An Exercise in Good Mornings

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in Happiness

Some mornings I am able to slip away, by myself, for a walk. These opportunities are not frequent and as such they are treasured. I head to beautiful spot and walk along the beach. The sun filters through the trees, seagulls dive for starfish snacks, and shades of blue are all that I can see for miles.

I am in heaven.

Although I am by myself, I am not alone. Other walkers accompany me on the path. We pass each other by, these walkers and I, and I note a curious thing.

Almost no one greets me or acknowledges my presence. In fact, most of my fellow walkers do not even look at me. They hunch down in their big jackets until they look like turtles retreating into their shells. They stare at the ground or the sky. They look everywhere but at me.

So, I have started a different kind of exercise to go along with my walks:  I look at everyone who crosses my path and greet them with a cheery, “Good morning!”

It is a greeting that is infused with all that those words have the potential to convey. Good morning, I see you. Good morning, do you see the incredible beauty of this day? Good morning, it is great to be here with you today.

Some walkers respond with a small greeting of their own. Some start the briefest of conversations about the weather – a phrase or a sentence. Some smile. Some do nothing at all. I mean nothing. No look. No words. No smile.

The ones who do nothing at all trouble me. For a few paces, I reflect on what their particular malady might be. Hard of hearing? Don’t understand English? Absorbed by their thoughts? Frightened? Unhappy?

And, then I send them a little thought wishing them a good morning, a good day, and whatever brand of goodness they may need. Because we all deserve a good morning. Even if we don’t know it.

I don’t know if my wishes make a difference for my fellow walkers. I can only hope that somehow their burdens are lightened – whatever they may be. I do know that it makes a difference for me. To see and appreciate those who walk beside me in the beauty of the day.

Wishing you a good, good morning.

Exercise your good.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rasheed Hooda February 21, 2011 at

Good Morning, Andrea!

I have experienced similar things on my walks and roaming abouts around town on many an occasions. I particularly like to say, “Have you ever noticed how people just shut up as soon as they get in the elevator and the door closes?” and everyone laughs and agrees, and a brief moment while we’re together, there is some life in the otherwise lifeless journey.

So, know that your well wishes for those whom send out quiet blessings to do make a difference in their lives,

Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts.

Rasheed
Minding my own business
Rasheed Hooda recently posted..Ye Olde Freedom Lifestyle Shoppe’

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Andrea February 21, 2011 at

Thank you, Rasheed! It just seems such a shame to me that we miss opportunities for connection through simple moments of shared experience. Love your elevator speech. :)

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Garrett February 21, 2011 at

I admire you for doing this, Andrea. And thank you so much for sharing it, and your joy and good wishes. When I greet strangers I frequently receive blank stares or sometimes the look in return suggests “you loser, you blinked first.” And why should I let someone’s potentially negative response deprive me of a potential connection, an exchange of smiles, a moment of shared humanity as you so wonderfully put it? Your goodness, positivity, gratitude, humanity, courage and strength are inspiring! Your description of the natural beauty surrounding you and your presence are also lovely. Thank you ever so much!
Garrett recently posted..But I havent got anything to say!

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Andrea February 21, 2011 at

Hi Garret! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. You’ve captured it perfectly – we deprive ourselves of connections that could be just the thing we were looking for, or didn’t know we needed, when we don’t engage. Thanks again!!

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Janeen Joyce February 21, 2011 at

Like you, I too love saying, ‘Good Morning’! It’s one of life’s simple pleasantries that unite us as people together, if only for a minute. Yet as you have stated above, it seems to be quietly fading away into the woodwork.
Why?
It’s so easy – it’ only two words?
I remember reading once that saying good morning to another person acknowledges that we recognize their presence, that we’re both human and that we share the same oxygen. It shows some humanity.
In this crazy, busy world that at times seems to be more machine (more technology) than human I welcome the words good morning with delight. I welcome humanity; the simple acknowledgement of another – so lovely…
So thank you for writing this wonderful post and for the much needed reminder of the great ‘goodness’ that comes when we say good morning!
Janeen ~
Janeen Joyce recently posted..weekend getaway BY INSLEE

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Andrea February 21, 2011 at

Curious, isn’t it? I’ve wondered about the “fading away” of this greeting as well. I don’t want to date myself but, “when I was a kid” it seemed to be a standard practice. A way of connecting with people oh-so-briefly. I hope we don’t lose it altogether. Thanks, Janeen, for your beautiful perspective!

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Carrie February 21, 2011 at

I like this post. I too find it curious about the different reactions people. What I usually do is I make sure I say it loud enough so I can eliminate the “did they hear me?” question. And then I usually laugh when people don’t respond (I used to take it personally and get mad so I view this as an improvement on my own response) because I think of how unnecessary it is for them to be trapped in such a gloomy space and how serious they are about staying there. It makes me laugh…the big guffaw at human nature (I get trapped there too sometimes). Those that do respond, often with a smile of their own and sometimes a comment, I have the delightful experience of sharing a secret….the secret of shared happiness and cheer.

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Andrea February 21, 2011 at

Carrie – I love the idea of a “shared secret.” Simply fabulous! Maybe we could start a movement…. :)

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