It’s been one of those weeks. We all have had them, and in these times, I suspect more of us have them more often. You know what I’m talking about – you just feel kind of “blah” – tired, rundown, unmotivated, unhappy for no reason in particular. Call it the weather, call it the economy, call it whatever you want, we have all been there.
Driving in to the office yesterday I was thinking back to one of the greatest trips of my life. In the summer of 2000, Solly (one of my 2 best friends) and I left on a journey together that covered Arizona and Nevada. For different reasons, we both needed to get away, we both were feeling the “blah.” This trip not only became my true introduction to the passion that is driving in a convertible (another story for another day), but it was a spiritual journey of self-discovery. Trust me when I tell you nothing compares to the feeling of wind rushing through your hair, and brushing by your face, at 75mph on the open road.
After a night in Phoenix, we cruised about 2 hours to Sedona. If you have never been to Sedona, Arizona, plan a trip. It is one of the most beautiful, serene and truly spiritual places you can ever visit. From the majestic red-rock formations (take a Pink Jeep tour to be amazed), to Devil’s Bridge (not a well-known tourist stop, but a definite must-see & must-hike) to the Church of the Red Rocks (it looks like this church was created right along with the rocks, not built later – truly incredible), you will find yourself at an inner peace you didn’t know existed.
But this is not about a trip I took. It’s about a journey – a journey that started on our first night in Sedona. We stayed at Solly’s cousin Cheryl’s house – Cheryl was the epitome of Sedona – peaceful, spiritual and carrying around a pure calmness. Her house was set against some mountains – LOTS of open space. Great to just peer up to the heavens at night and stare at stars. Well as we settled in that first night, I needed to find something to read for a few minute break (yes, that kind of break). I picked up a little book – it was about living a life of peace, and finding inner happiness. Of course I scoffed –after all 9 years ago I thought I knew it all.
But when I turned to the first page, the message struck me. It simply said, when you are out and about doing your daily business, shopping, taking a walk, filling up at the gas station or dropping a letter off at the post office, just look and smile at everyone you come across and simply say “hello”. Never before did I realize the power that a 5-letter word could have. The rest of that trip, and when I got back home, I made it a habit to smile and say hello to almost everyone I came across. Sometimes I got a “hello” back. Sometimes I got a look like I was from another planet. And sometimes I just plain got ignored. But for those people who did reply (either with a “hi” or a simple smile), the payoff was priceless. Maybe I brought a brief moment of joy to someone. Maybe I reaffirmed the belief in someone that not everyone in this world is cold and unfriendly. Maybe, just maybe, I made someone’s day a tiny bit better.
Then I realized… My “blah” was gone. The world – my world, was all of a sudden just a little happier of a place.
Yesterday was my 4th day of being in a “blah” rut and I kept thinking about that one night in Sedona that changed my life. It had been a while since I was saying hi to people on the street. Everyone in this world right now is stressed; pressure on people is immense and the entire “friendly” quotient is down measurably (and obviously) to anyone who spends time in public.
So as I walked out of a hospital yesterday (visiting a friend who just had a baby), and my “blah” was in full effect, I decided to say hello. First to the elderly woman confined to a wheel chair being pushed down the hall of the hospital. She said “hi” and smiled brightly back at me. Then I met another woman in the elevator down to the lobby. Clearly, she was not having the best of days. I said hello to her as well and got that look like I was from another planet. How dare I say hello. Then lastly, in the parking garage elevator, I said hello and tried to strike up a conversation with an elderly man sharing the ride with me. He smiled but couldn’t say hello. He motioned that there was something wrong with his throat and couldn’t really talk. I made a little joke about people wishing I couldn’t talk sometimes and he chuckled. The elevator doors swung open to the cold, dreary cement of the parking structure, but suddenly I felt like I was in a sunny paradise. The man patted me on the shoulder, with a huge smile, and though barely audible, forced out “have a great day.” And you know, from that point on, I did. No more “blah.”
So as you venture out in your life today, tomorrow and the next day, and whether you’re feeling “blah” or not, say “hello” to those you pass. People may ignore you. People may look at your funny. But some may say hello right back. And if we all did that, wouldn’t our entire world be a happier, less “blah” place?
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