Smiley Friday Morning

Posted by Sachi Maniar on Jul 31, 2009
12216 reads  

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.

[original post, more photos]

Posted by Sachi Maniar | | permalink

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Comments (19)

  • Viral wrote ...

     you guys rock! (in the way that nonviolent mentees tend to do :-)

    great activity, and loved your conclusion :-)

  • Geetanjali wrote ...

    Great story Sachi. I love the thought of helping yourself by heping others.

  • Nipun wrote ...

    Sachi and crew: you guys rock!

    Perhaps next semester, all of you should be our mentors! :)

  • Paul wrote ...

     You are spreading a virus of smiles, even through the digital highway!  

  • Binal wrote ...

    I loveee it! For the big smile on MY face, thank you Sachi and crew! :)

  • Richard wrote ...

    Sachi, thanks for sharing this. Great write up, too!

  • Guri wrote ...

    Sachi - This is great stuff! And it's amazing how Bhoutik has worked his way into being the "unofficial" Metta Center mentee :-). Love it!

  • Trishna wrote ...

    This is great stuff guys!  My favourite part is the old lady who starts out grumpy and then flashes a bright smile - that must have been so amazing to see! :)  Looking forward to reading more about your service adventures!

  • Yoo-Mi wrote ...

    Sachmo!!! Love the infectious smiles on all your faces.  I'm smiling bright - on the inside and out!

  • Birju wrote ...

    what's that spinning wheel all about?!  sounds like you guys took a good idea and made it even better :)

  • kanchan wrote ...

    I am sooo proud of you guys :)

  • Pancho wrote ...

    Huge Smiley BAAM!  :-) 

    Great insight to bring our communities into harmony with divine purpose.

    You are the heroes we need!

    Break the rhythm! Its harder than hell
    To be the courage to follow yourself
    To declare your name as one and the same
    With the whole human race, every face, every place

    That is the noble, that is the wise, that is the human, that is the kind of hero we need

    To give peace a chance with all of your worth
    To breathe for giving breath back to the earth
    Beyond the dream - to throw your own love
    Before hard bullets silence the last dove

    This is the noble, this is the wise, this is the human, this is the kind of hero we need

    Noble. Wise. Human-kind.

    Louder than voices, deeper than words
    The river is raging with or without this verse
    Millions of people are out in the streets
    Millions of people refuse to be meek

    These are the noble, these are the wise, these are the human,
    these are the kind of heroes we need

    You are the noble, you are the wise, you are the human, you are the kind of hero we need.

    Please keep sharing your photons of love with the Beloved Earth Community.

  • Susan wrote ...

    Wow!  Wonderful news... and all those familiar faces I recognize from Wednesday gatherings!  Such a simple thing this "smile" and the joy it brings in a moment, that can last a day and  even have an impact on someone for a life time!

    Job well done, Metta Mentors!  You guys really do rock and what a handsome group you are with your smiling faces!

    with gratitude and love,


  • Aditi wrote ...

    Sounds like you guys had a really great day! 

    I love the part about the man at the bus stop!  High five from me to the "love warriors".

  • Candy Marie wrote ...

    How do I send a hug through this thing??????





  • sachi Maniar wrote ...

    Wooohooo ! 


    You guys are our inspiration and mentors ... Thanks :) 

    smiles :) 

  • Shephali wrote ...

    Great story! And I am loving this Question Wheel idea!!! :)

  • sheetal wrote ...

    what a great idea... u guys are spreading smiles everywhere... much love n warmth to the crew...


  • Rana wrote ...

    Thanks guys for spreading a smile....

    today, while stopping at a red light...I looked at people driving... most of them looked serious, grumpy and only one lady had a small smile in her face - maybe she was talking over cell..... Have been thinking why are we like that??

    Good to know that people care for each other...thanks once again.