The Spontaneous Smiley Project is really about deciding to notice the world around you. For me it’s almost like a ritual; with intent I look all around me. It is something I practice.
I am a big believer in rituals. I could almost spell that richuals since they make life more rich. I hold my breath in tunnels, I touch a button as I pass a cemetery and when I step over a threshold I always step with the leg on the side of the doorway with the hinges. None of these acts are about superstition (Well, my big brother did tell me I’d turn into a cow if I breathed in the air in a tunnel and that the residents of the cemetery would haunt me if I didn’t touch a button. But even as a dopey kid, I knew he was pulling my leg.). All of these acts are intended to keep my mind involved in the moment.
It is so easy to become disengaged with our own lives. Why? Because our mind is busy rehashing things that upset us from the past and worrying about the future. If you have lots of little rituals that pull you into the here and now, it helps to turn off the internal DVD player in your head. Do you really need to re-play your most unhappy times over and over in an endless loop? Does thinking through all the possible outcomes, over which you have no control, going to change anything?
I invite you to adopt the practice of looking for Smileys as you walk through your day. Here’s to hoping it takes your mind off of your troubles.
Smile. Be Happy.
P.S.: True story. Once I was driving across the S.F. Bay Bridge with my 3 kids and one friend. We were all talking and carrying on loudly until we hit the tunnel. All talking stopped mid-sentence, simultaneously, as we held our breath. We emerged from the tunnel, and right on cue, we all started to talk again. My daughter’s friend, having never experience the silencing power of a tunnel was bug eyed, “What just happened?”