Smile, dammit.

Yesterday was a rainy, gloomy day. And so is today. Again. If my memory serves me correctly, every day in 2018, save for two, has been grey – with or without snow and/or rain. I’m pretty sick of it. But here I am planted in the Midwest, which means it’s to be expected that the weather will be rather dismal this time of year. At least we don’t have a foot of snow right now, so there’s that.

Anyway, yesterday while walking down the street coming back to my office from lunch, I happened to gaze across the street and noticed a man at the crosswalk. I did a quick double take because for a second I thought it was someone I knew.

Turns out it wasn’t, but that didn’t stop him from smiling at me. A real smile – teeth and all. Not one of those half-assed smirky smiles that says “Oh, awkward. We’ve made eye contact and now I’m gonna look like a jerk if I don’t acknowledge in some way that we’ve visually connected, so now I feel like I have to smile at you, even though I have no idea who you are and why you’re looking at me. Why do I now have to smile at you?” kind of smile. It was a genuinely friendly smile that said “Hi! Have a nice day!” from across the street, standing in the rain.


I smiled back. A real smile back. One that said “Hi back! Have a nice day yourself! Thank you for taking the most minuscule extra effort to smile at a complete stranger on this ugly-ass day!!”

I’ll probably never see that person again or, if I do, I may not remember him or realize we exchanged a smile on a rainy day.

The point is that two total strangers smiled at one another. And I loved that. That it cost him nothing, cost me nothing, harmed no one, and in fact, lifted me on an otherwise sort of ugly day.

Smile! Smile because you can! Smile because it’s free! (I’m trying to see how many exclamation marks I can insert in this post. Mostly because now that I’ve noticed that I’ve used so many, it’s making me… yes, you guessed it, smile!) Smile because it will make you feel good and because it could brighten up the day for someone who is having an otherwise gloomy day. Smile as much as you can because some day you may be on the receiving end when you’re the one having an otherwise gloomy day. And won’t that be nice?!


By smiling often, when you’re feeling good and your valve is open, and even when you’re feeling grumpy or sad – or even apathetic, you are raising your vibration such that you are creating more smiling days than gloomy days, and you are pre-paving a journey of smiles.


Go on. Smile, dammit!


Growing Pains

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
― Anaïs Nin

When we are faced with discomfort, fear, differences, or pain, our reaction is often anger, resentment, blame, or perhaps simply opposition. I am certainly guilty of this. We are, after all, human, and probably none of us is immune.

The next time you find yourself in a situation that puts you outside of your comfort zone, try to see an opportunity for growth, a new (or recurring) life lesson, or a different perspective than you have had in the past. Rather than immediately reacting, pause to consider this simple question:

Is my knee-jerk reaction simply a habit?

In my own life experience, I am trying (again) to retrain my human brain to remove emotion to take a fresh look at a situation with unbias. That can be difficult, especially when years of conditioning tells us a situation is “real.” In truth, our reality is often no more than a habit of thinking. We have the ability to change our way of thinking.

Instead of immediately coming to a conclusion based on my past experience, I can instead invoke free will, wipe the past slate clean, and start over. View a situation as new. I can reflect on the situation and decide how I would like to see the outcome rather than how, as in the past, I would assume it would happen.

Why is this happening? (again)? What part have I played in creating or attracting this? (again)? And, most importantly, perhaps, How can I change this pattern?

Learning from challenging experiences rather than simply “collecting” them allows us to grow and move forward. Just as importantly, our willingness to really examine repeated experiences to find a pattern allows us to break such patterns to create a new outcome.

The Law of Attraction is in action, regardless of whether we consciously use it. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in life and allow our journey to be directed by past experiences or what we’ve witnessed happen with others. We assume we know how it will all play out. We can instead live life on purpose! In other words, set an intention and plan the destination to create a beautiful journey. *You* are the director of your own one-woman or one-man show.

We are all students of life. Every one of us. Always. The question is, do I want to learn and grow, or will I keep repeating the same patterns and be kept behind?

While we are all humans, we are also spiritual beings. We’re on this earth not only to learn lessons, but also to teach. Sometimes the lessons are hard – both as a student and as a teacher.

I often find myself mindlessly going through the same experiences and the same processes in my daily life. And, of course, I keep getting the same outcomes. Duh. Old habits can be hard to break. But when we aren’t getting the results we’d like, new habits are worth making. As I find myself repeating lessons, I have become more and more aware of patterns I want to change.

My Sunday question of the day for myself: Which direction would you like to go?

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