The happiest man I know…
The happiest man I know…
I met Mario at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. He was that guy that had a smile so bright it lit up every space he moved into even as if it were to remove the shadows cast by other people. As I watched him roam around the camp in Panajachel where we were preparing for the 2012-2013 New Year’s Eve festivities which included a Cocao ceremony, the 13 baktun ritual of the ancient Mayans, some amazing music and a swarm of awful tiny biting black flies, I could not take my eyes off of his bright smiling face. I must meet this person- he is quite possibly the happiest person I have ever seen!
After watching him for some time, I was finally introduced to this beautiful ray of sunshine. The first thing I said to him was – “Mario, you must be the happiest person I have ever seen on my journey thus far- what is it that you do that keeps you so happy?”
With that he grinned and his smile grew even bigger (as if that were possible) and then he began to tell his story. Mario is from Columbia originally but moved to the United States some years ago, and while working as a server in restaurants and as a valet parking attendant, Mario practiced his English. He then entered Columba University in New York City where he earned his Masters degree in International Affairs. But it was not these things that made him the happiest person on the planet. The thing that made his eyes shine and his tone change when he spoke of it was his current project properly dubbed “The Happy Post Project”. Could not be more appropriate for you I thought as he explained what he contributes to the world.
The Happy Post project is a social movement of sorts that uses happiness to create social change. You can read more about that here – and trust me, you want to take a peek at this simply amazing project. Mario and his team create massive waves and have been shaking things up around the world in a very happy way.
So later that evening, Mario and I met up again and he shared some traditional rituals with me for bringing in the New Year like wearing awesome yellow underwear (which he somehow was able to find some to share with us haha!) to bring good luck for the coming year, and eating 12 grapes while making 12 affirmative goals for each month in the upcoming 2013. And the entire time he had a smile on his face and a special magic that shined in his eyes that made me want to know more about this special soul.
I only knew Mario for a couple days, but I also knew something else- that I would be somehow working with him in the future. I told him this, and he offered for me to stay in New York when I was over that way, and after a smushy hug we said our “see you laters” and went our separate ways. Mario back to New York City, and me deeper into the jungles of Guatemala. But I knew our story was only beginning . . .
Check out more about Mario and his amazing movement by clicking here!
Also feel free to use the comment button below to share your thoughts or other stories about meeting incredible people on your life journey 🙂