Smiley Friday Morning
Posted by Sachi Maniar on Jul 31, 2009
Yesterday, mentees from the Metta Mentors program and Bhoutik had organized today’s morning dedicated to spreading love, compassion, smiles and the message of peace and nonviolence. We set up our lemonade stall, smile banner, question wheel and candies at Macarthur Bart Station in Oakland, a relatively poor neighborhood with high crime rates.
A great fun day started by Leah shouting out different situations and asking the participants to decide whether they think it was a violent act or a nonviolent act …
Pretty soon the planned day took an unplanned turn.
All 13 of us wore BIG infectious smiles, filled our pockets with Smile Cards & handwritten quotes and our fists with candies to give it out to strangers speeding in and out of the BART station. Some interactions ended with a ‘No thank you’, some with ‘Smiles’, some went beyond that to spinning the wheel and answering the questions like ‘What are you grateful for?", "What does nonviolence mean to you?", "What makes you smile?" and some turned out to be deep, life sharing experiences!
Our smiles often confused the approaching frowning faces of strangers. Some people tried to change their path or avoid us as they thought we were asking for money or it was some kinda sales trick! At times, we went on explaining for quite a few minutes ... making up mantras like “Candies for Smiles” and “This candy just costs a smile.” :)
Leah and Brandi approached a man waiting at the bus stop and asked him “Sir, we would like to know what makes you smile?” And he thought about it for a minute and said, “People smiling at me, makes me smile.” They handed him a Smile Card and candies! Super astonished, the man said, "What?!? Just for smiling, I won something? Woooww Yaaa!!" He gives our love warriors a huge hi-five and a sweet hug, before embarking on a smiley day ahead.
Phoebe passed on a hand written thought of the day to an old lady. Grumpily she replied, "What’s this?" She opens it, reads it and then and there shines the *biggest* smile ever on her face! :) Our day was made!
Story after story of us trying to make people smile filled our own hearts with compassion. For every smile we earned, we ourselves smiled wider. :) It was a different kind of a high ... in serving others, we served our own self.