The Light of Smiles

(Meditate, dwell, and practice this daily)

            I will light the match of smiles. My gloom veil will disappear. I shall behold my soul in the light of my smiles, hidden behind the darkness of ages. When I find myself, I shall race through all hearts with the torch of my soul-smiles. My heart will smile first, then my eyes and my face. Every body-part will shine in the light of smiles.

 

I will run amid the thickets of melancholy hearts and make a bonfire of all sorrows. I am the irresistible fire of smiles. I will fan myself with the breeze of God-joy and blaze my way through the darkness of all minds. My smiles will convey His smiles and whoever meets me will catch a whiff of my divine joy. I will carry fragrant purifying torches of smiles for all hearts.

 

I will help weeping ones to smile, by smiling myself, even when it is difficult.

 

In the cheer of all hearts I hear the echo of Thy bliss. In the friendship of all true hearts I discover Thy friendship. I rejoice as much in the prosperity of my brothers as I do in my own prosperity. In helping others to be wise I increase my own wisdom. In the happiness of all I find my own happiness.

 

Nothing shall blight my smiles. Grim death, disease, or failure cannot daunt me. Disaster cannot really touch me, for within my soul I possess the unconquerable, unchangeable, ever new bliss of God.

 

O divine silent Laughter, be enthroned beneath the canopy of my countenance and smile through my soul.

 

I will try to be a joy billionaire, finding my wealth in the coin of Thy realm – ever new bliss. Thus I shall satisfy my need for spiritual and material prosperity at the same time.

— Paramahansa Yogananda (from his book, Metaphysical Meditations)

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 Faith: My Adams Morgan apartment filled with friends visiting and I, began our morning with a smile, and plan to continue until our eyes close tonight as an exciting internal adventure. Are you smiling enough? What I notice about the people around me is when I smile at them, they smile back! And what I notice about my feeling inside is joy, making it impossible to clench or grind one’s teeth.

 

In preparation for bringing in my 35th year in the greatest state of joy and well-being, I am designing a multi-tiered plan to carry me through mid-September, initiating a new type of school year. This plan ties in mindset, active meditation (such as consciously smiling), movement, healthy eating habits, and the ever so essential rest.

 

We have all seen the different kinds of smiles. To give a glimpse into the wonderful book, The Definitive Book of Body Language, by Allan and Barbara Pease, here are five types of smiles you may recognize.

 

The Tight-Lipped Smile: When the lips are stretched tight across the teeth to form a straight line. This smile often conveys the smiler knows something, and is basking in the light of being the only one, or one of the few to know it. Women may use this smile more often, and the nature of concealing the smile might be to avoid conveying the smiler’s true feelings of dislike or disinterest.

 

The Twisted Half-Smile: One side curves up like a normal happy smile, and the other curves down, to form an “S”-shaped or diagonal line across the face. The smiler may look mischievous or sarcastic, depending on how the rest of the face appears (i.e. eyes, tone of voice, body language, etc.), and depending on the context.

 

The Drop-Jaw Smile: The lower jaw-bone is dropped to part the lips slightly and the edges of the mouth are turned up to portray outward happiness. This smile can give an animated appearance, and may be observed more in men who are trying to give off a warmer presence.

 

The Side-Ways Look-Up Smile: The mouth is in a slightly restrained, but showing some teeth, smile. With the eyes cast off to the side, as if to direct ones attention elsewhere, but a good one captivates the curious onlooker to stop at and stare at the smiler. The coyest of smiles, which may be used by women as an attraction mechanism.

 

The Grin: Toothy, smile-wrinkles showing, and eyes squinted, from the face making room for this big smile. It is often paired with true happiness and/or laughter. The most genuine and straight-forward of smiles to shine your inner happiness out for the world to see.

            A memory that inspires me to smile, was when one of my first friends I met in high school, and still one of my closest friends in DC, Freddy, and I took off for an adventure to Costa Rica. Planes, trains, automobiles, and boats later, we arrived in the beautiful Malpaís. Malpaís translates from Spanish to the badlands, yet it’s the polar opposite of a badland. It is a wanderlust paradise for surfers and explorers.

