Monday, October 19, 2009


For the last several weeks, many expat friends and acquaintances have mentioned to me how the people in the Metro live in their own little world, making little or no contact with anyone else. Faces are empty of all expression except for the frowns that might be plastered on a few faces. The
expats in turn decide it is in their best interest to copy the locals and block others from entering their energetic space, as well. Eyes undoubtedly move down to the floor and the cycle is continued.

Hearing this, I am compelled to put in my two cents worth. If someone jumps off the Eifel Tower are you going to follow them by doing the same? Of course not. So, why do so many of us feel it is necessary to be like everyone else? Instead of being a sheep following the next guy in front of us, why not take the course of the shephard and be a leader. Make a stance for change. Exude happiness.

"I smile while on the Metro," I tell the disillusioned expats. "Why?" is the inevitable response. "It is my mission to smile even when others don't smile back. Eventually someone will make visual contact and return a smile my way. This one person can make my day. For the others that don't notice or who look away, I figure I am their seed planter. I am simply planting the seed of joy in their lives. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Maybe I will start a trend and change the dark cloud over the metro into a sunny, happy place. It only takes one person to make a difference. Be that one person."

In fact, on one occasion I was gratified to see that my smile had changed someone.  When I first jumped onto the train, I sat across from a woman who appeared to be in her late sixties. Boy, did she look grumpy. With her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth pinched, I thought for certain she wouldn't glance my way.  I was wrong. She noticed my smile and something glorious occurred.  She shifted from a slumped position to sitting more erect and then it happened—she smiled back.  This woman instantly transformed from an old lady to someone who looked twenty years younger. She simply radiated and I in turn felt even more joy. It was a beautiful exchange, I shall never forget.

So, whether you are in a the Paris Metro or walking around the streets in your home town, smile at the people around you.  There is a reason for the old adage, "Smile and the world smiles with you." Even if they don't show it, you are helping to make someone's day.

Smiles for everyone!

Thank you for reading and bonne journee.