This Is How Painted Rocks Became A Nationwide Movement

by Amber Leventry
Originally Published: 

Megan Murphy lost her parents when she was in her early 20s, but as way to feel a connection to them and find signs of their guidance, she began to look for two things on her walks on the beaches on Cape Cod. A piece of sea glass represented her mom, and a heart shaped rock felt like her dad. When she found one of these things, she felt supported and like she could get through anything. On her walks, she saw other people doing the same thing. Turns out, she wasn’t the only one looking for messages from the universe.

On a whim, Murphy took a Sharpie with her to the beach. She wrote messages on five rocks and dropped them while she walked. Later in the day, a friend of Murphy’s texted her a picture of a rock she found on the beach. It had a message written on it with a Sharpie. The rock had made the friend’s day and was exactly what she needed in that moment.

Murphy was shocked that her rock had been found and overwhelmed by the coincidence of her friend being the one who had discovered it. She knew in that moment that she needed to do something with this powerful ability to spread hope and kindness. So she started the Kindness Rocks Project, and the rest is history.

If you follow the Kindness Rocks Project on Instagram or do a quick search using #paintedrocks, you will be moved by the beautiful artwork done with the sole intention of making someone else feel good.

Witnessing that drive is enough to be moved. Talent is not what makes this project special, but there are some pretty kick ass artists who are turning stones into brilliant works of art. From messages written in beautiful calligraphy to replicated landscapes and book covers, the artistry is amazing. Most of the rocks are less professional looking, but no less gorgeous.

Some rocks are painted with just one color, some have one word, and some have the look of having been handled by a child with messy fingers—because they have been. Amateurs, kids, and non-artists are coming together in an inexpensive and thoughtful way to add beauty and love to the world. We can all use more of that.

Families and communities are joining forces to create human connections through art and nature. It is a nice break from screens, technology, and the constant need to be validated with likes, hearts, or mentions. All painted rocks are created, placed, and found with joy. No WiFi or plug-ins needed.

My kids found several painted rocks on a walk this spring. The surprise and happiness on their faces was contagious. They initially wanted to pocket them and take them home. I told them they were allowed to do that, but since I knew about the project, I suggested we make our own to put into the world. We should replace the love and leave happiness for someone else.

It didn’t surprise me that my kids were excited about this idea, but I was surprised when several minutes later, my daughter decided to put back the rock she found. She found a new spot to hide the painted rock, which looked like it had been done by a child her age, because she felt it was too special to keep. She wanted someone else to be able to enjoy it too.

My oldest daughter recognized the gift of giving, and if for no other reason, this is what makes the Kindness Rocks Project, well, rock.

More and more people are getting in on this movement, and it has spread across the country and over international borders. Facebook groups are popping up every day in states, towns, and counties from coast to coast. The goal is to spread positivity and provide inspiration in an anonymous way, but some groups place a URL or hashtag on the back of the rock so people can take a picture of their find and post it to the home page.

Some groups hide rocks, give clues, and ask finders to show their treasures. The hider can choose to hide the rock somewhere else or keep it. Many groups ask that if you find a rock, you leave a rock. This will keep the movement alive and spreading.

Find some rocks, grab a Sharpie or paint and paintbrush, and spread love. Spread it like the salve the world needs to keep spinning. And find love like it is the weight of a rock you have needed to remind you how special and wanted you are.

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