Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ideas to Grow - Balcony People

Sometimes you find an article that perfectly describes a belief that you have always had .... but didn't quite know how to say out loud.

Sometimes you find an article that describes an approach to life that makes so much sense .... that you say, I want to do that.

And sometimes you find both those things in the same article.

I could see the audience begin to rise in ovation as the full cast of Les Miserables gathered on stage to sing the powerful final refrain of Do You Hear the People Sing?
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.
I suppose it’s typical for an audience to affirm the cast of a play with a rousing ovation. What I noticed, though, is that it’s always the people in the balcony seats along the side of the theater who rise first and who cheer the loudest — whistling, cheering and calling Bravo!

I love the Balcony People by Darcie Harris

There are Balcony People outside the theater too. They are the people who are cheering others on, affirming, encouraging. They offer strength, courage or a simple kind word for no reason at all.
I think it’s sad that we live in a pretty snarky world now. Look at the tabloid covers at the checkout stand in any grocery or drug store. They exploit the most painful moments of people’s lives and shove that into our faces. We, in turn, entertain ourselves reading about other people’s failures or celebrating the criticism and humiliation that’s standard red meat for most reality TV shows.
And while social media has its plus side, it’s also become a place to complain, criticize, and condemn. That’s pretty easy to do, shielded behind the safety of our computer screens. But we don’t need to let ourselves get swept into this current of judgment and criticism.
Sure, there are people who get on our nerves, annoy us, people who do things we don’t like. But we’ll likely never know the pain or the burdens that brought them to the place where they behave the way they do.
We’ll likely never know the heartaches or worries of the person in the car next to us at a red light, the strangers we pass in mall, or the work crews we see mowing lawns.
I do know this:  a simple smile, a small gesture of kindness may be the only bright spot in their day.

A Balcony Person made my day

Last week I facilitated a strategic planning session. Sounds like about as much fun as diagramming sentences, doesn’t it? And yet, the day was not just productive but happy and energizing.
The day was happy because Max, the board president, was a Balcony Person. Throughout the day, he interjected words of encouragement, appreciation and affirmation to each board member and to me. His cheerful spirit made my job as the facilitator much easier and lightened the spirits of everyone in the room.
But that’s not all. Two days later I received a hand-written note from Max, saying, “You are tremendous…guided us masterfully…your spirit shone so brightly and set the tone…”
Let me tell you, that simple note made my day. I know there will come a day when I’m discouraged, stuck or just feeling generally miserable and I’ll pull out Max’s note to lift my spirits.
Max is a Balcony Person.

Two kinds of energy

The play Les Miserables is the story of a man who turned his energy from hating to loving. It’s a story of forgiveness and redemption during a time when it was excruciatingly hard to do the former, let alone achieve the latter.
Surely if Jean Val Jean – a man unfairly imprisoned, scorned and hunted for a minor infraction of the law — could turn his heart from bitterness and hate to generosity and love, we can do something as simple as shift our energy from dark to light. Surely we can offer a few words of affirmation or encouragement to a friend, a co-worker or even a complete stranger.

Be a Balcony Person (please!)

Give the gift of affirmation. You may never know the outcome, but your few words of encouragement or appreciation may change a person’s life.
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.
Take care,

P.S. Kindness is contagious

The best part of being a Balcony Person is that it’s catching! Your simple act of kindness or warmth will be remembered and passed on.
Here are just four of my favorite ways to be a Balcony Person:
  • I tell the cashier at the grocery store that I like her nails (those loooong ones, decorated with whatever the upcoming holiday is about)
  • I pause when I drive by a yard crew taking care of the landscaping and thank them for making the neighborhood pretty
  • I smile and say hello to the new person who walks into the gym so they will feel welcome
  • I always ask immigrant cab drivers to tell me about their home country and what it’s like there (they always miss it, and the families they left behind)
It feels so good to be kind! I’m sure I get more out of it than the recipient, because it lifts my spirits and brings joy to my day.
This entry was posted in InspirationalPersonal GrowthUncategorized on by Darcie Harris.

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