Your inner smile is between you and yourself. Smiling at and with and for others is wonderful, too, but this empowering Practice is about touching the power of the smile within you.
This is a two-minute practice that you can do standing up, sitting down, or lying down. I encourage you to spend at least two minutes to fully embrace the experience. If you practice this regularly, you can activate your inner smile in seconds when you need to embody the essence of peace and joy.
Sitting on an airplane, waiting in a shopping line, or readying yourself for a meditation are perfect opportunities to practice this exercise. If you're really feeling good, keep the good feeling activated for as many minutes as you can beyond the suggested two minutes.
The Inner Smile Process
Be still, with eyes open or closed.
Honor where you are.
Start the smile wherever it begins most naturally.
Feel the energy move all through your body, radiating outward, downward, upward, inward.
As you activate your smile, let it have its own life.
Become the smile. Feel the good feeling.
Let your organs and cells open. Notice how one smile bounces off another.
Rest gently in your inner smile for as long as you want.
Move out into the world, smiling from the inside, radiating your essence.
The Inner Smile that Radiates to the World
I place a high value on smiling to and with other people, but that story is different from the one I'm telling here. This Empowering Practice is about finding, feeling, and opening to your own inner smile.
It's the smile you feel and express when no one else is around because you feel self-love and joy.
The starting place for your feeling is wherever you are in the moment: happy, sad, tired, angry, numb, playful, frowning, peaceful. Perhaps your face is in neutral or your heart feels empty or a little heavy. Start wherever you are. Honor your launching pad.
The smile itself may start anywhere; for example, at your mouth where you likely think of a smile, in your heart as a feeling, or in your head as a thought.
If you're sad and don't want to smile, you need to honor your feelings. If you're sad and want to smile, you may need to start slowly. By starting slowly you can begin to feel your smile activating and growing.
This is not a "fake it 'till you make it" exercise. Instead, it's an exercise of feeling yourself into the joy of the smile inside you. If, however, you must "fake" a smile to begin the activation, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do that. In other words, begin in your head with the intention or thought that you want to begin it, or even that you want to want to smile.
I have intentionally kept this process general so that you'll embody it in the way that's most meaningful for you. If you like the exercise, I hope you'll become interested in your own inner smiling process and refine it in a way that works even better for you.
You may find that you most benefit from approaching your smile activation in essentially the same way each time. On the other hand, you may find that your curiosity prompts you to experiment in different ways. Find your way.
When you have fully activated your inner smile, you'll feel the power of it in every cell of your body. This is not a grin on your face, but a feeling that emanates from your heart, radiating through your cellular structure. It glows from within, dissolving sadness and stimulating kindness. It keeps you youthful and curious about life.
In my own personal development consulting practice, I activate a powerful inner smile before each client session. Always, when I pick up the phone for a client, I have a vibrant and happy expression on my face which my words travel through. I also start every day with a smile.
The quintessential inner smile is the presence of a happy baby, unencumbered by the worries and other thoughts of adulthood. Pure joy. No need to explain, justify, or hide. It's the energy that you feel when you see the spontaneous wagging tail of a puppy that can barely stand or hear the melody of a purring kitten. Little children and animals know this joy without needing to practice an exercise. They are our best teachers because they teach us self-love.
If you practice this exercise regularly in the way that suits you the best, you'll find that you are calmer and more peaceful. Over time, you'll feel the youthfulness and vigor that keeps you healthy. This exercise can also help you to create or maintain your calmness even when chaos is all around you.
Jeanie Marshall, Personal Development Consultant and Coach with Marshall House, writes extensively on subjects related to personal empowerment, meditation, and effective use of language, http://www.empowering-personal-development.com/