“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
Today I want to share an experience I had while shopping yesterday in the market. I’m often still amazed at where my inspiration comes from for my blog posts. More often that not, it’s in the simplicity of a moment, and in simplicity is such profound truth. I’m someone who moves through my life from the inside out, so what I experience and observe in my day to-day existence is ALWAYS colored by deeper meanings. So as I was in the produce section perusing my ingredients for my next pot of soup, I looked up and saw this tall, Black man. Being a passionate lover of other cultures, I’ve been blessed to travel to 15 countries (and counting) and I literally am a magnet for foreigners. Looking at him, from my years of African dance and exposure to people from various parts of the continent, I just knew he was African. Our eyes met as total strangers and he smiled at me so bright, so brilliant that he took my breath away and touched my heart. It was a smile from his soul, saturated in his being which he offered to me completely, without hesitation, and it produced without any effort on my part, one exactly like it from me to him. I told him he had a beautiful smile and as he said, “thank you very much,” I heard that distinctly African accent. It was a smile between two genderless beings, as it was soul to soul. It took us both to our essence and opened that portal to grace and gratitude, love and joy: the heart.
I was SO TOUCHED ALL DAY by his smile, by his offering of his heart to me through this simple gesture. I kept seeing it and experienced my eyes well up from the FEELING that was conveyed from his glorious smile. It became my inspiration to write and share with you about the deeper meaning of this experience and to invite you to explore what smiling means to you.
One of the reasons it struck me so was because it’s RARE to have someone smile at me like that. People do the fake smile thing all the time, especially here in L.A. But you can’t fake THAT. There’s a frequency, an energy that’s emitted when someone offers you themselves without an agenda, just “here I am,” fully and freely. It takes nothing really from us to offer this to everyone we meet. But we live so closed in our hearts, and afraid to be vulnerable to each other. And clearly for some reason, so many perceive smiling as an act of vulnerability. I suppose it is in the sense that you are revealing your heart for that moment in time. We are willing to have sex with strangers yet we are afraid to smile at each other. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a stunner to ponder.
So let’s talk about you. When was the last time you gave someone a big, bright blast of a smile from your heart? How much do you actually smile? And I’m not talking about the nervous smile or the fakes. Only the ones that light you up from the inside. Stop and think about it. If you’re one of those bad asses that think smiling makes you seem weak or vulnerable, or that it messes up your poker face and isn’t cool, it’s probably been a while for you. Does smiling make you feel vulnerable? Exposed? Or does it make you feel SEEN? My sense is that this is the big culprit in why so many don’t smile. When you do, from the heart and soul, you are saying “This is me and I’m sharing me with you.” It’s the Big Reveal. That’s what that beautiful man’s smile said to me. The vulnerability comes from revealing yourself to another. Again, I will say, why is it that we can have sex with total strangers but we won’t smile at each other fully clothed…
Diving a bit deeper, ask yourself why you’re afraid to be seen, why you’re afraid to reveal your heart through such a simple vehicle, and why you’re unwilling to share yourself with another, soul to soul, as you pass through the moments of your life, interacting with other human beings. There’s no real risk in a smile — except that you might just be seen as the gorgeous soul that you are.
I’m one of those people who does smile a lot, genuinely. I have observed in myself that when I am withholding my smiles that I’m usually hiding, withholding, afraid on some level and closed in my heart. It’s also been a test of my self-acceptance and self-worth. When I am loving myself, I am willing to share my big, bright smile everywhere I go, and after experiencing that man’s smile, I’m grateful to know that I, too, can do that for others with my own. He showed me the power of this seemingly simple gesture. As I said at the beginning of this post, there is profound truth in simplicity.
There’s lots of research on the neuroendocrine effects of smiling, and you can Google that if you want to know why it’s just plain good for your body to smile. But I’m concerned with the spirit of the smile and it’s connection to how we feel about ourselves and our capacity to generate love from within us to share that love around us. Imagine a world where we all smiled genuinely at each other. Imagine the amount of love and joy we would be experiencing. Imagine being willing to REVEAL your breathtakingly blinding beauty to each person you meet, to be SEEN and acknowledged by that total stranger or those in your inner sanctum in your life. That’s what happens when you smile from your heart.
I wish I had known that that young man’s smile was going to be the inspiration for this post. I would have asked to take a picture of his smile, to share it with all of you. But that smile of his will be with me for a long time to come. It’s burned in my heart, and was a gift to me. And in the most beautiful way of the ripple effect, it’s a gift to you as well, in that his smile inspired this post, and I’m hoping this post inspires and opens you. That’s the beauty in knowing that just one person can affect so many.
Know that you are a gift to every soul on this planet. Share that gift of you through your smile, each and every day. Don’t hold back. What are you saving you for? The world needs you, and we need each other, and if a simple thing like a smile can unite us and make us feel acknowledged, then what are you waiting for? I’ve shared one of my smiles with you today via my photo. Share yours with someONES today and every day. And reread that quote by Mother Theresa at the top of this post, carry it in your heart…and just radiate you!! :)
Much love and big, bright smiles,