You've probably seen a video of a flash mob on Facebook or elsewhere on the Internet, those groups of people who start singing or dancing to a practiced routine out of nowhere, delighting those who just happened to be in that public space to witness the amazinginess for a few moments, and then stop just as abruptly, re-engage their regular persona and carry on about their business.
The effect this phenomenon has on the audience is remarkable, me included, even though I'm watching the after-market version. It's an opportunity to see a miracle on many levels, and it affects me in that way every time. Knowing what Herculean effort it took to organize such an undertaking, getting people to show up for rehearsals and then the percentage of folks who show up on time for the performance itself--that alone makes something like this miraculous.
Another fabulous quality of the experience is the response of the crowd in attendance. Once it's clear what's going on and the audience can relax without worrying that something weird is starting to happen, everyone within hearing distance streams into the usually standing-room only viewing area, electronic recording conveyances of all manner begin to roll, and female elders and small children join in as best they can.
People stop whatever they were doing and focus elsewhere.
As long as the well-chosen music plays, whatever background noise was playing in our awareness--the thing that's been on our mind today, a relationship that's not going so well, the problem that we keep chewing on and can't seem to let go of--is suddenly dropped and completely forgotten.
It might even take a minute or two to recall what the heck it was we were doing and where we were going as we process what just happened back there.
This power of distraction that provides shifts in our moods and our perceptions is exactly what I teach my clients to harness and then brainstorm ways to infuse into their day-to-day lives.
Identifying the things, people and circumstances that delight, inspire and recharge us--I call them joy pullers--and then choosing to focus on them in the moments we are caught up in what exasperates, confuses and depletes us, is nothing less than the key to freedom.
Plain and simple.
And we don't have to wait for a seemingly random performance-art event to benefit from the relief we are looking for.
It just takes some practice looking over "there" for a moment longer than we have been looking over "here" for the snowball effect to start.
Here's a down-and-dirty exercise to try:
1. Quick--think of a memory, or a present-tense person, place or thing that makes you smile just thinking about it/them.
2. Pay attention to which of the senses your "joy puller" appeals to.
3. Now think of four others that fill out the rest of the senses, so each of the five most commonly referred to are covered.
Could be a song from high school, a delectable aroma from your grandmother's kitchen, etc., etc.--it doesn't matter what they are, as long as they are not borrowed inspiration, and they easily transport you from blah to bliss.
4. Write them down in an email and send them to yourself--right now.
When you stumble upon it later, you will get to experience the same delight and wonder that those flashmob audiences get to, only your hit of happiness doesn't have to end like theirs does.
You get to determine how often and when to connect with something that makes you feel alive.
And it probably should be happening more often that it does, correct?
We are really good at arranging for our kids or our significant others to be delighted on a regular basis, but not so much for ourselves.
And we wonder why we feel taken advantage of, crabby, bored, or generally disinterested; we've stopped investing in who we are.
Log in to your joy puller account and make a deposit.
Get busy becoming the person the perfect partner would want to hang around with, so they can find you.
And they will.