Monday, 10 April 2017

What's in a Smile

This little message was posted this morning by a friend on facebook and as I read it I thought how true this particular message is.  The universality of the smile lets people know that we are happy, friendly, pleasant.  The other thing that you can note about a smile is that if you see someone and offer them a smile they will almost always automatically smile back.  

Then I thought I should do a google search about what is in a smile.  There I discovered a number of articles and studies about what a smile means, there was even an atricle on how to learn to smile more.  I am easily entertained when I am looking for distractions from work  so I took a peek into what some of the "experts" are saying.  Apparently each smile is different and has a variety of interpretations....who knew that a cheeky grin was different than a smirk?  Do tell I thought and read on!  Well there are crooked smiles,...apparently the sign of a strong leader, the Mona Lisa smile which is discribed not as a serene smile but tight lipped and a " I wonder what she is hiding smile."   My education is increasing in leaps and bound here!  Laws of attraction also come into go for smiley women but women tend to be attacted to unsmiling men, something to do with testerone levels!  And of course there is the importance of noting whether the smile reaches the eyes...that's how you tell if it is a genuine smile!  There are whole psychological studies with more to come on happiness and what is in a smile.

The articles that are available are definitely fun to read, the interpretation and conclusions were interesting as well.  As a distaction from finishing some required work it was a success...the work is still waiting and I am sitting here typing and smiling at just how successful this virtual smile that was sent this morning turned out to be!  So what is in a smile?  What does a smile mean to you?  Do you like to give smiles and conversely how do you feel to be the recipient?  What is in your smile...are you conveying happiness, love, compassion, friendliness?  

I think about the numerous journeys that my DH and I have shared.  Often times we do not speak the lanuage or have a limited vocabulary but a smile is understood and although we can not communicate in words we are able to convey the message in our body language and our smiles.  I remember an occasion at a small cafe/bar in France where few people spoke any english.  We ordered drinks and sat at a table outside on the sidewalk.  A local man came and sat next to us, tried to strike up a conversantion but we were unable to keep up!!!  so we settled for gestures and was a lovely conversation, discovered how limited our french was and yet we shared the "happy hour" together while he smoked a cigarette, DH a cigar, I  inhaled the fumes (cough, cough) and we all had an evening drink together.  There is a universality in the smile that conveys a whole conversation.  So go ahead, practice, practice, practice and share those smiles!

A smile cost nothing, but gives much. 
It enriches those who receive, 
without making poorer those who give. 
It takes but a moment, 
but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. 
None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it,
and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. 

A smile creates happiness in the home, 
fosters good will in business, 
and is the countersign of friendship. 
It brings rest to the weary, 
cheer to the discouraged, 
sunshine to the sad, 
and is nature's best antidote for trouble. 
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, 
for it is something that is of no value to anyone 
until it is given away. 
Some people are too tired to give you a smile. 
Give them one of yours, 
as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.
Author Unknown

Saturday, 1 April 2017


In a recently acquired book from the Amazon second hand pickings, which barely looks to have been opened, there is a lovely, quite personalized message on the front cover which contains the quote

“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails.”

I thought about this quote and have shared it with a couple of people and while we reflected on the beauty of the words we did not give a lot of thought to the meaning that might lie behind them.  So I started to wonder where the quote came from and what it might mean.

Given the context, that it is quoted in a book gifted to a cousin that had spent what I presume is holiday time with extended family,I would guess that it was intended to remind the person to take time out of the busy life schedule to which so many people adhere.  A schedule that is rarely consistent except for that very fact it is inconsistent.  It seems to be a reminder about the consistency of nature, deliberate and focused and not distracted by the events that can unfold like the dropping of a pine cone, nutshell or something as tiny as the mosquito's wing.    Life as we know is rarely like that.  It may have peaceful interludes.  Life, for most, is generally filled with a multitude of tasks and  we may sometimes find ourselves wishing that we did not have to get back on the merry go round of life and work and commitments once we step off for a brief reprieve.  

More than any of that though I believe it is a reminder, a timely reminder that it is important to take the time out to focus, give intentionality to our day and purpose.  It calls us to go with the flow a little less so that when the inevitable distractions that so easily come are upon us they will merely be a distraction and not throw us off completley.  Life is filled with distractions, with events that completely throw us off our place, with joys and sorrows that change us in a multitude of ways.  Life is never stagnant but with a grounding, a focus it can become easier to stay on or get back on the tracks of life. 

Nature, we are reminded in this quote by Thoreau, is very deliberate, very focused and all of the events that occur in nature change the landscape, even the view but it remains constant and returns to its peaceful presence.   Changed, refocused but not completely derailed.  Nature reminds us of many constants, shows us how to weather storms and celebrate the beautiful days.  Life's lessons exist all around us, sometimes all that is required is the time to stop, to look, to appreciate.  To deliberately deliberate.