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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)

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’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?

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.

April 2018
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