How long can you smile?
Can you consciously keep a smile for a day? for an hour? for 3 minutes?
I’ve tried this, and it does take effort.
Even consciously returning a gaze with a smile.
There are those rare people who always seem to have a smile – they actually always seem happy.
At the supermarket, anywhere where there are strangers, it is kind of fun and interesting to hunt for visually happy people.
And there are some people who seem to be smiling even though they are not actually smiling. It’s like their face is peaceful, content in this moment, every moment.
I really appreciate seeing people like this. They seem easy to talk to. Yes, that’s the other thing: their ability to strike up a conversation with anybody and everybody.
My uncle Hank was like that, and my mother, and my mother in law. Everyone, every stranger was a friend.
Perhaps these people are saints or angels walking among us. Or perhaps they are just really comfortable in their own skins, self confident, satisfied that this moment, just this moment, is comfortable.
Their boundaries seem more open, welcoming. Yes, that’s it, welcoming – “Welcome to being near me, knowing me.”
I want to learn how they do it: how to see everyone as family.
Maybe these people are born with a smile, a personality that is just pleasant.
But really, I think we are all born this way, and it is still there, in there, in us.
Just knowing it’s already there makes it easier to release the bird from the cage – and let that inner smile free.