Pleasant Countenance

09/07/2013

There’s an oval mirror standing on my desk next to my monitors. It was originally placed so I could see the door at my back for Feng Shui but it has taken on an new purpose. I’ve found myself checking my reflection 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 yourselfI encourage you to try this 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 maintain. Just by 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!

“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, Finding Your Way Home
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30 responses to Pleasant Countenance

  1. 
    jalal michael sabbagh.gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com 09/07/2013 at 4:40 pm

    Lovely post.

  2. 

    What a great idea. Talk about instant feedback.

  3. 

    Yet another beautiful post, Gina. Blessings to you and all your loved ones
    Russ

  4. 

    Gina, you are a heaven sent angel. I really needed to read these words , so I thank you very much for this beautiful post.. I love the part of ” see what it looks like when kindness makes you melt” . An important daily exercise. Heart heart. Namaste, k.

  5. 

    What a wonderful and practical idea, written as always straight from your heart. I’ll be trying it 🙂
    Thanks so much for sharing this,
    Lucy 🙂

  6. 

    What a wonderful idea Gina! When I’m out walking (fast like soldier on a mission) I sometimes catch my reflection in a mirror or window and I look hard and angry! I’m not though, I swear! That’s just the way I look when I’m thinking!

    • 

      I too catch myself briskly walking past a wall of glass and seeing a fiercely determined face.. which is a good thing. I encourage us both to try on the idea of being a PEACEFUL warrior… walking in love, walking with gentle eyes, walking fast while still smiling, knowing there is abundant goodness and many valid reasons to have hope. I’m working towards being there 100% of the time, but for now I am pleased with incremental improvements. Hugs to you Diana! xo Gina

  7. 

    Love this post, and the fact that you are aware of Melodie Beattie’s wisdom as well.

  8. 

    lovely post Gina….

  9. 

    I love this post — and your mirror exercise. You inspired my blogpost this morning Gina. Thank you.

  10. 

    Sweet Gina, if we can’t be kind toward ourself we can’t feel compassion in totality without experiencing it in our own flesh… that’s why we trust Christ because he experienced it in his flesh. Don’t you believe ?

  11. 

    My dear, this is beautiful. Thank you! xo Joanne

  12. 

    This is so true. Becoming happy with who we are and letting it sit on our face for all to see is something to strive for. And we can do that from the inside out or the outside in.

    • 

      Wonderfully put! We can all do this from the ‘inside out or the outside in’ ~ Thank you for sharing! Being happy and allowing it to ‘sit on our face’ (I love that!) is much more powerful than one might think at first notice.

  13. 

    Thank you for your many positive and uplifting thoughts, Gina. Love the quote by Anna Quindlen – I’m a fan of hers, too.
    Jeanne

  14. 

    Oh I love this post Gina! I sincerely do believe that we can bring so much comfort and spread love and kindness with the disposition and facial expression we carry with us when we are out in the world. Our face and our smiles are the first messages of love we show to the world. I have so often have been so delighted by an unexpected smile or a kind expression from a stranger when I go for a walk. And how often such a small gesture as a gentle, kindly look have reached out and hugged my heart. I’ll go get a mirror and hang it in front of the computer! 😀 You are a gem my dear! Hugs, Sharon

    • 

      Oh how I love this comment! Thank you for joining with me in celebrating the loving power to be shared, and found, within a single smile. And when we can share the kindness of a smile back at our own selves, we help magnify these good feelings to bring that with us out into the world. I also like smiling when I am driving, and I find myself surrounded by polite and courteous drivers, as we wave each other in and wave our thanks to those who let us in. Smiles multiply by being shared. Thank you again Sharon for sharing your loving light here! Brightest blessings, Gina xo