About Start With Helloing

Changing the Culture-

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

It was very exciting to see Stop and Shake in Yonkers Feb. 20th 2015! It was “just” an idea that the media and the police latched on to and we hope it is successful.

Success in this case means opposing the culture. Our culture has become jaded, closed minded, lacks mercy and forgiveness and walks in a societal malaise because of these things. We constantly demonize people for ideas different from ours and continually couch differences as us against them.

We have a horrific symptom in America we have labeled as a problem, police brutality has captured the nation’s attention. There are so many people who want to voice something, want to combat what is awry in society. Many have chosen the oppositional protest route pitting will against will, power against power, violence against violence.

As necessary as this may be, at Metabedu our world view of community and engagement, authentic conversation and mindfulness - inner work, inner calling leading to expansive outward expression is more needed. “Start With Hello-ing” taps into all of these things plus.

“I decided I had to do something drastic and aggressive, subversive and I did and I’ve been doing 15 or 20 years, I say “hello,” or “how ya doin officer, etc.,” I started to reach out.”- Cavana Faithwalker, Proprietor, Left Thumbprint Solutions

In an art‍‍‍icle in Psychology today, “The Power of Hello,” Sam Sommers cites saying “hello” as an area for self improvement identified with his university through student/ professor evaluations.

“This week's effort at campus self-improvement is a ‘Say Hello’ campaign launched With our new Office of Intercultural and Social Identities Programs. It's a simple idea, really: pick up a slogan button on Wednesday or Thursday at the dining halls or campus center, and remind yourself (and everyone else) to say hello to each other,” says, Sommers. He cautions the reader, “Don't confuse simple with unimportant... As I learned from my teaching evaluations that summer afternoon, saying hello makes a difference. There's surprising power to hello.”

“In the study "To Be Looked at as Though Air: Civil Attention Matters," published earlier this year in Psychological Science, the lead author Eric D. Wesselmann, a psychology professor at Purdue University, explains: "Because social connections are fundamental to survival, researchers argue that humans evolved systems to detect the slightest cues of inclusion or exclusion. For example, simple eye contact is sufficient to convey inclusion. In contrast, withholding eye contact can signal exclusion. ... Even though one person looks in the general direction of another, no eye contact is made, and the latter feels invisible."

Cavana Faithwalker of Left Thumbprint Solutions, says, "Since a child my relationship with police has been a lopsided power differential at best. I knew the state had given them authority and I knew there were a significant number of them that seemed to not like me, presumably because of my African American identifiers. What I didn't know was the power within in my thoughts in my tongue.Police seemed to constantly go out of their way to be rude, dismissive, intimidating, authoritarian, and standoffish. Was I scared and intimidated, yes, but what police don’t recognize I like many others was also, angry and rebellious toward their authority vis-à-vis their actions.

-I rarely entered any interactions with police in the spirit of cooperation.
Creating a hostile environment makes the environment hostile
and unsafe for all involved. So the police were making it difficult
to do their jobs and arrive home safe. They made it harder for them
to gather evidence at a crime scene. In some communities,
“snitches get stitches,” was well below, “we don’t talk to cops/pigs.

Well my demeanor and thought patterns when around police got pretty bad. Once on the way to a Cleveland Indian’s game at Cleveland's Jacob's Field (now Quickens Loan arena) chaperoning some kids there was a lot of confusion at a stoplight. The cop was waving one way and the light was saying something quite different, do we cross with the wave of folks just in front of us or do we stop, I thought, well into the crosswalk? I asked the officer on duty there in his “I mean to intimidate” mirrored glasses he faced me and said nothing. It was incredulous to think he didn’t hear me or notice me, I was four feet in front of him making… eye to glasses contact, but I asked again, and he responded as if I didn’t exist, and I wanted to hit him or push him or grab him. There was no fear just rebellion and anger and thankfully common sense and self-control on my part.

I decided I had to do something drastic and aggressive, subversive and I did and I’ve been doing 15 or 20 years, I say “hello,” or “how ya doin officer, etc.,” I started to reach out."

