In my last entry, I introduced The Joy Project. Since that post, I’ve had several people ask just what inspired the sticker campaign; what pushed me from daydream into doing…
“The world is a crazy place” we hear over and over again. During my childhood, I watched the Vietnam War unfold and the Kennedy assassinations bring our nation to a halt. Some of the conflicts of that era were perhaps growing pains of a still young nation. We were starting to lose our innocence; and then with the John and Bobby- innocence LOST.
Together with family, friends and neighbors we healed our wounds and rebounded into the 70s, thru the 80s and beyond. Sure there was heartache and tragedy- the Ayatollah, the Challenger explosion and Iran Contra to name a few, but we had each other. Even at the turn of the millennium when the world stopped cold as the Twin Towers fell, we as a people rallied; perfect strangers coming to the aid of another, neighbors helping neighbors.
But even after all of that, never has the world seemed so sad, so hopeless; void of compassion and camaraderie as it does lately. Years of war and political strife accompanied by a government constantly on the brink of shut down compete for air time with school shootings that have become almost common place.
Now you may think I sound pessimistic or that, perhaps, I need another cup of coffee. But all of this is very real and it especially struck me this past September as news of the Kenya Mall Shootings unfolded. There I was watching yet another senseless act of mass violence; images of bodies and blood and women cowering behind department store counters desperate to protect their children. Why does this keep happening I want to know? And why has this all become so, well- usual?
Perhaps it’s because in this new millennium of ours we don’t lean on one another, we don’t gather with neighbors to exchange information or words of encouragement. Instead, we get our updates on the latest information from our Facebook feed. We obsess over the latest tweet. We are constantly checking our phones, yet not making eye contact with the person next to us. These atrocities are now just images. Images that will, in the next instant, be replace by new images on our feed. We have lost touch. We have lost our connection.
But I know and believe that each one of us can make a huge difference simply by making a connection; by taking the time to give simple joy to another.
I came up with The Joy Project as a means to do just that; as a mission to spread cheer, happiness and good vibes to all. Initially there was just a sketch, an image that emerged after a few days of doodling. Bright happy colors and the word “joy” encircled reflects happy, carefree memories of the smiley face craze of the 70s. Once the image had taken shape in my mind, I couldn’t help but to feel that there was more to it. Maybe I could actually do something? Maybe I could help to make others make the connection.
The concept of the sticker campaign is easy as pie (or should I say “fruit tart?). Place one bright and happy “Joy” sticker on a simple thing to share: a cup of coffee, a bag of nuts and dried fruit or a bar of dark chocolate- just make it from your hands and heart.
My hope is that the Joy Project will remind its participants- both the givers and the receivers- that we can all make this world a different, better, more connected place with modest gestures of love and kindness given from the heart to another’s hands.
Stay tuned to read about the launching of the Joy Project and find out how you can become involved.
PEACE & JOY,