Smile. Sometimes, just smile for no reason.
It’s strange how this works. Sometimes you need to force your body to smile before you can let your soul do the same.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. Yoga is a way for me to relax, wind down and let go of all the stress and negativity (and, of course, it’s a way of getting in a workout). It’s an amazing thing to incorporate in your life, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I’ll probably dedicate another post to yoga, someday soon.
Let’s get back to the point. There are moments when the instructor on the video tells me to smile. I can’t explain it, but when I’m in the midst of my yoga practice – already a somewhat meditation-like practice – and I’m told to smile, it’s like every part of my being smiles. It’s like waking up at 10 in the morning when you’re on vacation. That moment when you open your eyes and the sunlight just comes rushing in, filling you to the brim with light and love and an overwhelming sense of positivity and possibility. I know, it sounds strange, but that’s how great it feels.
Have you seen Eat, Pray, Love? Do you remember that part in the movie where the old Balinese medicine man named Ketut tells Liz to “smile with [her] face, smile with [her] mind, even smile in [her] liver”? However adorable and funny Ketut is, there’s wisdom in all this. Sometimes we really should try to smile with our liver, even if that sounds slightly insane.
So, here’s my recommendation: take some time out of your day to be by yourself. Don’t be online or strain your mind in any way. Just sit in silence (or as close to silence as you can get) and smile. It doesn’t matter whether you do it during your yoga practice, during your evening run or when you’re still lying in bed when you wake up in the morning. Show teeth or don’t – whatever floats your boat. Close you eyes and just smile. Just remember, when you do: smile with every single part of you; face, soul, heart, toes, liver and all.
“Close you eyes and just smile. Just remember, when you do: smile with every single part of you; face, soul, heart, toes and all.”
Like many other things, this takes practice. Some days will be easy and some days will be harder. There will be days when you forget or days when you don’t have the courage to even try. That’s life. Some days you’ll force your mouth into a smile and you’ll feel like an idiot trying to put on a mask that doesn’t fit. Trust me, I know how you feel. I’ve been there, too. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It will get better.
There will be good days when you smile and you feel like your entire soul and heart are opening up. It will be like they are soaking in all the love and light they can to fill you for the day. Like a power charge for the soul.
The more you do this the more you’ll notice that smiling and positivity become part of your routine. Just keep practicing and eventually it will come naturally. That, of course, doesn’t mean that after a while there won’t be any bad days. There will be. You’re human. You’re in a constant state of change. But while you can’t control all that, you can control your smile.
“Smiling and positivity [can] become part of your routine.”
During my depression there where whole days when I didn’t smile once. After a while I started to believe that this dark, depressed girl was just me. “This is just me, people need to accept me the way I am.” But they couldn’t. Because I wasn’t sincere. Everybody has the capacity to be positive and happy. We just have to let ourselves.
I believe that incorporating positivity in your life – and yes, that can start with smiling for 2 minutes a day – can become routine. Your forcing your face and body to smile for 120 seconds can start a little spark. If you keep practicing that little spark will become a fire to fill you every day. But it will take work at first.
Just think of it like this: if it’s easy, great! You are already open to love and positivity and you should definitely feed that. If it’s hard, at least you tried. What’s there to lose, really? The worst that can happen is that you’re somewhere on your own smiling for a couple of seconds. Sounds like a pretty good deal, to me.
So even if today is one of those days when you feel you have nothing to smile about, do it anyway. Smile for the sake of smiling. And when you smile, smile with every fiber of your being. Yes, that includes your liver.