December 29, 2011

Some time ago a friend and I were having an in depth phone conversation exploring the mysteries of life (or maybe we were talking about shoes – I don’t remember), but I do remember that in the middle of the conversation she bursts out with, “I really like to give people candy – handfuls of candy.” Taking a moment to get my bearings on where she was going with this, she then explained that when she comes in contact with someone, she randomly pulls a piece of candy out of her pocket and gives it to them. I half mockingly asked, “So, in the middle of a conversation with someone, you reach into your candy-stuffed pockets and offer them some sugar for no good reason?” She answered in kind, “Oh, I don’t have to be in conversation with them. I give candy to gas station attendants, store clerks, the mailman – anyone I come in contact with who looks like they could use a little sweetness.” “And why do you do this?” I inquired. “Well, they don’t expect it, for one thing. And they really like it. Their faces light up – and it makes me feel good too.” We laughed saying that it was only a matter of time before random acts of sweetness swept the nation.

And that, my sweet friends, is the topic for this week’s post: putting random acts of sweetness into play to take us into the New Year.

In the south we have a familiar phrase, “Give me some sugar!” In this part of the world, people know that this means, “Give me a kiss”. You might hear it from your mom, grandpa, auntie, or friend but it’s a given that “sugar” (pronounced “sugah”) equals a little love. A little love and a little sweetness is something we can all use. And whether we give it or receive it, we do really like it. And it feels good, like my friend mentioned, to watch someone’s face light up after a sweet exchange. When you consider all the “light up the face” moments of the holiday season, it’s exciting to think about ways to carry that into the New Year!

So, consider this your “sweeten the new year” challenge: Try for one full week to share some “sugah” – 7 days & 7 ways.

Your random acts of sweetness might be like my friend who randomly pulls candy from her pocket. But if you don’t want to take the literal route, there are many other ways to imagine spreading a little sweetness. Whether it’s sugar kisses or wrapped candy kisses (unwrapped chocolate in the pocket can be kinda messy) enjoy sharing a little love with those you come in contact with every day. For one full week, let the sweetness flow to those around you – lead someone from humbug to happy.

You can try these 7 ways to light up faces all around you, or come up with 7 of your own:

Day 1:  Happy New Year Sugah! Find a stranger and give them a piece of wrapped candy with a Happy New Year greeting. Watch as the sweet surprise changes their expression.

Day 2:  I see you. Give someone (friend, family member or stranger) a heartfelt compliment. Notice what they’re saying, doing, wearing, etc. in the moment and let them know that you “see” them.

Day 3:  Public praise. Go somewhere that involves a service person that you normally tip. Add a note with their tip and mention how great the service was. And then tell the manager or other patrons.

Day 4:  Plethora of post-its. In your home or work, take at least 5 post-it notes, write positive messages or smiley faces on them and place them in strategic places where people will discover the pleasant surprises through the course of their day.

Day 5:  Sweet snail mail. Send someone a hand-written note telling them something special that you remember about the first time you met them. While you won’t get to experience seeing their reaction, you know how good it feels to receive personal mail amidst the junk and bills.

Day 6:  Electronic enthusiasm. Offer to take someone’s (friend, co worker or stranger) photograph using your camera phone and send it to them via email. Look for a moment that you think they’d like “captured”.

Day 7:  Rinse and repeat. Repeat your favorite random act of sweetness – often!

Consider what this challenge could do for you. What kind of sweetness would it add to your day? How about those with whom you share a little sugah? I’d love to hear about your sweet experiences. Please leave a comment…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nichole Lupo December 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I love this! Reminds of a story I heard on NPR about people waiting in line at layaway counters at various stores and paying off the tabs of folks with children–complete strangers paying off Christmas gifts for each other! How sweet is that?! It got me thinking… Everyone seems so much friendlier during the holidays, smiling at each other and wishing each other good things, that I wondered how it would be if we were always that nice to each other. Letting each out in traffic, holding the door for each other, smiling and saying hello and actually making eye contact…these are things I try to do daily but don’t seem to be reciprocated consistently, except at the holidays.

But you’ve inspired me to not only not give up the kindness, but to amp it up a bit! By golly, I’m gonna spread some sweetness if it kills me.;) Ahaha! Thanks, Lisa!


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