The Little Moment that Turned Big – Part I

By Laura Lavigne

Some moments are huge, and they announce themselves right from the start.

The moment when we answer Yes (or No) to what seems like a big question. The moment we first hold our baby in our arms.

The moment our heart breaks and we’re not sure it will ever heal.

Other moments are just as big but they dance into our lives without any warning. We barely know they’re there until one day we turn around and BAM! Our terrain is completely altered yet it takes a little bit of looking back to find “it.” To find the moment.

The Happiness Sprinkling Project was not meant to be a Project, even less a Movement. It was meant to be a goofy hour of fun with a few friends.

In April of last year, someone posted a photo on my Facebook wall. It was an image of several people wearing bright orange clown-like outfits, and holding handmade Signs above their heads. The Signs said things like “You Rock” and “Go For It.” As soon as the photo showed up on my wall, people started commenting excitedly and it wasn’t long before I chimed in and asked “You guys want to do this?”

The answer was a resounding YES, and from the comfort of our own keyboards, across town and even a wee bit further, we organized what was to be an hour of us standing at a busy street corner in Anacortes, the following month, and “doing this.”

Still from Facebook, I asked: “What do you want your Sign to say? If you are going to stand on a street corner and broadcast a message, what do you want that message to say?” And within a couple of hours, I had a list. “You ARE a good parent.” “Everything is going to be okay.” “Sure, You Can.” “You Are Loved.” And more.

We were all pretty darn excited – you’d think none of us had jobs to pay attention to. This was happening so easily, I just knew we were going to have a great time.

Next, as I “designed” this one hour bit of fun in my head, I felt that to bring some visual balance to what was sure to be a wild group of Sign-holding peeps, we needed some consistency, something to tie us together. In the same way that I create a painting, I created the scene in my mind. And I saw that (1) the signs had to be super legible and all in the same font, and (2) we needed to be united by a color theme.

I called a friend who has a local printshop, presented my strange idea to him and asked him if he would print our Signs. Because he is who he is – and because this thing was ready to be born, he said YES.

Then I asked everyone to show up wearing bright yellow.

 

 

And that was that. A couple of weeks passed and on May 22 2012, we met at the corner of 12th and Commercial, at the very spot where people usually show up with heated political messages and we “sprinkled happiness.”

There was honking, there was waving, there was jumping up and down, and more than anything there was an extraordinary amount of JOY.

No agenda, no plan, just a bunch of people who together, had said YES to the moment.

Click here for Part II

Moments Contributor Laura Lavigne is a life coach, author and tribe builder. She is the director of the Anacortes Center for Happiness, creator of the Happiness Sprinkling Project, 90-Day Gratitude Challenge and Anacortes Happy Hour. She lives on Fidalgo Island and you can visit her at lauralavigne.com, and view her talk “Go For Joy” – Laura Lavigne at TEDx.

The Little Moment that Turned Big – Part II

By Laura Lavigne

Following our over the top, bubbly hour of what had by then been coined a “Happiness Sprinkling,” the twenty Signs found a spot in my garage. Where I thought they would stay.

The summer passed and I did not give the whole thing another thought. It had been good, we had some great photos and really, that was enough.

Or so I thought.

In September, a friend invited me to join her in Seattle to celebrate “Parking Day,” and at the last minute, I decided to grab a few of our Signs to decorate our parking spot. The day was fun and as we were wrapping up, I asked if anyone wanted to join me and wave the Signs, on the street corner. It was 5 pm on a Friday in Ballard, and I thought we would have a ready-made audience, maybe light a few people up.
And boy, we did.

Passersby joined in, asked to hold the Signs, asked to be photographed with them (a tender looking couple asked to be photographed holding the “Be You” “You Are Loved” and “Everything is Going to be Okay” Signs. They later explained that they had just dropped off their daughter to college for the first time and were going to send her the photo).

Happiness Sprinkling in Ballard, Seattle, WA. from anacortes happiness on Vimeo.

A woman picked up the “It’s Going to be All Right” Sign and when I turned to look at her, she was holding it straight up in front of her … with a tear running down her face.

It was surprising, touching and a little odd.

The next day, I woke up knowing this needed to grow and I sure wasn’t going to stand in its way.

A year later, here we are. More than 50 events have taken place in over 40 cities across the US and into Canada, the sets of Signs being passed on from one “Happiness Ambassador” to the next, like a never ending chain of awesomeness. We have “Sprinkled” in posh Sherman Oak, CA and in L.A.’s Skid Row. In the snow and under the sun… from wheelchairs and from baby carriers.

And every time, it is the same high, the same burst of deep, deep joy. Who “gives” and who “receives” is unclear. People meet, people hug, people laugh and people cry. Miracles happen.

All this because of a moment. A very quiet moment. Of saying YES.

Click here for Part I

Moments Contributor – Laura Lavigne is a life coach, author and tribe builder. She is the director of the Anacortes Center for Happiness, creator of the Happiness Sprinkling Project90-Day Gratitude Challenge and Anacortes Happy Hour. She lives on Fidalgo Island and you can visit her at LauraLavigne.com, and view her talk “Go For Joy” – Laura Lavigne at TEDx.

You are enough

FreeHugs
While I was was giving out FREE HUGS at our local Farmers Market, I met Besty. After a warm hug, she asked me if I was a member of the Happiness Sprinkling Project. I replied I had never heard of it before and had no idea what it was. She rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a small card, smaller than a business card that read in all caps, “YOU ARE ENOUGH.” Betsy then told me about this movement – how people gather together to sprinkle happiness on others – holding large signs, giving out small cards, waving, offering hugs….

How marvelous! More just like me, spreading a little love, a warm hug, a little happiness to anyone that will receive it. As I offered, I emailed Betsy this photo of her holding another card, this one saying “IT’S GOING TO BE OK.” In return, she emailed me back a lovely reply. I learned a little more about her, her mother and friends. We are connected. I hope to see Betsy again. For now, we have each other’s emails as a way to stay in touch.

An outcome of hugging and talking with Betsy – I joined the Happiness Sprinkling Project and am now a Happiness Ambassador [note the sidebar graphic, which links to the website]. Another outcome of connecting with Betsy , was learning of the HSP event coming up this Friday. I am going to participate in celebrating the anniversary of the first Happiness Sprinkling last year in Washington, DC,  by pass out life-affirming cards to unsuspecting people around our community – the hospital, nursing home, ferry terminal, cafes… wherever my feet shall take me. Others may join me. And of course, I will be offering FREE HUGS.

 

Besty-GoingtoBeOkay

 

Another outcome of meeting Betsy is connecting with the founder of the Happiness Sprinkling Project, Laura Lavigne. I invited Laura to be a guest blogger on my website to share her story, what led up to the MOMENT she decided to found the Happiness Sprinkling Project, and what has happened since she first launched the idea and inspired the first Happiness Sprinkling event – The Little Moment that Turned Big”  Part I and Part II. Check out the Happiness Sprinkling Project and schedule a Happiness Sprinkling in your community!

Yes, I AM ENOUGH…. and so are YOU! Come Sprinkle with us!

Laura updated me that she figured out the reason Betsy ended up with a card to pass along to me in Port Townsend when a Sprinkling hadn’t happened her yet. It turns out that Betsy’s friend ordered 25 little card packs, then proceeded to split them into 92 smaller packs and sent them out to many of her friends. Which is how Betsy ended up with hers, and me with mine. And that, says Laura, is “one of the gifts of this Project, the stories. They keep on coming… it is truly a Sprinkling.”