Life is like a mirror, smile at it, and it smiles back at you. -Peace Pilgrim
I am working on a new exercise. It’s one for the face called a smile. I am cursed with the Miller frown. I don’t even realize most of the time that I’m doing it, so if you see me frowning smile at me and I’ll give you one back. I certainly don’t frown because I’m unhappy or miserable at least most of the time I can say that. I think I have a combination of things going on here one came from an unhappy childhood when I had something to frown about, then there’s genetics, and now age, when everything begins to sage including the face. Even now, as I write this, I catch myself going into that frown that comes about when I’m concentrating on something.
I remember the day I married Tom. I was smiling so much that by the end of the day, my face hurt. As with all exercises, no pain, no gain as they say. So, I read that the best way to do this exercise is to have a mirror nearby so you can catch yourself at a glance. It’s a kind of hard to do that. So, I’ve decided to let life be my mirror reflection. My smile is the practice, and your smile is the strength I gain!
It’s easy enough to get out of bed with the right intentions of making the best out of my day. But wait! It first takes a moment of conscious effort, to know what it is I want, before the wheels of intention can start spinning. But wait! Even more important than that, it all begins with awakening. “Smile, breathe, and go slowly,” I hear the quote of-Thich Nhat Hanh playing in my head. But just as my thoughts are written in a reverse manor. I would turn the quote around at the beginning of my awakening and ‘go slowly.’ ‘Breathing’ in the breath of life. Breathing out the whispered words of praise and thanksgiving for another day. How could I not ‘smile’ as my intentions of the day had already been set in motion simple through the awareness of my awakening.
Now the quote is put back in its proper place as I start the rest of my day with a ‘smile,’ and use my ‘breathe’ to keep my focus. I “go…slowly” with the intention of making the best of my day.
The work begins the moment I walk through the doorway of my bedroom. It is the world of distractions that I must face. It’s within the choices I make that my day will be determined. The first thought that comes to mind that starts the tug-a-war inside is, “should I turn the news on as I eat my breakfast?” My inner voice says “no”, my ego says “yes! We need to know what’s going on in the world.” I will refocus when I go into my sacred space after I eat, I tell myself. The negativity begins as I watch the news, read the paper, then onto the internet. If only I could focus on the few good things I see, but the cloud of negativity has begun to overshadow it. With coffee in hand and hope in my heart I head to my special room. As I light my candle to set the mood, I wonder why we humans so easily do the very thing we know we shouldn’t? As I try to quiet my mind for prayer I can’t get the news out of my mind. Like a wall across my path, its blocking my way. Entertaining the thoughts only makes it worse, “Breath,” I hear that voice inside me, but the ego wants to entertain all the things that make me frustrated, anger, and anxious. “Breathe,” I hear the voice again. Closing my eyes, I slowly breath in and out until I’m able to let the thoughts pass through me, and my intentions of the day come back into view. The ‘smile’ returns as I remember the focus my ‘breathing’ brings into play, and I’m reminded of how much easier it is to stay on track when I simple ‘go slowly,’ mindfully remembering what a gift I’ve been given today.