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the power of a smile

Even the most casual interaction can heal a part of you long wounded, if your heart is open and your mind is in the now.


Marianne Williamson

One of the blessings of this quarantine time has been having the time in my schedule to go for (almost) daily walks. It’s also what’s kept me sane. I’ve heard reports of places where people are not allowed outside their homes at all, even if they live in the countryside. I certainly would go more than a little crazy if I couldn’t get out for movement, sunshine, and fresh air! I feel so grateful to have this privilege still.


I walk around the perimeter of a local park, and, over the course of the last 4 weeks, I’ve seen a lot of the same faces during my daily walks. I always walk clockwise. Some folks walk counterclockwise, and so I encounter them twice on each lap. There are a few people, in particular, whose faces light up every time they pass me. They give me the sweetest, most genuine, heartfelt smiles. We haven’t stopped to talk, but, at each encounter, there is an energy exchange that opens both our hearts a little wider. It’s a beautiful thing.


I can’t remember now where I just recently heard this, but I heard about a country where people weren’t allowed to smile. If they smiled, they were shot to death. I believe it was Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime. Can you imagine??!


Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do has been to see a stranger’s face light up when I smile at them, and they offer a smile in return. I used to make a game out of it on my way to school as a kid. School started early in Germany, and, as I walked away from the center of town towards my school on the edge of town, the people passing me were usually older folks on their way into town to go to the market, for their fresh bread and groceries. A lot of them appeared grumpy, joyless, and sullen. I would always greet them and smile. Some ignored me. Some grumbled something under their breath, without looking up. But some would look up and return my smile, and I would see their whole being transform in an instant. It was the most beautiful thing.


To this day, going out into the world and smiling at people and seeing their faces light up as they smile in return is one of my favorite things about this earthly life. There’s healing for both of us in the process. 🙏🏼💗✨


As you scan your day… your week… what casual interactions do you remember that brought lightness to your being and healed a piece of your wounded heart?

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