Cynthia English

How do you feel when you smile? Not laugh. Not a quick tweak acknowledgement. Smile. An eye-connecting, soul-full smile. Most people feel a moment of complete joy. Insides light up, the body warms, the brain flares, energy sparks, then sparkles between two human beings. Often strangers, passersby, people unconnected by any degree of separation–six degrees or two. Blood, sweat and tears magically connect for mere nano-seconds.

In this fast forward world, where we seem to exist perpetually in algorithmic or chaotic technologically absorbed states, a smile can be the most simple ejection back to ground zero. Awareness of the present. Awareness of breath. Back to our most basic human form of communication–to a cosmic transit of recognition and kindness–all in a smile.

Spending my life moving from state-to-state, school-to-school, country-to-country…up the numerical scale of life, I’m often asked what have been the pivotal moments of each change, and as I reflect back, it has been the first smile as I touched down somewhere within a town, city, countryside. When a local shopkeeper or colleague or mate or perhaps just someone passing me on the sidewalk or at the airport, has connected with me for that brief moment of shared life. When I have felt the magic of their smile transcend any stress, anticipation, uneasiness, fear, loneliness or dejection I may be feeling. Their smile is absorbed and mine is realized. My sides light up, my body warms, brain flares and I feel an innate sense of joy and peace as I’m acknowledged. Everything is going to be alright.

So simple: a genuine smile becomes a global communicator. Regardless of native tongue, it holds a message of peace. A physical olive branch. Stripping politics, race, religion, and the endless myriad of passionate media instigators from this divine moment. Pausing corporate bullies who stress the bonds of human decency for an uptick in quarterly earnings to, perhaps ever so briefly, focus on a resurrection to the basics of innocence.

In this universal time of job loss, rising health care costs, interminable bombardment of materialistic what-nots we must procure, when our pockets are depleted, yet the landlord remains to be paid–we see another commercial, receive another email, another cyber-ad asking us to give to help others and our hearts ache because we want to… at this time, just remember, the special act of kindness, of giving, that costs nothing more than a moment: a smile. Smile at and with someone–this sublime spiritual resource will change your world and theirs. Try it? Stop. Smile.