Your Random Acts of Joy

MMJ_flowers6Via 100 Layer Cake

As you well know, I’m a big believer in the joyful powers of flowers. Giving or receiving, hand-picked in jam jars or formally arranged in cellophane, they never fail to cheer.

So when I heard about the launch of a new charity whose focus is flowers, I was particularly excited.

You know when you go to weddings or parties with beautiful floral displays and as you’re leaving you think: “Ooh those poor flowers are all going to get thrown away. I wish I could take some home with me. They’d look so pretty on my bedside table. And it’s not like anyone ever buys me them anyway *sniff*. So really it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I just took them…”

But then you stop yourself because you don’t want to get caught leaving your friend’s wedding with an £80 centrepiece under your party dress.

Well, Floral Angels are stepping in and rescuing those lonely bunches.

These fabulous florists recycle flowers from weddings, photoshoots, formal functions and so on, and then they create new bouquets which they deliver to hospices, women’s refuges and care homes. Amazing idea, right?

You can see one of the angels, Amanda, delivering a bouquet to dementia patient Jean below. Love those smiles.

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I had the pleasure of asking one of the other angels, Jules, a few questions:

How do you feel when you deliver the flowers to the recipients?

It’s a feeling that can’t be described in words, only felt and lived when you feel it. It just makes sense of everything. We are here to help each other. All is love.

How do the recipients respond when they get the flowers?

With joy and surprise.  We’re not looking to deliver the flowers to a reception desk; we want to spend a few minutes with each beneficiary to let them know that they mean something to someone. The altruistic “giving-back” side to the charity through caring for someone who is struggling or feeling alone is important to us and the impact can be profound for both the giver and the receiver. It can shake someone’s view that the world still cares about them. And the most beautiful thing about the process is that having someone show genuine compassion and care makes it likely that the kindness gets passed on. What can seem a small gesture – a smile, a few words, a small bouquet – can absolutely make a difference. [The joyful Revolution!]

What’s the best thing about being involved with Floral Angels?

The daily joy from doing something good in the world.

Why do you think flowers make people so happy?

We very much believe in the healing power of flowers and plants.  It’s been proven that when we unexpectedly receive flowers we receive a jolt of serotonin – the happiness hormone – and that, as we flower lovers all know, flowers change the energy in a room.  Florence Nightingale famously said that when flowers were present in a patient’s room their fever did not reach such high peaks.

What makes you joyful?

Personally, for me, it’s the daily things.  Eating dinner with my family,  a glass of wine at the end of the day, hiking with girlfriends, laughing out loud, The Covent Garden Flower Market, when the lights go down at The Royal Court Theatre, seeing my children work hard and succeed,  all those things but best of all when I turn out the light at the end of the day I know I am living my life with a joyful purpose and giving back to those who are not so fortunate.

The Floral Angels are Julie Ritter, Frances Hunter, Gracia Lafuente and Amanda Romain.

Such a beautiful idea. Find out more, including how you can help, here.

Spreading joy? Seeing others spread joy? Be sure to let me know all about it at: hello@makemejoyful.com 

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Your Random Acts of Joy

MMJ_Amy

I spend a lot of time reflecting on new ideas for Random Acts of Joy. If I were to prepare a pie-chart (depending, of course, on the ability to remember how to do one), thinking up ways to surprise and delight would be one of the chunkier slices. That and plotting how to make Pudding love me.

But Random Acts of Joy don’t need to be pre-planned. They don’t always need to come in decorated envelopes or involve guerrilla graffiti. Many of the best are, indeed, random.

This is why I particularly love the story of my friend Amy’s (she of the daffodil fame) weekend joyfulness.

Following a nasty crash near London this weekend, Amy, together with many other drivers, ended up parked on the motorway for most of Saturday afternoon. Given the horrible circumstances, the blazing sun and the tediousness of not being able to move, Amy decided to happy things up. Which she did by walking the length of the jam and asking all of the other drivers whether they thought Murray could win Wimbledon.

Amazing.

She facilitated inter-car sports debate, befriended small children (one of whom tried to give her his pocket money) and she cheered a lot of frustrated drivers.  As you’ll see from the picture above, she also danced.

Whether it’s a smile, a compliment or a full on pre-match analysis, we all have huge power to make an impact on a stranger’s day. In a matter of seconds we can leave the world more joyful than when we woke up. That power brings pleasure for us all.

If you’ve undertaken a Random Act of Joy or you’ve been a beneficiary, send me an email (hello@makemejoyful.com). It will be a nice distraction to wondering why premium brand, organic cat food still isn’t enough to win Pudding over.

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