           

(Faith and surf-camp dog)

            One afternoon, Freddy and I rented a four-wheeler and took off for a hike in Cabo Blanco National Park. Because it was already late-afternoon, a ranger emphasized that we absolutely must complete the hike within four hours to avoid the wildlife, including the wildcats, which come out after dark. The ranger shared it would be an easy hike, and with that, we took off with only one bottle of water ready for a short adventure.

 

(Stairway to Heaven)

We hiked through the mountains to the ocean, and about a half hour in, we had already finished our lone bottle of water. Once we finally reached the beach, we were so thirsty and hungry! To cope with our lack of food, Freddy had a great idea to climb an almond tree, knock down the almond fruit, crack it open, and only produce one or two slim almonds. I’m sure he burned more energy trying get the food than we gained from eating the almonds.

 

(Freddy cooling down)

“What do we do?” we thought, as we faced a turning point in the “fun” hike we thought we were embarking upon. We decided the only thing to do was to smile! We started out with conscious smiles, which spontaneously turned into laughter, then hysterical laughter, and although we were hungry, thirsty, and envisioning the wildcats coming out to eat us, we laughed our way all the way back to our home base.

(mud, mud, and more mud)

We returned in a timely manner back to the ranger four hours later. We thanked him while still extremely slap-stick silly. He could have prepared us first timers a little better on the trail necessities, such as food, water, etc., but at least we made him smile, whether his smile came from the hilarity of seeing two unprepared hikers return from an extreme hike, or from passing on our good-spirited smiles.

 

The adventure didn’t stop there. We chose to take the rugged short-cuts back home, against the local suggestions, encouraged by our newly expanded adventurous spirits. Through rivers, mud, over small cliffs, and at points Freddy preserved me by getting me off the four-wheeler, so to spare me from falling into a huge crack that looked like it went to the center of earth!

 

(Ocean Outlook)

I might as well have been planking! (Planking: a shameless reference to a pop-culture phenomenon, search online further it if you must.)Needless to say, we were covered in mud, sweat and tears, when we got back. So muddy in fact, I was covered up to my knees! We got back to the surfers we were hanging out with during the week and they had a good laugh when they saw us. My helmet was hanging off of my head, I had a hole in my shoe, and we were both exhausted, yet still smiling and happy to have had a great time even through the unexpected along the way.

 

(Freddy ready for a night out)

’08 was celebrated and brought to a grand finale in St. Johns in the US Virgin Islands with a spectacular view of the new moon in a breathtaking crescent shape with Venus shining by her side. What a site to see!
I flew down to set sail with one of the men I admire the most, Richard T., on his 50ft. Hinckley. From the moment we landed I recognized this would be an experience of a lifetime. Not only did the sky light our way in but, the fireworks show could have easily competed with the experience of July 4th in Washington DC on the Potomac River. Needless to say it was impressive, especially for a city girl in the Islands.
I set out on this adventure with clear intention. The plan was to step out of my daily activity, look in from the outside and come back in with a crystal clear perspective. And, what better way to do that than on the Caribbean Sea. Something magical happens when we look in from the outside. We somehow remove the blind spots and have the ability to see everything around us. As I look through the kaleidoscope of my own life I’m blown away at what I can see or even more what I haven’t been seeing.sailing-bvi1
As we sail from the USVI – US Virgin Islands through the BVI – British Virgin Islands and move around this glorious boat like sea monkeys I can’t help but be mesmerized by the muscles needed on a boat. And, how little we use our entire body in daily life.
On a sailboat, much like any course of action, it makes a wonderful difference to have a map and navigational tools. Yet, one of the interesting things about the body is we weren’t born with maps nor tools. This journey on the high seas will begin a series of lessons on what we’ll call the ‘Body Map’. What is the map of our body?

