Joy in Little Boxes: Free Hugs & Flash Mobs on the Hoof

Sitting on my supposedly screened-in porch with my nightgown wrapped tight around my legs to make it harder for the mosquitoes to bite me, I’ve landed in a little moment of joy. The temperature is unusually delightful (as in not searingly hot and humid, which is the norm for almost July), the birds sing and just a few minutes ago, I saw a lovely girl turkey on the railing of our porch staring in at us. One of my primary life practices is to remind myself of how much vivid life is around me all the time, and how just noticing can bring me back home to joy.

While mostly I find this sweetness in moments such as this, I also am moved and thrilled by some small gifts that come over facebook or email — little videos that show joy in action. So today I would like to share my favorites:

  • Free hugs around the world: See people in large urban areas, giving out free hugs to the at-first skeptical city-dwellers — a moment started by Juan Mann of Sydney — you can see videos from Japan (wonderful young woman who is so sweet I want to hug her immediately), Korea (where a brave young man opens his heart wide), China (where people are somewhat reluctant), Peru (where the hugs flow fast), Paris (where the hugs are passionate), Berlin (where the huggers seem to have to explain their hugging often), India (one of my favorite videos), and I especially recommend Hollywood (for its humanity, music and wild quirky edges — look for Yoda and Wonder Woman).
  • Flash Mobs Dancing for Joy: What appears to be spontaneous tunes suddenly performed by crowds in busy places is actually choreographed splendid, making art in the least expected places. My favorite is “Doe a Deer” being performed by what seems like a cast of thousands in Central Station Antwerp (Belguim), and there’s also the Black Eyed Peas and thousands dancing in Chicago, much to the shock and delight of Oprah, students and staff dancing in the college union at Ohio State, Scots dancing at Aberdeen Station, students at Washington State University, and a Bollywood Flash Mob in Times Square.