"To measure how people feel when they are acknowledged With others, the researchers had a college-aged woman walk around a well-trafficked college campus of about 40,000 students. The woman randomly chose 282 people and did one of three gestures: looked through them (without making eye contact), acknowledged them with eye contact, or acknowledged them with eye contact and a smile. After the passing, a colleague trailing behind the woman stopped the person she acknowledged (or didn't) and asked two questions: "Within the last minute, how disconnected do you feel from others?" (on a scale of 1-5) and "Within the last minute, have you experienced acknowledgment from a stranger?" (yes/no). This is all without the person knowing that the woman and her colleague are working together. The graph below from the study shows the results:

The people who were given an "air gaze" (or no eye contact) felt the most disconnected. On the other hand, the people who received eye contact and a smile felt the least disconnected of anyone studied. I wonder if you add a "hello" to the smile if it would lower the feeling of disconnection even more. Either way, it seems that even the smallest gestures to connect toward strangers can bring about a sense of community. And that's good for human health.

As Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary established in a 1995 study humans have a "need to belong." As they explain: "Both psychological and physical health problems are more common among people who lack social attachments. Behavioral pathologies, ranging from eating disorders to suicide, are more common among people who are unattached." Much of his comes from the quality of long-term relationships, but I'm curious whether seeing people often in a city setting and not feeling connected could contribute to this as well.”

The beauty of Mindful Smile Behavior

  1. it requires no agreement of the recipient for it to be successful

  2. no matter the recipients’ state of mind it has some kind of impact

  3. the effect can be cumulative Eg., the more you engage and smile at a person the more times they feel included, research indicates we are hardwired to search out smiles and feel a part of the pack however nebulous.

  4. one can do this as an individual in tandem or groups

  5. one can target a segment of the population

  6. one can target a geographic area.

  7. It can signal unity. Eg., There was one woman that was engaged who wants an alternative to militarizing her neighborhood contrary to the request of an elder who wanted a police presence at night while she walked her dog. “I watch her when she walks down the street to make sure she is safe, I don’t want police in here like that.” Then Start With Hello-ing. Open your door and shout, “How ya doin this evening Ms. X?” Would-Be felons now know she is being watched. better yet sit on your porch while she is out. See where this is going?

Several research papers studied the impact of being smiled at, of being said hello to but what happens to the smile giver to the one who gives a ‘hello’?

My own experience is that I have less stress I am more empower, less fear, more connection and in most cases my prejudice toward groups has to fight to survive against my experiences with those groups. I graduated from police to saying ‘hi’ to young people that see me as "old people." Just like I found out all police weren’t the same by saying “hi,” I found out neither were youngins’. I started with the rude, belligerent, n-word tossin’, pants saggin’ kids I’d see in Shaker, Cleveland Heights, Buckeye, Miami Dade county, Nashville, et.al. In my community many times I never worked so hard to squelch a laugh. They were just as leary of me as I had been of them, if not downright scared. They went from stuttering and putting their heads down to bobbing their heads up in hello, but not too much so nobody could tell and on and on. Now some of them say, “what’s happen O.G.” Is that a good thing?

Understand this is a contract with yourself these actions are not dependent on the responses you get. You are giving a gift. Giving this gift thinking, “as long as people smile back, I’m all in,” leaves a little to be desired.

Although often very gratifying there are plenty of times you get snubbed, or given dirty looks, or perhaps in a heavily populated area, eye contact is just the incentive someone you’ve never met needs… to bum some money from you.. on the pretense They’ll pay you back next time s/he sees you. This is a wonderful time to deepen the interaction cast the love-net wider. We'll say more on love later. For now suffice it to say love is not always warm fuzzies and getting along with your neighbor.

Want help designing a program or working out of your comfort zone? call us: (305) 741-3786 or email: Leftthumbprint@gmail.com

Additional source: At iheartintelligence.com number 8 on their list of life changing morning rituals is smiling in the mirror.


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