Picture the scene:
It was raining. It was blowy. It was cold.
What better time to go for a walk? I thought to myself.
That my legs nearly froze off is a story for another time...
Anyway, I was all pent-up from working too much, so I needed to get outside regardless of the weather. Yoga and meditation aside, it's my go-to antidote to modern life.
So I layered up and away I went.
A good walk for me is determined by how many people I encounter. More than 2, it's *way* too busy and I momentarily consider moving to a cave in Scotland.
So, I was walking along in the drizzle, joined a path, and over to my right, about a quarter of a mile away, there was a bloody great big group of people. About 15 all in. A crowd. A melee. A mob.
You can imagine my reaction, friend.
No, I didn't jump into the nearest hedge and run. I was a brave introvert and continued onwards.
The members of this horde were, mostly, small. Forever a big Tolkien nerd, my first thought was hobbits.
No, they couldn't be. Hobbits don't exist. And anyway, I've never seen a hobbit with a Batman waterproof and a bright pink rucksack...
Gotta be kids.
Ok, a less formidable beast, perhaps. I can deal with kids.
As I walked towards the troop of small people and their accompanying adults, and as they walked towards me, my monkey mind started talking to me.
Don't swear, Chloe. Don't say something really stupid. Don't start singing. Don't do a little dance....
Do all introverts have this internal commentary?
Anyway, nothing stupid happen. I waved hi at the adults and gave a big grin, the kids barely noticed me.
I'm telling you this tale for what happened next.
(No, I didn't do a little dance.)
One of the adults, presumably the teacher, stopped the group (I was walking away at this point) and asked,
"What do we do when we're out for a walk and you meet someone?"
I *wish* I'd been closer to hear their replies. In my head, they answered,
"Ask if they like smarties?"
"Tell them your favourite colour?"
"Show them your belly button?"
Anyway, I didn't hear...
But her teaching moment was this:
"We smile, wave and say hello!"
Hearing this, I just lit up.
There's so many walks where I've been all grinning and hello-ing at people I pass, for them to ignore me. AND I'M THE INTROVERT!
And then I get annoyed.
Why did they ignore me?! WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!?
Obviously, they just needed to lighten up a bit. It's all good.
And, after hearing this moment, I wished all kids were taught to smile, wave and say hello to strangers.
Ok, that sounded weirder than I meant it to. I don't have kids, but I remember my mum telling me not to say hi to strangers. There's probably a balance we can find here, no?
But you get my meaning.
If we lead by example, and smile at strangers, wouldn't the world be a better place?
Shit yes it would.
Donna, one of our members here, told me recently she tried this in London and it took smiling at nearly 30 people before someone smiled back.
What the fuck is that about?!
I don't want to live in a world where we're not kind to each other. Where we can't even be bothered to smile at someone. Or say hi. Or ask how they're doing.
Let's be kinder, for christ sake.
Whatever you're doing in your day right now, how can you be a bit kinder? A bit more compassionate? How can you find the love?!
Yes, even if you're communicating via email (corporate, overly-formal emails, or anyone signing 'kind regards' makes me weep into my chocolate milk).
Let's smile more. Let's engage more. Let's spread a little buttery joy over the toast of life.
At the end of it all, that's what we're gonna be thankful for. Not the money we're leaving behind, or the stuff, the clothes, the cars, the fake eyelashes...
Really, it's how we contributed to making the world a brighter place that'll count. For me, finding and spreading joy is how I know I'm #livingmybestlife.
Go for a walk and smile, wave and say hi to the people you meet.
This was one of TYR's email newsletters from March 2020. To get this sort of waffle in your inbox every week (ish), sign up to the newsletter here: www.theyogarevolution.co.uk/email-me