ontinuing our series of essays by Greystonians breaking on through these Covid-19 lockdowns, Andrea Splendori has begun enjoying life in the slow lane.
It gives us more time to notice the small details, the hidden depths, and those people we may have otherwise simply passed by.
Over to Andrea…
As I walked through town this morning, I crossed paths with a lady on her way back from her daily shopping.
She was wearing the surgical mask, the one that we have all become accustomed to.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t.
I smiled at her and wished her good morning.
She gave me a wonderful smile, a genuine smile that brightened up my day.
I could only see her eyes, but they were smiling, truly smiling.
It turns out that we can control our zygomatic muscle to make the corner of our mouth lift by stretching from the cheekbones… But we can’t control the outer part of the orbicularis muscle that pulls down the eyebrows, the skin below the eyes and raises the cheeks.
The real smile, the one that was hidden behind the lady’s mask, it is still visible and, in some cases, even more so during these weird months that we have had to ensue.
And is it because we have had more time? Less traffic and more movements constraints that we have learned , or perhaps re-learned, to interact with one another in a more civil and human way?
I believe so.
While having a coffee with a few friends one of the mornings, the conversation meandered to: Don’t you think the colours are a bit brighter?
It was agreed that the slowing down, enforced or otherwise, has allowed us to re-appreciate the small things in life, those daily occurrences that we had become too busy to notice. But as we do we recognise the beauty and the pleasure that we get from these too often discarded as mundane things.
As you walk down the road, do stop and smell the roses in the neighbour’s garden.
Enjoy a small chat with that same neighbour or make it your business to check in on the one person up the road that lives on his/her own. They’ll love a bit of company and a natter.
Do nourish those relationships with your friends. They are invaluable. Find your Anam Ćara and make sure to be one for someone else.
Do something that challenges you, something that always wanted to do – but you thought you didn’t have time to do.
It all feeds into your emotions, creating pathways to positivity that will help you and your community to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Through some of the work that I am doing, I can see more and more people taking steps toward a more complete and happier self and that in turns helps the community to grow in a positive direction.
Smile like you mean it. Masks aren’t going to stop us being pleasant to one another.
The lady with the shopping bags made my day.
Make someone else’s day, today.
‘The anam ċara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam ċara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul. Since the human heart is never completely born, love is the continuous birth of creativity within and between us.’
O’Donohue, John. Anam Cara (pp. 16-17). Transworld.
You can check out more Greystones lockdown tales from teenager Ruben Sweeney here and Archdeacon Edgar Swann’s here, and discover more about Andrea Splendori here.
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