How to ‘demonstrate’ effectively …

I understand there is to be a “Day of Rage” on Wednesday – a demonstration against austerity; Government wrong-doings leading to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower; terrorism on our streets and I guess any other issues people are generally unhappy about.

Forgive me for thinking this, but … is ‘rage’ really the answer? Is this really how we want to demonstrate?

I get this is our right – we’re allowed to peacefully show our feelings in a mass congregation. But, didn’t the communities in all these tragedies exercise this with their love, compassion and understanding for their fellow humans? Grenfell Tower: bags and bags of clothes, food, bedding and fundraising, within hours, given – wasn’t this ‘demonstration’ of kindness more profound and carry more impact and significance than a mass congregation of protest?

Terrorism on our streets: off-duty police, doctors, nurses – anyone who had a heart – they didn’t run – they helped. They put aside personal risk and ‘demonstrated’ compassion for their fellow men and women.

I know our politicians don’t always get things right – whatever your political viewpoint, none of them are perfect. As a nation, we are in a pretty crabby state of flux. And no, we might not be happy about it.

But my point is – irrespective of the politics … “rage” is not the answer.

People. Use your voices for something more positive and constructive and let’s see if that can make the difference this country needs. Demonstrate with love, peace and compassion and make that our new way of living.

February 5th: “When you smile – the whole world smiles with you”

smileI saw this image on good ole Pinterest (have I told you how much I lurve Pinterest?! – Probably!!)

Anyway, it was so timely, because I’d already planned my next post to focus on ‘smiling‘. I guess the point of this post is not directly about how a smile can improve your looks, although I do agree, that it can, but more about how a smile can improve either your day or someone elses day.

It’s a brave thing to smile at someone in person – particularly someone you don’t know. What if they just ignore you – think you’re some weird person? Worst still, what if they smile back?!! What do you do?!!

We’re very quick to add our ‘smiley faces’ in text messages and emails – it’s almost too easy. It doesn’t matter if the person on the other side can’t see that you’re completely pissed off – as long as you’ve included your ‘smiley’ icon – that’s fine. To call these ‘emoticons‘ seems a bit ludicrous – ‘emotionless‘ seems to be more precise!

Anyway, when it’s done for real, you’ll find there are whole load of songs written about this physical act of, let’s face it, flexing your muscles on each side of your mouth and maybe occasionally, moving the muscles around the eyes too (this is called “Duchenne Smile”)

Songs that include Smile–Josh Groban, Make Me Smile–Chicago, Smile Like You Mean It–The Killers, Smile Away–Paul McCartney , Smile Again–Usher, Smile –Lily Allen … there are actually a few more (but I recognised these artists!)

To be honest, none of these songs actually convey the point of just smiling at someone for no good reason. They all have a hidden reason for smiling (these are not the smiles I am referring to!) But it does demonstrate the importance and impact a smile can have on someone.

Never mind the people we know and see frequently (they get to see our smiles and frowns on a regular basis) but thinking about the person on the street, as you walk past them. Just offering them a smile is showing an act of kindness.  It’s a really pleasing acknowledgement of their existence.

We don’t really know what’s going on in other people’s lives, but if you offer a smile to someone, it might be the only one they see that day, week, month. It might be just enough to lift their spirits to keep on going. And the great thing is, the more you do it, the more naturally it happens as you’re walking along. And then one day, you’ll realise that you’ve become this really smiley-for-no-good-reason-person!

And I love it when I do get that smile in return! Because although I know what’s happening in my life (which is a good place at the moment), it still makes me feel special. And I also love it when I’m offered the smile in the first place .. wow! It’s quite uplifting sometimes.

Of course, when we’ve mastered the art of smiling at strangers without ulterior motives, the natural progression is saying the word ‘Hello’ <gulp>!

But, tomorrow, start with the basics and smile at people you don’t know. What a happier place this would be if we could.

Oh – and yes, smiles do make you pretty – they invite people into your lives.

January 21st: Seek and ye shall find …

FullSizeRender[1]Dick Whittington went to London on the promise that the streets would be paved with gold. Whilst the streets where I live aren’t exactly paved with gold, there is treasure to be found – if you just keep your eyes peeled.

I’m always amazed about the value people place on any coinage they inadvertently drop. Surely, any money is worth something whether it’s a penny or a pound? Those small coins added together, will help fund a little treat for a hungry tummy, or just top up the loose change you already have in your purse/wallet.

And if you really want to make that loose change go further, maybe do what me and my son and have decided upon this year. We will collect all the change we find on the pavements wherever we happen to be, and at the end of the year, double that amount and give to charity. I have a feeling that charity will be something to do with homeless people, as this has been a topic of conversation in our house recently. Their world is so far removed from the homeless, I think it will be a great lesson in compassion and generosity for them.

I know we get a little ‘win’ feeling when we find money in the street, but think how much more a winner you could feel if that money could be put to some good use.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, our little pot of ‘street-stash’ currently adds up to £2.40 – that’s just from the 1st January. We won’t be funding any major initiatives with our donation, but we may be able to fund a hot meal for someone.