Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Look Them In the Eye And Smile"

For me, it started sometime in the mid 90s. A woman had been abducted from Parmatown Mall, raped and brutalized then murdered. Our local Karate studio.. the one right next door to my gym.. offered an all-day Saturday class for women of self-defense.

The biggest tip I learned: when you are walking anywhere, look each person you pass or see in the eye and smile. It's a way to remember their faces, and it can discourage a small-time thug from choosing you as a victim.

I've made this tip part of myself. When I am out and about, I look people in the eye and smile. Last year I wrote "The Culture of the Path" on my other blog. Again, it demonstrated the importance to a society of looking each person in the eye and smiling. How else can you know that you've passed the fellow walker before and therefore must change your greeting?

These past three weeks I've spent time in a nursing home and time in assisted living. Many folks, to stave off boredom and loneliness, sit out in the hallways or in the lobby. Their affect is quite passive. So I again made it a point to look each one in the eye and smile as I passed them by. And like the culture of the path, I said "good morning/afternoon" to each.

Suddenly folks would sit up a little straighter; their was life in their eyes and looked once again like members of the human society. At the MILs hotel, they are beginning to recognize me; we have small interactions when I pass through.

So my suggestion for everyone along whatever path you find yourself travelling: make eye contact and smile.

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