Meetup Spotlight: NYC Guerilla Love Notes
As a Community Specialist at Meetup, I learn a lot about what people like to do with others. In fact, a big part of my day is spent going through newly created Meetups. It’s always really interesting, but occasionally I come across something that really surprises me.
NYC Guerilla Love Notes is one such Meetup. Here’s an excerpt from their Meetup description:
Looking for those who want a way to hail + celebrate the good stuff and keep it going. We’ll meet up once a month in Bryant Park to craft + decorate notes, postcards and letters of love, support, thanks + encouragement for strangers, friends + family, estranged folk, those serving overseas, prisoners, our elderly, the super, the mailperson, the middle school teacher, the barista, the MTA driver. What’s a job you’d hate to have? Let’s thank THAT person.
Here was a community formed with the sole purpose of making others feel a part of a community. I was inspired! I joined and RSVPed to the next Meetup.
When I arrived, I found a small group gathered in the shade of some umbrellas. Jennifer, the organizer, handed me an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a handwritten card thanking me for coming. People introduced themselves, and then I sat down and started writing a letter.
Friendly conversation was sparked by Jennifer asking each person, “What’s been your favorite part of your day so far?” And an hour later, I’d made some mediocre love notes (not Jennifer’s fault), met some interesting new people (every borough but Staten Island was represented), and felt great about living in New York City.
I followed up with Jennifer after the Meetup with some questions:
Meetup: What do you mean by “Kindness is a boomerang?” Where did this come from?
Jennifer: I have a dear pal who would say “Boomerang, my friend” in response to a compliment or declaration of love and it always tickled me. So, I kinda stole it and expanded it. I think that love and kindness ARE boomerangs and because I’m a bit of a spirituality junkie, I believe that what you put out into the world really does come back to you to a large extent.
Meetup: What do you hope to come out of this Meetup?
Jennifer: Honestly, success for me was anyone showing up at all! This city is crammed with the busiest, most ambitious people and soooo much fun stuff to do and see 24 hours a day, I’m truly excited that anyone at all was into it. And that even one more person on earth either found a hidden note or received one in the mail that let them know someone was thinking of them and that they matter. That’s total success for me. One less person withholding love.
Meetup: I noticed you asked everyone at the Meetup, “What has been the best part of your day today?” Why do you ask that?
Jennifer: I ask that a lot of friends and co-workers in my daily life, because I really want to know. And it’s more interesting to me than, “Where do you live, what do you do?” I want to know those things too but I’d rather hear about the bright spots in someone’s day because it gives you a better sense of who they are, what they value, what they love. And by asking it, maybe it’s a gentle reminder for anyone to look out for more of the tiny but great moments that make up your days.
Meetup: Why did you start this Meetup?
Jennifer: I started the group for mostly selfish reasons. It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind for at least a year now. I’m a life coach and cultivating a practice of gratitude is something that I talk with my clients about all of the time. It’s a lot harder to feel crappy when you’re actively looking at the incredible people in your life and being like “YAASS! I’m so lucky I get to know you!” Or even as minor as “That one guy at the bodega makes my egg sandwich exactly the way I like it every time and it totally makes my morning.”
When I can shift into that mind set, I’m not walking the streets stony-faced and irritated every time someone ahead of me is walking erratically while texting or some gaggle of tourists have clogged the sidewalk with their selfie stick photo session. There’s a softening that happens and I can see people again. So it’s completely selfish because I feel better and I’m looking at everything through eyes of appreciation instead annoyance or indifference. I was also hoping to connect with like minded people around an idea that’s important to me. But it is for everyone too and the world. We can’t do anything ever without affecting someone else so I like the idea of being more intentional about it. It’s checks and balances of sorts—for every person I reflexively side-eye for body checking me on the subway, I can do something on purpose to create a nice moment for someone as well.
Thanks, Jennifer, for helping to make New York City a better place to live!