joy

Wonder, mystery, and surprise

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Processed with VSCO with a8 preset Do you like surprises? Good surprises, I mean.

Messages in bottles

Friends dropping by

Work promotions 

Letters in the mail 

Found treasure maps 

Clothes bought online that actually fit

The kids eat what you cook

Winning competitions

Surprise parties

Money in last year's coat pocket

Flash mobs

Rainbows 

Unexpected public holidays

The first flower of spring

Earlier this week I came across Surprise Industries, a group that is dedicated to creating and spreading good, happy surprises to strangers everywhere. Their simple mission is to add more wonder, mystery, and surprise to your life. Oh, I want to be them! Imagine if "giving surprises" was your life's work!

Would you like a surprise? You can sign up to receive one by joining "The Experiment" by Surprise Industries.

Banking on even the anticipation of a surprise giving you a happy little tingle, Surprise Industries promises:

"At some point in your life, we may surprise you. The surprise may be an anonymous letter, an invitation to a secret location, or anything in between. It might arrive tomorrow, 12 years from now, or never, but if you don’t sign up, you’ll never know."

The cost to join in goes up $1 per person for every 100 participants. I just took part, and it cost me a grand total of $3. Now, I wait. And while I do, it will be with the sometimes goose-pimply shiver of pleasant things to come...

Aaaargh! Heathcliff!

kate-10 copy This is actually happening! In Melbourne! And I can't even begin to tell you how happy it makes me.

What is "this," you ask? Why, only a gigantic, public group-dance to Kate Bush's classic Wuthering Heights, that's what. There is so much silly joy right here, it's palpable. These screen-shots are from the first dance, in Brighton in the UK, in 2013 (watch it here - I laughed out loud).

Since then, ladies and lads in red dresses and bad wigs have been dancing to Wuthering Heights all over the world and finally, finally this event is coming to Melbourne, on 15 July. There's an event page on Facebook if you want to follow along.

Flash mobs are so 2000s.

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UPDATE: I just learned that this will be a world-wide simultaneous event. Eek! 

Dance party

dance-2 I downloaded this (free) Dance Break app on the weekend and I was the 299th person around the world to join the dance party. The idea is simple: once a day, at a random time, your phone will bleep to encourage you to dance. If you agree, it will play one great song to get you moving and you can stop what you are doing RIGHT THEN and get up and dance... along with everyone else who downloaded the app, wherever they are in the world. It's a global dance party. It's exercise. It's exuberance. It's silly. It's joy.

Will you dance with me?

Image credit: Bảo-Quân Nguyễn, licensed for unlimited use under Creative Commons

Why I write letters to strangers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It is an odd thing to do, I know. But in case you're thinking I'm a bit strange (you wouldn't be alone) and you wonder why I spend so much of my time writing letters to people I've never met, here's a tiny sample of what greets me in my own letterbox, on a regular basis...

"Hello Naomi, You couldn't have timed your aerogramme more perfectly! My 90 year old dad went into hospital the day before and we found he would need surgery - at 90! I was feeling so blue but then arrived home to find your aerogramme! It was such a bright spot on such a tough day."

"Your beautiful letter was such a lovely surprise in my mail box this week! Thank you for taking the time to write to me!"

"Your package that arrived a few days ago just MADE my day!... I've been so inspired by your beautiful letters that I'd like to start a snail mail project of some kind here for the students."

"I want to thank you for your beautiful letter. Was a wonderful surprise!!! Really made so happy my day."

"Thank you so much for the beautiful letter you sent me! I was blown away by the care and attention you gave to it, opening it was such a joy!"

"I just wanted to say a huge thank-you for the beautiful snail-mail package that you sent me in the post. It arrived on a Monday and was so perfectly timed to brighten up my week."

"I was beyond excited when I saw a deliciously decorated brown parcel in my mailbox"

"Just wanted to tell you how excited our children were when they got your fantastic letters. My daughter is going to show her teacher..."

"Naomi! Oh your beautiful, beautiful letter. It arrived today! And what perfect timing..."

"Dear Naomi, I was trying to hide in the garden and weed the wild shady patches out of the blistering sun. My son was yelling with much excitement at clearing the letterbox. Time stopped! We gathered and sat on the porch, I held your magnificent letter in my hand. We studied the tangerine pigeon and slowly opened the letter. My Mum sat with me and my son, all sharing the moment. THANK YOU. It captured our hearts and was so filled with surprise and treasure. I have shared your letter with friends and I have begun to remember a time when I wrote letters often... Your envelope of joy reminds me of the simple power of human kindness. I think it's contagious (ain't that a wonderful thing!)."