UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

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April 2013: “Relationship wisdom from Flashmobs”

It seems everywhere we turn, we see more examples of Flashmobs – groups of people who assemble in public places to perform an act, either artistic, political, or social. See the below link for a flashmob in Sabadell, Spain performed to Beethoven’s famous ‘Ode to Joy.’ As you watch the video unfold, notice the element of unexpectedness and how it affects the crowd. What do you notice on the faces of the onlookers? How are they connected with the musicians and each other because of this shared experience?

In watching the video, note the unconditional gift that the flashmob bestows to its onlookers. The gift of music is free, there is no expectation of reciprocity, and it’s safe to say that this experience will linger with the onlookers for years to come.

We don’t need a flashmob or to do anything overly elaborate to delight and surprise our partner on a daily basis. We simply need to be present and give an unexpected gift without any expectation of reciprocity. Giftgiving is something that never fails to infuse gratitude into relationships and in some cases, that gratitude can spill over into a department, a family, a community, etc. As you practice offering gifts to your partner, what shifts do you notice in them, your relationship, and if applicable, in the larger family or community?