Be Well Be Happy

“. . . If you smile through your fear and sorrow, smile and maybe tomorrow, you’ll see the sun come shining through for you. . .” - “Smile” song

What if our lips when they’re at ease were turned up ever so slightly in a gentle smile rather than straight across? All the time. We would look at each other and see subtle smiling faces. I took Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice a while ago and turn the corners of my lips up when I first “sit” on my mat. I added this “smile practice” to my daily routine. The result is amazing.  Just like when we relax the face muscles and the entire body breathes a sigh, so too when we smile to ourselves there is potential to feel lighter in the heart space. This has been my experience. Try it! When you’re feeling uneasy or angry or scared try smiling. See what reaction it causes within you. 

While I was driving one day recently, it occurred to me to do the “smile practice” and realized that I had to continue the conscious effort to smile, otherwise my lips return to neutral.  Then I thought about how peaceful the world would be if our mouths were in smile mode all the time. First of all, the smile causes a reaction in the body - a positive one, a good-feeling one.  Second, how many times would arguments and fights be averted because we couldn’t react badly to someone who is smiling at us? I have to laugh at this thought - imagining everyone around me smiling. 

It makes me think what we give off, we receive. Similar energies attract. So if we found some way to give off peaceful kind energy - the type that comes from inside - it would be contagious. I have seen this in action. The gentle smile practice is one way to soften in the heart because it causes a reaction inside. I sometimes have the smile going when I’m shopping or going around town and if I catch someone’s eyes, she/he always smiles back. What a beautiful feature of the human body. I am in awe at how our bodies work, what our bodies can endure, how our bodies can heal. Our hearts can heal too if we make a conscious effort. 

Exercise: sit in a comfortable chair or on your mat, draw the belly in and up so you feel your heart lift and spine elongate, then begin to breathe a little deeper and fuller. Smile gently. Imagine your energy dropping in to your heart space. Say the following over and over:  joy peace love compassion abundance gratitude. These are my six inner friends. They are company for me and remind me of the depth and meaning of my life. The smile, for me anyway, helps to soften my emotional being so these six intentions can find a home there. 

May you be happy. May you be free. May you be grateful. May you be compassionate. May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace.

 By Paulette Mancuso

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