I have a 45 minute commute to my day job in Evesham. It’s a lovely drive through the countryside and I usually see something interesting, a buzzard or a kestrel, sometimes even a deer.
One day, not long after starting this job, I was driving through the riverside town of Upton-upon-Severn and I noticed a Springer Spaniel standing up on his back legs giving his owner a big hug. The owner was making a huge fuss of the dog and both of them were clearly enjoying themselves. I must have been grinning madly at them because the owner noticed me driving past and grinned back. I was so pleased and continued on my way to work feeling that all was right in the world.
The next time I saw them, the man gave me a smile and gradually over time the smile evolved into a nod of acknowledgement and a smile. Then one day he gave me a huge wave. Now I can’t drive through Upton without looking for them both. I’m disappointed if I don’t see them and when I do see them it totally makes my day!
This guy doesn’t just wave at me, he waves at a lot of people. I don’t know if they are friends, or just other commuters he sees every day. I wonder if the smiling and waving brightens up the day of these other people too. How amazing that he even does this at all! We British are generally so serious and reserved.
When my yoga students are coming out of Savasana in class and they come to sit at the top of their mats with their eyes still closed, as they open their eyes I always ask them to give me a smile. Smiles cost nothing and they light up the world. I’m not saying you should go around smiling at random people in the street, but just try occasionally acknowledging someone you don’t know. Give them a grin. See what effect it has!