Love is how you stay alive even after you are gone.

OIHM-1

I’ve been a member of the Orcas Island Historical Museum for a few years now. I joined after spending a weekend circumnavigating the Island by car to visit resort properties and locations owned or managed by members of my family in days gone by, as well as spending time perusing the museum archive files doing personal research.

Last year, I donated money to purchase a commemorative a brick for the walkway of the Orcas Island Historical Museum in Eastsound – Orcas Island, Washington. An act of love and personal tribute to my maternal grandparents and a dream they shared years before I was born. Leif Henry and Ruth Odell Erickson relocated with their four children, the eldest being my mother, from Bellingham to Orcas Island, owning and operating Waldheim Resort in Eastsound in the 1940s.

I had no idea where the brick was installed. As it turned out, their commemorative brick was part of the latest installation, which I literally stepped over following the path from the sidewalk to the entrance of the museum to inquire about it’s placement.

Although this engraved brick is a special tribute to my beloved grandparents, it brings a flood of memories of my summertime visits to the San Islands – vacations and reunions during the 50s and 60s with our extended family who still lived on Orcas. Several generations – great grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins beach combing for shells and driftwood, building bonfires, clamming, crowded together is cozy cabins, cooking meals together, cracking jokes, laughing, playing cards, reading books, boating, swimming, horseback riding along the lake…. Recollections that spring to life as if only last summer, reminding me how much I still love those who are gone, but remain so deeply rooted in my heart and fondest memories.

 

Love is how you stay alive even after you are gone.

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.