Connect and Smile

I was sitting in the front of the bus with a few dozen soft yellow and pink gerbera daisies cradled in my lap.

As I gazed at these living works of art, I marveled at their beauty.

I have similar thoughts every week when I go to the open market in Tel Aviv and buy flowers to give away to strangers on the street.

This simple act of kindness has become a movement called Give A Flower, Get A Smile. The giving of a flower is used as a tool to connect and smile with other human beings.

Give A Flower, Get A Smile

Connecting with strangers by giving a flower

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How Playing with Flowers Affects Well-Being

“Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. ” Eckhart Tolle

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love flowers.

Peonies and irises

Peonies and irises -Sorin garden

I have memories as a child of my mother bringing cut lilacs, irises and peonies in from the garden, arranging in vases – playing with flowers for hours  - like an artist at work – until they pleased her eye.

She then would judiciously place them on the dining room  and kitchen tables and buffets where several times a day I passed by and inhaled their intoxicating scents and gazed at their alluring beauty.

Without knowing it at the time, these living works of art opened me up to the world of ‘wabi sabi’ – an aesthetic that perceives beauty as impermanent, imperfect and transient.

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6 Tips for Practicing Compassion When Dealing With Strangers

This past Friday, Valentine’s Day, I was on a mission to give away as many flowers as possible.

I raced to the Shuk early ( the open market in central Tel Aviv) to get the freshest and best selection of flowers.

It was just beginning to wake up. As I walked through the empty aisles, I thought about how different it would be 2 hours later when a sea of people would converge on this thriving, colorful hub of Tel Aviv.

I checked a few flower stalls and landed on one that was selling stunning gerbera daisies. I chose brilliant red and antique pink ones. What could be more perfect?

Little did I realize that within a few hours my day would turn into a day of  practicing compassion.

Gerbera daisies

Red and antique pink gerber daisies

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Give A Flower, Get A Smile

 In a society that feels more isolated and lost than ever before, we relentlessly continue to stuff ourselves with junk food – materialism.

Hoping that buying things will make us happy. They never do.

Give A Flower, Get A Smile

Think about how different our world would be if more of us focused on the stuff that matters.

Like Nature, Connection, Generosity, and Kindness.

What nutrition for our souls this would be.

I Have An Idea

I have a concept that I think could help us do just that.

It’s simple.

GIVE A FLOWER to a stranger that you pass on the street.

My daughter came up with a terrific phrase that I love – GIVE A FLOWER, GET A SMILE.

It’s a small act of kindness that elicits a smile and feeling of pure delight for the receiver – and yourself.

Over the past 10 years, a plethora of research has shown that flowers increase the levels of positive energy and moods, reduce the likelihood of stress-related depression, and help people feel secure, relaxed, optimistic, and happy.

I’ve been testing this idea on the streets of Tel Aviv for the past 2 months. The response has been one of surprise, lots of smiles, open hearts, joy – and connection. The video above will give you a taste of my experience.

I Need Your Help

It’s time to test market GIVE A FLOWER, GET A SMILE in cities and towns throughout the world.

Will you be a beta marketer for  GIVE A FLOWER, GET A SMILE?

This is what you need to do.

Buy 5 flowers and give them to strangers.

If you tend to be a bit timid,  walk over to the person and say ‘I’d like to give you a free flower.’

If they ask why, say something like “I decided that it was important to slow down, connect with individuals I don’t know – and I can’t think of a better way of connecting when we pass each other on the street then giving you a flower.”

So far, the majority of the responses have been heartwarming. This morning, one woman said that I had touched her heart. Tears were streaming down her face.

If someone passes you by, says ‘no’, shakes their head ‘no’, or looks at you like your crazy, don’t worry. It can happen. If you think of yourself as a sociologist or anthropologist studying human behavior, it can actually be a lot of fun!

Will you help me?

I would appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Different Ways of Participating In GIVE A FLOWER, GET A SMILE

I believe that by participating in this one act of kindness, of giving a flower to a stranger, you are making a significant impact on an individual’s soul and the spirit of the universe.

You are helping to make the world a more connected, loving, caring, and joyful place.

And isn’t that what we all want?

With gratitude and love –Fran

 

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Nature Delivers Benefits

Green space in towns and cities could lead to significant and sustained improvements in mental health, finds a new study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology.”

Being In Nature Is Healing

These were headlines that I read in the paper this weekend.

This University of Exeter Medical School study is validating something that we all know.

Nature delivers benefits.

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