We are in Cambodia and one of the most striking things about the people here is how ready and how beautiful their smiles are. It’s particularly affirming of the heart and spirit when you consider the hideous warfare that is only recent history.
I find I’m smiling more too, in spite of the sadness about my sister I am lightening my face and my heart too in response to those beautiful rays of light, which need no translators. It’s much easier to initiate the smile exchange too when you can pretty much be guaranteed a gorgeous response. It’s sad to think that we often withhold a smile for fear of being ignored or rejected when that simple exchange of human warmth is exactly what we need.
“We shall never know all the good a simple smile can do.” Mother Teresa
Smiling is good for you, it’s a fact! The brain responds by reducing the stress hormones of cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine and increases the happy hormone of endorphin. It’s a wonder we don’t smile more and leave some of the fake mood boosters alone.
Wishing you a radiantly smiling day.
I made this image yesterday as a reminder to myself.
The day before I discovered my only Sister is to have a mastectomy. I was shocked and saddened by the news and immediately offered to cut my travels short and be with her if she needs me. I imagined myself in her position and my heart hurt for her gorgeous children.
Yesterday I was behaving very erratically, flying into tempers over trivial things and crying about anything. Any kind of song had me oozing, and the Winnie-the Pooh story my kind hubby read to me about Eeeyore’s birthday had me positively blubbing.
I consider myself pretty sensitive to the emotions of others, I’m naturally attuned from childhood and my training as a psychotherapist developed it. But I can be pretty slow when it comes to defining and responding to my own feelings. This ‘bizarre’ behaviour brought my family of inner critics marching out in force accusing me of weakness and craziness and so on and so on.
It took a while to realise, doh!, I’m sad, and maybe I need some compassion too. It’s relatively easy to self love when behaving nobly and selflessly, but it’s harder when thrashing around in wordless pain. That’s when it’s most important to wrap yourself up in love and hold yourself in kindness until the hurt diminishes and you can see straight again.
Have a compassionate day.
I always have a sketchbook on the go, it is my playground, my buddy, my archive of experience. This is my latest one which I finished today, I hope you enjoy it.
Here’s a little trick I use a lot, it’s a handy way to recycle your art and to turn something previously unpleasing into a visual delight.
I often take photos of my sketchbooks, sometimes the whole page, sometimes focusing in on an interesting detail or texture.
I then print out these images and continue to work them, that might mean adding some fine details or radically transforming the whole thing, splodging paint and getting wild.
You can really have a lot of fun with it, putting bunny ears on your boyfriend or writing an inspirational quote over an interesting texture. There are no rules and there is no wrong, it is a particularly permission giving technique because if you really make a royal mess, you still have your original photo so you can have another go if you like (though I personally believe the royal messes are often the most interesting!)
This one for example is a photo of a not particularly interesting collage in my sketchbook, you might just be able to make out the dancing woman in yellow on the right. I printed out the photo and finger painted with red and yellow paint creating more layers. It lacked any focal point so I drew the dancing aboriginal over the top and added the white dots. It is probably complete, but who knows, I may take another photo, paint another layer, like creativity itself, the possibilities are endless.
Have a go, have fun!