Tag Archive | smile

Blossoming Holiday Smiles

be SO happyYesterday as I entered a grocery store I received a nice smile from a silver haired woman who was leaving the store. I broadened my smile in return and it was then that I realized I was already smiling. Just a small, closed mouth smile that softened my eyes and my whole demeanor, and she noticed. She offered a smile in return for my pleasant countenance.

zig ziglar - things u can giveAs I walked into that grocery store, list in hand, my smile was blossoming from anticipating all the holiday baking, meals, and appetizers this store would help me make. I was imagining my loved ones’ smiles as they enjoyed the treats I’d be preparing.

sunbeam smilesI smile because I remember my blessings, such as how I enjoy easy mobility, I have a vehicle and can drive to a nearby grocery store, and I have enough money to purchase what I want. I have a cozy home with a good fridge and stove with pans and utensils to assist me in lovingly preparing foods for my family and friends. Thank You God for every detail of my life. I choose to remember how blessed I am and to show it through my smiling face.

My heart beams with gratitude in remembering how blessed I am. It’s not surprising that I decided to buy yet another Food Bank hamper for the donation box, because in acknowledging my own blessings I am reminded of those who are less fortunate.

Okay, I may not smile quite as broadly as Buddy the Elf here, but I encourage us all to smile out our inner joy! It not only makes you feel better, it brightens up the world around you.

Additional Reading:
http://www.livescience.com/20578-social-connection-smile-strangers.html
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201202/smiling-strangers
http://professionsforpeace.com/2013/09/07/a-pleasant-countenance/
http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/04/16/the-kindness-of-strangers/

[With gratitude for the makers of these randomly sourced images]

Pleasant Countenance

There’s an oval table mirror standing on my desk next to my monitor. It was originally placed so I could see the door at my back for good Feng Shui but it has taken on an additional purpose. I’ve found myself checking my reflection on a regular basis and noticing how a smile on my face not only reflects a pleasant mood but also fosters it.

give up perfect be yourselfMonths ago, during an especially difficult time, I’d catch my reflection frowning or having an expression displaying inner hurt. I would gaze at my reflection, realizing I hadn’t noticed I was frowning. I’d choose to be gentle with myself, acknowledging the inner pain occurring, and then I’d soften my face. I could literally watch my emotions change as I let go of the hurt I was holding, and melt into gentleness. Gentleness with myself… my situation… my process. Taking a deep breath, I consciously release tension in my back and shoulders and look at my reflection with kind eyes.

Using this desktop mirror as an exercise to monitor my feelings has provided me with a source of great growth. By becoming aware of the expression of hurt on my face I was able to move through the pain of my heartache, heal more quickly, and let it go. Checking my countenance in the mirror helps me remember to smile… to be gentle. When we consciously soften our face and our features, even with the slightest of smiles, our heart and mood cannot help but follow.

The interactions with my mirror are always changing as my moods change through the weeks and months, but it is always enlightening. This reflection of my face has become a monitoring device, like a kind friend who tells you the truth. And the lesson I have learned the most deeply, so far, is that softening my features as I release previously unknown tension actually helps lighten my mood. It’s a validating lesson to that wise adage of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. This mirror-practice has helped me internalize that wisdom even more as I experience how softening my face with a smile actually brightens my mood.

be gentle with yourselfThis is a process I warmly encourage you to try out for yourself. Place a desktop mirror next to your computer monitor. Rather than avoiding mirrors as I used to, or only quickly glancing in them to ensure there’s nothing in our teeth, let’s take a moment to look deeply into our lovely eyes and really see our own reflection. And then soften your features. Think of something nice. See what it looks like when a kindness makes you ‘melt’. You can actually see the transformation.

While I am still working on doing actual affirmations in the mirror, or saying things aloud to myself, I feel like this is a step I can honestly manage and maintain. Having this mirror here I can conveniently look at my face, my eyes and myself with kindness. And even without saying words aloud, I can feel the meaning of the sentiment, “I like you.” And what a powerfully healing sentiment that is!
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Excerpt from Finding Your Way Home, © 1998 Melody Beattie
 “Take a minute. Change your perspective, your mind, and the content of your life. See God, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, or Muhammad touching your shoulder and saying aloud: “You’re valuable and important, and you’re on this planet for a reason.” Then commit to remembering and carrying out the special mission your soul came here to do.
You’re a child of the light. Feeling blessed and protected is beyond words, but words are an important part of the blessing. Tell yourself you’re safe. Move through life with ease. Remember how blessed your soul is. Ask for a blessing whenever you can, and bless everyone you meet.”
~ Melody Lynn Beattie

[My heartfelt gratitude to the creators of these lovely images randomly sourced off the Web]

Returning To Light

~ Happy Winter~Solstice 2012 ~

faith rabindranath-tagore

Quote by Rabindranath Tagore

May this be a tipping point towards ever-increasing light and kindness!

Living at the 51st parallel North, the Winter Solstice is an anticipated point of the year. At long last, the globe begins its return to increasing daylight. I feel my spirits lift for I know this cold, northern hemisphere is on its return trip towards summer, more sunlight, and abundant growth.

