is