It's World Smile Day :) Let's Play Ball!

Today, you'll catch me "Ball"-ing and Smiling - not Bawling and Crying!


At A 432 Life, we know life is all about balance - and, that's why we created our company logo as a modified yin-yang symbol, denoting that delicate blend of the forces of Life: life & death, sun & moon, light & dark and happy & sad.


You truly cannot live a Life or escape your time on this plane without both. As they say ... no rain, no rainbows.


Some days, we have to give ourselves permission to just let it all out … and we find ourselves Bawling and Crying. We can’t ignore the dark side of Life. When we need to grieve, we need to grieve. I am certainly not immune to getting down at times. After all, I am human.


Clearly we have all learned from the last year and a half since the COVID lock-downs started (and as the effects of the pandemic continue), that yes, there are hard times for sure.


As I believe there is a webbed energy that unites and affects us all, today, if every single one of us did our very best to dig down deep and strive to find - and to resonate with - our fun-loving and child-like selves ... and to make the effort to be "Ball"-ing and Smiling ... then with even just this one act of kindness, collectively this will ignite a positive start into the final stretch of this year.


It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.

~ A Christmas Carole by Charles Dickens

 

Last year, I also wrote a blog on this very same topic. World Smile Day in 2020 was on Friday, October 2nd. I shared that it was Harvey Ball who, in 1963, was commissioned by an insurance company to create a morale-boosting campaign . His creation was the iconic “smiley face” that we now all know and love. It’s like the McDonald’s Golden Arches. Crayola Crayons. They are indelible cultural symbols that are etched deeply into our brains.


Mr. Ball founded the first World Smile Day in 1999, two years before his passing. His Son, Charles Ball, runs the Word Smile Organization. A non-profit organization with the mission: "Improving our world one smile at a time."

 

I worked at a donut shop in the 80’s. And I wore this huge smiley-face pin, about 4 inches in diameter, that awkwardly weighed down my already non-flattering polyester smock … but I loved that pin. It was my flare!


I'm not sure whatever happened to that cheerful pin. I wish I still had it. But apparently, the universe was holding an even greater surprise for me! (wait for it ... only a few more paragraphs down!)

 

Also, in my blog last year, I commented on not yet having the opportunity to meet my grandnephew, who was born just before the COVID lock-downs. We live very far away, so there were only Zoom visits. (Rather difficult to pinch a baby's cheeks through a computer screen!) Though who knows ... maybe one day even that will change as well.


What also changed, was in August of this year, when Park and I had the opportunity to get to IL ... not only did I finally get to meet my grandnephew, who was close to turning two ...


...I also got to hold my newborn grandniece! Yes, it was me smiling ear to ear on this trip!


It was a true blessing to finally be able to re-connect with friends and family. But, as the balance that the yin-yang symbol represents, I also felt a gaping void ... as, this was the first time going back to IL, where I did not see one of my dearest friends, who passed much too early at age 51 last December. It felt surreal. Like someone needed to pinch me. Yes, unfortunately, this was real.

 

I was able to spend some quality time with both my Mother and Father. Another blessing for sure.


And then ... one afternoon, browsing in an antique store with my Mom ... I saw this smiley-face pin almost shouting out to me ... "over here, over here" … like a tracker on the prowl, I KNEW this was an OG smiley-face!



I turned the old pin over in my hand, and sure enough, it was definitely one of the morale-boosting pins from the campaign in the 60’s! I then intrigued the woman watching the shop with the story of the smiley-face, and of Harvey Ball’s legacy. She said “Wow, that’s quite a story!" Then she asked “Are you a collector?” I confidently replied with a huge smile on my face … “I am now!”


See you in the funny papers!


Shawn Elaine







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