The darkness that surrounds us is like shades of grey. As children when something looks dark we back up and move away. Yet, as adults we often step in for more. My question always is, “Why?”

This leads me to a beautiful healing session with my dear friend and Acupuncturist, Anjali Hasija. Healing happens for children when they gravitate toward the light and away from the darkness. For Anjali and I healing occurs through ceremony and ritual we share from an ancient medicine path from an Indigenous Quechua Tribe in Peru. As everything in life it’s our relationships that open such extraordinary doors to know such people. A Medical Anthropologist, Philanthropist and Teacher we studied with, Alberto Villoldo, connected us with the tribe and their ancient wisdom of the Earth from Inca times.

This morning I facilitated a healing ceremony known as an Illumination with Anjali. It is exactly what it sounds like, to illuminate, is to brighten with light. We opened our session with a prayer including the Elements of the Earth and the Archetypes of the Incas. Within seconds all I could see, feel and sense were clouds of grey. Then, in swooped the image of the Eagle. In Animal Medicine/Totem – the eagle has the ability to teach us to see from above, to bear witness to that which we cannot see, when we’re in the middle of it. As a Healer and Teacher, Anjali does this for others and too, needs it done for her. We invited the Eagle to soar in with her knowledge and brush away the grey darkness with her strong, elegant feathers. The closest image is that of dust being gathered with particles flying everywhere. As we allowed Eagle to brush the particles out of Anjali’s energy body and down to Mother Earth, Gaia, rays of sunlight poured in. The light opened her heart like a funnel pouring out the poison she was holding in, holding in without awareness of it even being there. It was like watching water from a fire hydrant shoot straight up into the air, and then down, flooding the streets. The wild aspects of this image where the color of the water and the change as it hit the ground. The water started out slate gray and gradually turned blue like the color of the Caribbean Sea. And, as it hit the ground it disappeared into the earth. All that was left were the beautiful green blades of grass as if they had never been touched. We were surrounded by sunlight after the flood gates cleared.

Much like the emotional body that moves in waves and colors all we could see pouring through her body where colors of the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and a soft violet white light flooded her entire being; her emotional, mental, intellectual and energetic bodies where vibrant and colorful like the most beautiful rainbow you’ve ever seen. Within seconds we could breathe again. It was as if we could exhale for the first time and the inhale in was literally a breathe of fresh air.

My friend John met a women in line at Starbucks. We’re going to call her ‘The Phoenix’, because during the session she rose from the ashes.

When I answered the door, it was like she wasn’t even there. I thought where is the woman inside of this beautiful body? I had her stand in the mirror to see what in the world was going on. When she stood I noticed her feet were parallel, and her left foot was rolled out without even the big toe or inside of the foot touching the ground. She explained how she had sprained her ankle recently and how this was one of many injuries from sprains to broken bones she had over the last 20+ years.

When a person is standing parallel they’re standing in the outside of their body. It’s literally bracing. When people brace it means they’re holding on for dear life, afraid that something terrible may happen. It tightens the muscles and pushes the joints to extremes even wearing down cartilage. It also throws the body out of balance as most clearly evident here. She had been using the exterior of her body and predominately the left side for so long that she was extremely off balance.

When I had her walk backward and forward I could feel the constant state of anxiety. She was moving as if she were made of tin, stiff and brittle. I asked her to walk back and forth allowing her body and arms to swing freely, like a Tango dancer’s beautiful and fluid baleo.

By the end of the session she was bright, powerful, beautiful and strong. She’s going to be looking into Argentine Tango lessons in the near future. Tango is known as ‘The Walk’ of passion!

Natalia is a beautiful and enchanting singer who was in the States from Argentina to record an album and perform. When she arrived she lost her voice and couldn’t get rid of a terrible sore throat for weeks. She had tried everything from foods, to doctors and medicine, nothing worked.