Yin Yang EarthFor us residing this far north, today the sun is above us for less than 8 hours, from 8:35 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon. This is less than half the time it’s above the horizon on the Summer Solstice, when it’s up for 16 hours and 33 minutes. I sympathize for those living even farther north. In the extreme north the sun doesn’t rise for a week around the Winter Solstice, only allowing a faint twilight between 9am and 2pm.

astonishing light beingAs I contemplate this earthly return towards the light, I also envision humanity’s spiritual return towards ever greater light within us all. This is a prayerful time for offering not only the light of our hearts during meditation and prayer, but also to share our light within through genuine smiles and acts of kindness. It needn’t cost a thing as we offer a compliment or a gentle word to a frazzled clerk or shopper. We can anonymously shovel a neighbour’s sidewalk or scrape the ice off their windshield. We can gently offer our arm to a senior traversing an icy parking lot or treacherous section of sidewalk, or our hand to someone who has dropped a bag. We can put up sweet posters on public community boards, offering quotes on hope or faith or joy. Our acts of kindness are only as limited as our imaginations!

light shines johnLet us turn our faces towards the light and our hearts will inevitably follow. Let us take even one step of action towards kindness and we become an active member of the tipping point of goodness in the world.

light-a-candleI will continue to give thanks for my beeswax candles, Christmas tree lights, and outdoor strings of lights adding cheer and warmly illuminating these long nights. I feel gratitude for the blessings that each day brings, but especially today on the Winter Solstice, I feel a burgeoning hope!

I will joyfully watch for evidence of the lengthening days to start appearing soon, as well as evidence of humankind’s active kindness towards each other. We can all do something that brings ever more light. I will do my part, and let this little light of mine shine. Namaste.

Additional Reading Suggestions:

http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/04/26/shining-from-the-inside-out/
http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/12/26-acts-of-kindness/
https://www.facebook.com/26acts
http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/35-Little-Acts-of-Kindness
http://www.366randomacts.org/
http://www.deliberateactsofkindness.com/

Also, click ‘kindness’ in my tag cloud Ideas Found Here for many posts on kindness!

Please note that all these posters have been randomly sourced off the internet.

Change The World

how to change the world

everybody wants to change the world“Love transforms people from the inside out, which is a genuine change that cannot be taught – it can only be caught by those who experience the love.

be the change gandhiIt may sound idealistic at first to most people, but that’s how we can turn the world upside down.” From fellow blogger Jimmy on his postHow To Change The World

Cartoon Source: Jimmy shared with me that he found this cartoon at Jay Bakker’s Facebook page. Other posters randomly sourced off Google.

Kindness, and the power of one person

John Quiñones, an ABC News correspondent, hosts the show “What Would You Do?”. He and his team of camera operators and professional, yet unknown, actors and actresses present what they call “Social Experiments” and film the reactions of the general public when presented with unethical and uncomfortable (or downright dangerous) situations. Here I am sharing two incredibly moving segments, each just a few minutes long, to help me in expressing the message of doing the right thing.

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Homelessness (Linda Hamilton) – It may be filmed in Newark, New Jersey but it’s a pretty good snapshot of all big cities. While just over 7 minutes, it is especially at the 4 and a half minute mark that it strongly pulls at my heart strings and fills me with hope and encouragement that angels truly do come in all sizes, colors, ages, clothing – you name it!

Add to that the fact that the (real life) heroine’s name is the same as the actress who I am a fan of, for playing the heroine in the first Terminator movies, as well as the late 80’s Beauty and the Beast TV series. Also she starred in a lovely TV movie called Home By Christmas about a down-on-her-luck divorcée who becomes homeless through a series of rather realistic misfortunes and has to re-build her life.

This video may introduce to us a very different woman with the same name, but she is as powerful to my heart as any hero I’ve ever seen in this must-watch video. 7:27 minutes.

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Lost Child – This segment is incredibly powerful and I feel it is important to pass along. Please note, there are essential pointers to remember when presented with a lost child and the first important step is to NOT move the child. You must never encourage a child to leave with you. You stay with them and call the police for help. If you don’t have a cell, you ask someone else, a passerby if needed, to call for help. You wait with the child and reassure them that you will help find the parent they’ve become separated from.

Those rules being said, please do help!  I was a lost child at a fair once, and the memory of the kind woman who helped me still brings tears to my eyes. She was like an angel to help reunite a lost child with her worried mother. A few minutes of your time can make an incredible impact of good in someone’s world.

A wonderful quote attributed (possibly falsely) to Abraham Lincoln is: “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”  He was an amazing man and, regardless of who coined this phrase, these are wise words. Their wisdom goes beyond assisting only children, for indeed we never stand so tall as when we stoop to help anyone.

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wrong is wrongRegarding the kindness, or blindness, of strangers, may each of us choose to be like an angel on earth. Let’s all make the decision to offer to help with every opportunity that we are presented with. Every urge we have to share a polite compliment, or offer a smile, or a hand to someone reaching for something too high for them, listen to that urge! That is our Highest part of Self calling to us, our Large Self as my friend Cathy Ulrich writes and teaches about. Our small self hurries past and ignores those chances to help. Our large Self however calls out to our heart and intuition, our gut-reaction, urging us to reach out and help our fellow man. Let’s all endeavor to listen to those highest callings and help whenever we can. It will make you feel better. And it just might save someone’s day. Or even their life.