We spent time over the summer in three different countries.
For starters, we were incredibly fortunate and felt incredibly grateful to be able to do this, and they were totally different cultures with different socio-economic advantages.
And here’s what we noticed: the ‘poorer’ in classic, economic terms, the country and the everyday folk, the more open and welcoming and warm the people were. And the more they smiled.*
The more they smiled when they met us, and the more they smiled between themselves.
Smiling from their eyes. Not just their mouths.
Smiling on the inside
One can smile with the mouth on a whim, and not be truly happy. But an eye-smile, that’s a different kettle of fish altogether…
An eye-smile shows up the light inside. If there are no creases at the sides of the eye and if there’s no twinkle, it gives the game away…
Because the spark of deeply felt happiness from the inside shows up in the smile from the eyes…even if it’s fleeting flirt with a moment happiness, and even if it’s just at that one moment in a maelstrom of difficulties otherwise. A little piece of the insides shining out.
What is that? Is that the soul?
An eye-smile shows up the light inside because when we smile from the inside, our eyes open more widely…wider eyes and we let in more light. Light that regulates the pineal gland…which affects the pituitary and hypothalamus glands and consequently the regulation of our hormones…and therefore the state of our underlying health.
But isn’t that interesting – the less the people had, materially, the more they had to give, emotionally. Collectively. Nothing to hide…nothing to hide behind.
When you’re out and about, who’s smiling? Who spontaneously smiles when your paths meet? No doubt friends and loved ones give their smiles generously. But perhaps the occasional stranger graces you with a smile on the street…
And how about us? Are we initiating a smile, or waiting to receive one first?
Are we lost inside our thoughts, or are we awake and present and able to fully connect with what’s going on around us, and who’s there in our midst.
There’s no judgement here, and for sure we all have days when we don’t feel much like smiling out at the world! ; ) Hopefully not too many… Just, maybe watch yourself, watch others – how are people interacting with their smile…?
We all know that a heart-felt smile can change the course of a day… : )
Smiling from your eyes – a little trick to try
(All credit to my beautiful, and very smiley, yoga teacher for this one…)
Try lying down (at some other time before sleep!), or sitting on the sofa when there’s no-one around to distract…and close your eyes. Settle for a moment, and then bring your attention to your eyes…
And then think about smiling from the inside of your eye-lids!
You’ll find two things happen – firstly, the whole of your eye will soften, particularly the creases to the sides. The second thing is a knock-on effect, which is that the whole of your face will then soften too (and possibly the rest of your body will have let go a little as well!).
And in the process you’ll discover that your mouth has formed into, even the briefest, smallest hint of a smile too. It can’t help but do so! When we smile with our eyes – even when they’re closed! – our whole person smiles too… : )
*This slightly sweeping statement is simply an observation from the experiences from our trip; for sure, different cultures have different ways of being. And different connection with their cultural smile.