Last week, as a special Easter celebration, I decided to go back out in the streets of Kitsilano to offer my neighbours in need a homemade lunch. Armed with gourmet mac n’ cheese with a side of salad and tasty carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, I set out to hand out a few meals.
When life gets overwhelming, it’s easy to close off onto yourself. A lazy day of hibernation can sometimes be a good thing but if I’ve learned anything – reaching out to friends can be a good way to get a smile back on my face. During those times, I will make an effort to go out to that birthday party or call a girlfriend for an impromptu tea and croissant. Before I know it, I feel much better.
PS – bringing balloons to that said birthday party always gets extra smiles!
The April showers are certainly persisting until the end. This means, we have to be more creative about finding our own sunshine – an excellent skill to have if you’re a Vancouverite! Whether, it is inside a tulip or around a table filled with foods and surrounded by friends, take your pick and enjoy! May flowers are just around the corner.
A couple weeks ago, I walked by a man in the street. I actually see him quite often in my neighbourhood. He’s always smiling and always has something nice to say to passerby – sometimes it’s a joke, sometimes it’s a compliment. He is also usually asking for help – a bit of change if you can spare it – and for this reason, people mostly ignore him. Some days, I just smile and some days, I give him a few coins. That day, I had a toonie in my pocket and as I was giving it to him, someone made a comment that stayed with me “You care too much. People take advantage of that.”
Rain, cloud, rain, sun (!!), wind, rain…. and repeat. April is turning out to be a bit all over the place – kind of like me actually as it is a busy month. There’s been a couple time when I’ve gotten overwhelmed but I need to keep reminding myself to stop, take a breath, smile and go on… Even with all the craziness these days, I don’t want to miss out on those beautiful perfect little moments – whether it’s randomly finding the perfect card for a friend or that little ray of sunlight that came out on a grey day at just the right moment.
I often wonder what makes people happy. I’m 100% sure it’s not money but then what is it? Success, accomplishments, experience, love, relationships, mindfulness? I actually had a good discussion about that with a friend this weekend and I’ve continued thinking about it over the last few days. I think what it comes down to for me is mindfulness and relationships. I find that when I am surrounded by the ones I love and make a mindful choice to enjoy each moment I share with them, that’s when I am the happiest.
When I started my smile project, I never imagined it would turn into a blog or that I would ever really share my story. It was just a way for me to start making a difference in my community, even a small one.
When was the last time you smiled at a complete stranger?
In 2013, I read this article about how unfriendly Vancouver had become. It talked about how Vancouverites were known for being anti-social, standoffish and even snobs. It went on to ask the readers about the last time they had smiled at someone in the street or sparked a conversation with a stranger in line or in the bus.