The record label had heard there was a Medicine Woman across the street through a former manager (Who’s an incredible man). When she walked in I met an Angel with wings. I imaged being in her body becoming narrower and elongated with wings that could spread and fly. I asked her if she had any other physical ailments. She said yes, I have scoliosis (I believe that the spine is the antennae of the body). As I mirrored the twist and turn of her spine I felt the interference in my own reception as a reflection of hers.

I felt the Archetype of the Serpent. Then, almost immediately an image of a serpent entwined around a staff appeared. This mythological and now medical symbol represents nothing less, than the healing of sickness. Many things came to me as I mentally tracked throughout the history of the serpent; transformative power in spiritual development in Kabbalistic teachings, shedding the skin for rebirthing in Quechua (South American Indigenous) Medicine, our primal drive for ultimate fulfillment in the Judaic tradition, the awakening of the Kundalini (The Divine) in Hinduism.

In all this, my question for her was what do you want to take root? She already had her wings. They were apparent when she walked in. Yet, why was she so committed to her music to write a song every day, every single day since childhood. And, there was the answer on the tip of her tongue. I want to heal the world through my music. The next day her throat was healed!

The feet are the foundation of the body. They represent how we actually move about in our lives. If someone is shifting their weight side to side and you look into their lives, they’re most likely stepping around things.

The structural body is a reflection of what’s going on emotionally and spiritually. This is something I’ve always known. I’ve always been able to understand what people are feeling through the way they hold their bodies.

When a dear friend came to see me, her toes were pulling out and her bones were aching. I mirrored her body starting with the most important part, her feet. I pulled my toes out feeling the pain and the emotional pull inward, I noticed her knees collapsing and collapsed mine, her pelvis was tight and pouring forward so, I pulled my thighs together and poured my pelvic bowl forward (I call the pelvic bowl the seat of the soul). Her diaphram and abdomen were falling out and down toward her toes. As I mirrored her body, I felt like I was oozing, melting even falling down. I then knew something was tearing her apart. She explained that she was hiding something important in her life to protect people that she loves. It was directly blocking not just her happiness, but her wholeness and her unity. There was no way she could mend her physical alignment until she resolved her emotional turmoil.

A year later not only is her physical alignment straight, but more importantly she has been able to breakthrough and resolve the conflicts that were creating her misalignments. The culmination of her courage will manifest at her wedding in the very near future. It will be a joyous day!

Structural Realignment and Body Balancing

Rolfing

When I was about 5 years old my knees were noticeably knocked in. From 5 to 8 they ached so badly at night I would cry and curl up with pain. My parents used hot compresses, prayer, and anything they could to make them better. They did tests for scoliosis in school and found two dramatic curvatures in my spine. They were so extreme they wanted to immediately put me in a back brace and corrective shoes. The doctors even talked about surgery later in life. My parents would have none of it! They thought why would you force an unnatural solution? Wouldn’t this make the problem worse? They looked for someone that would work with my body, not against it, and they found a Rolfer.

The premise of Rolfing is to take fascia, the connective tissue that envelopes the muscle, and lengthen it where it needs to elongate. In 10 sessions we worked from the tips of my toes, to the top of my head even the inside of my jaw (this was more intense than the teenage braces that straightened my teeth). Using long deep massage strokes, we stretched out the soft tissue surrounding the muscles that were compressed and shortened. During the course of the treatment my knees straightened and my spine found it’s natural curvature. I grew and inch and a half bringing my body into complete alignment. All of my physical problems disappeared.

By the age of 8 I learned that anything going on structurally could be improved and healed through proper manipulation, no matter what it was. Today I help people reconstruct their bodies and their lives. I know everyone has access to their own healing. I’m currently working on a book to share with people how to look inside for their own healing, rather than outside. I am blogging to develop my own ability to share these experiences with everyone.

These are the intrinsic muscles in the human body. It’s the line that dictates proper posture and alignment. It’s amazing how many common and severe conditions arise from structural misalignments of the inner line of the body. It’s even more remarkable how working with the body in our daily movements like sitting, standing, walking, and even resting can reconstruct our entire body and heal so many of the ailments that plague the average person.