they throw darts, you throw flowers

The world feels intense these days, and I am grateful for the little things. It never ceases to amaze me how simple interactions with strangers can lift my spirits immensely.

I was reminded of the words in this post’s title last weekend, when I bought my mom some beautiful flowers from Whole Foods. As I carried the bouquet on the bus to see her, I felt strangely, pleasantly disarmed. People around me seemed to smile more. An older woman commented on the flowers, and I responded that they were for my mother’s birthday. The woman’s whole being seemed to perk up. I should carry around flowers more often, I thought.

birthday flowers

birthday flowers

A couple of weeks before that, my city was hit with a big snowstorm. We are a city unaccustomed to snow, and walking up a steep hill early one Saturday morning, I passed several people shovelling their icy, slushy sidewalks. I smiled and thanked each of them for making it easier to walk, as many of us pedestrians had been slipping and sliding everywhere. Some of them, I could tell, were a little caught off guard.

Earlier that morning I’d been cursing the snow…but as I arrived at my coffeeshop, I realized I’d just had 5 or 6 conversations that I normally wouldn’t have. Usually I am wearing my headphones, immersed in my own world. It seemed the snow was showing me something very important. Look around. The opportunity to connect is everywhere.

After all these interactions, I felt really good. My spirit was flooded with a surge of energy. We might think that, in these heavy and chaotic times, we need big actions to effect change. But maybe the simplest connections are those that produce miracles. Who knows what quantum shifts might occur if everyone smiled at, or initiated pleasant conversation with, at least one stranger per day? Anything could be the tipping point.

They throw darts, you throw flowers. These words were repeated several times during a Landmark seminar I attended a few years ago. It’s easier said than done to live this way. It takes a lot to not strike back when we’re provoked. But with daily practice we might become more comfortable with throwing flowers in dark days.

And now I’m reminded of another Whole Foods moment. (Yes, I spend a lot of time there.) The barista making my coffee looked down and smiled serenely when I asked her how her morning was going. “It’s the greatest day ever,” she said. Her words were so calm, so quietly confident, that I really believed her. All day I repeated to myself, It’s the greatest day ever. And you know what? I had a great day. She had somehow convinced me in her undramatic certainty.

I beamed when I saw her a few weeks later, as we passed each other walking across one of my favourite bridges. Whatever she’d meant that morning, it had a positive effect.

Never underestimate the power of words in life’s most seemingly mundane situations…

I’m gonna go smile at a stranger now.

25 thoughts on “they throw darts, you throw flowers

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  3. Beautiful post Aleya, here’s to strangers and simple loving moments are so special to keep us forced on what matters. You send flowers I sent love bombs. I can’t remember if I told you your slot to be featured is 20th march… if you could send me your piece by email at least a week before. Thanks and love x barbara x

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  4. I think so often we live in our own world and don’t realize the degree to which we miss understand or how we constantly interpret what is going on around us…instead of wanting to be so in the moment that we merge profoundly with it….the imperative spoken by the Buddha of being present. A great quote by Anais Nin is “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” Out of this mind-think comes our stuff and it’s more about us than embracing the moment…and I can’t help but say that it’s in that moment that we can be free. The point I’m getting around to making is that is a soulful moment like this, the sweetness of the soul comes through so that even hard feelings and actions in others do not need to upset the Buddha cart as bliss squishes between our toes. Then for me at least, it’s all flowers. But it takes work or right focus to find this peace and make it solid in my life. I’m reminded by your piece that I’m constantly cultivating this peaceful state that isn’t just a neat idea but a way of being.

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    • Beautiful words, thank you so much. Somehow the world in our heads – the need to know/control/understand what’s going on around us – feels safer than what we do not know, i.e., being present, open, feeling safe. And yet it’s the world in our heads that causes so much suffering. I love the Anais Nin quote…we bring to each moment an entire lifetime of wounds, projections, experiences…and that is profoundly painful because it walls us off from others. But the sheer joy and energy I have felt when I’ve made a connection with someone, even ‘strangers’, shows that we all have the immense power to uplift each other, and this has probably never been more needed on planet earth than right now. Thank you again! 🙂 Aleya

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  5. Hey Aleya,

    Thank you for a gently stirring and thoughtful early evening read. It’s 7.30pm here in the UK and like most on a Sunday evening, my front door is closed, the curtains drawn and night presses silently at the window. For all intents and purposes the real world is now closed for the day…but not it seems the opportunity for interaction on a global scale! 🙂

    Might it be right to believe that every potential interaction presented on our path is intended but that the choice to take part and engage in an exchange (of energies) is down to our free will? One wonders what delight might come of a world thus engaged in a truer sense of community and interconnected spirit? After-all, we are one and the same, all drawing the same breath to enable us to speak in the unifying language of Love.

    May I also say what a lovely bouquet you gifted your mum 🙂 She must have been delighted to have received such vibrant, rich and sumptuous red roses….a beautiful colour to warm any heartfelt occasion of course yet somehow so beautifully contrasting with the purity of snow. It’s almost like a fairy-tale 🙂

    Hoping your weekend is the ‘greatest weekend ever!’ 🙂 Take care Aleya.

    Namaste

    DN – 18/02/2017

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    • Beautifully stated, Dewin – thank you! Most of us are presented countless opportunities for interaction every day and it’s so easy to become accustomed to our little bubbles. But perhaps the more we connect with others, the more we understand that they want to connect with us too. Ah, humans breaking out of their comfort zones – always a fun experiment! 🙂 And yes, my mom did love the flowers. 🙂 She sent me the above photo the next day.

      I am having a great weekend and I hope you are too! My birthday is also coming up so it’s been a fun February. Namaste, Aleya

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      • Thank you 🙂 I think you are right to imagine that we all have need to connect and interconnect with others…no-one is ever really an island unless they choose to be. Life really is far richer when giving (without expectation) and far cosier when one is the recipient of a warming smile 😀

        A Birthday! Excellent! 🙂 Then may I be one of the first to offer you in advance of such an auspicious occasion Birthday best wishes and sincere thoughts for a day truly blessed.

        And thank you, my weekend is gifted with all that I could possibly need 🙂

        Namaste

        DN – 18/02/2017

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  6. Thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom Aleya. And I love the words: throw flowers when they throw darts! And I’m reminded of times that I walked around town or the woods and shared smiles, flowers and open hearts with those I met along the path. This could be a perfect metaphor for life, walking along offering flowers of love to all we meet. 🙂

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  7. Great thought. Life these days had become so complicated and selfish that we tend to assume that ever stranger is a threat, an ideology I fail to understand!
    The word stranger has become a synonym of threat. A smile can make a difference and this difference can do wonders or like you’ve said, it can work miracles.
    Finally, thank you! While I was reading I was struck with a thought which I will try to put into words as my next post.
    And finally, even we are strangers currently, so here’s my smile! 😊😀😁

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s true, many of us have become very defensive walking through life. We may not even realize we’re viewing strangers as threats until we observe ourselves and our immediate thoughts, judgments, body language etc. And yes, that’s why smiling is such an immediate game-changer. Everyone understands a smile and oftentimes the automatic response is to smile back. It uplifts everything.

      I’m so glad that reading this post inspired a future post for you! Thank you! Big smiles back! 🙂 Aleya

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