Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ponder this Sunday: the half smile

In his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, writes about the half smile. When you smile a half smile, you are sending good vibrations to yourself and to others who see you. The Mona Lisa smiles a half smile. When a mother sees her baby smile, dopamine flushes through her body and makes her feel good. I am sure I have read that smiling changes the body chemistry, lightens ones mood.

I have experimented with this and smiled a half smile when walking among people. So often, I receive smiles back. This doesn't have to be a big, teeth baring grin. Just a gentle smile, like Bibbity's smile above.

And, surprise, if I am in a bad mood and smile the half smile just for myself, my mood seems to lighten. This isn't meant to be a grin and bear it kinda thing. There are times when crying, or being miserable seem the right thing to do to express my feelings. But, what is the harm in giving a half smile a whirl? Try this: experiment with the half smile and see what happens. Share your findings here if you wish.

above sketch of Bibbity is one I drew during last years "Big Draw."

17 comments:

Cestandrea said...

Hi Suki, your Bibbity smile sketch is so lovely:) You know, I do this in the metro, when I see all the people with her mouth's corners turned downwards, I smile, just a little smile, a half-smile, to make a balance and to make people feel comforted in case they look at my face. Your cat's halfsmile is perfect:
love to you and i imagine you with a halfsmile right now:)
Andrea

m. heart said...

this post reminded me of the first verse of an emily dickenson poem,
"if you were coming in the fall,
i'd brush the summer by
with half a smile and half a spum,
as housewives do a fly."

like cestandrea, i try to maintain at least a half-smile. there's enough frowning and indifference in the world already without my face adding to it.

Annie said...

That was a lovely post Suki. I love the drawing of your cat too :-). Happy Sunday.

sukipoet said...

Andrea, I love this picture of you in the metro smiling to balance out the frowns. Happy day, Suki

Lovely quote from ED. My complete poems book is in storage. Or I'd look that up. A nice thought to maintin that half smile. I like to think of us all going through the world half smiling.

Thanks annie.

Cris in Oregon said...

I look in the mirror sometimes and see my non smile and it looks like I am mad or lost my best friend, so I try to concentrate on half smiling, but not so much that I look like a cheshire cat smiling. :):)

Cris in Oregon said...

Oh and I like your cat drawing too.

sukipoet said...

Cris, well I can imagine you might not be smiling so much this weekend. Goodness. Sending prayers, Suki Ps I replied to your last email and got it back. It said your mailbox was full.!!!

WILSONART said...

the half smile,,,it's kinda like going the extra mile isn't it?
Smiling when we don't really feel like it, or have reason to. And it does make everyone feel better. Look better too!

Lynn said...

I am half smiling at you Suki and I feel so good. Oh now I am smiling hugely and feel even better, and now I am laughing out loud, or LOL and feeling grand.
The cat is still cute, half smile and all. I thought he looked familiar.

Hopper said...

Hey Suki... it's so true what you say about the half smile... like a pebble dropped into a still water... the ripples spread outwards infinitely... a smile is contagious... and love the sketch of Bibbity... cats have such a funny way about them and their little smiles... whoever says that they don't have feeling has never spent any amount of time around them and hasn't seen this little grin ;)

see ya soon...
JON

sukipoet said...

thanks Babs. I suppose it is up for debate. Does one smile when one feels dreadful? I wouldnt advocate overlooking the misery, but acknowledging it and all feelings. Then doing the half smile and see if it makes me feel better. All feelings pass, like storm clouds in the skies.

Hey Lynn, I can hear your laugh all the way on the East coast. Ha ha. Laughter is going way beyond the smile but I think you are right, one leads to the next. Laughter is good medicine. Goes down easy.

Hi Jon. I like your metaphor of the pebble dropped in the still water. Or is that an analogy? well, as a long time cat lover, I do think cats have feelings and certainly they can sense my feelings such as if I feel blue, they know. They are miracles. Thanks for stopping by, Suki

human being said...

Bibbity's smile is so lovely...
giving me a half smile...
:)
yes the half smile on our face can do miracles... i can remember lots of cases when the mood or the situation was changed just because of that...
even when we stand to look at a cat on the street( here in Iran we have lots of them living on the streets...)giving her a smile... she stares back at you and meows so softly...
and you're filled with joy..

but there are lots of serious stoney faces which show no change... maybe something is changed within...

a very brilliant post...
all through reading it and writing, i was smiling and now i've forgotten that it's late at night and i was very sleepy...
hooray! i can read more posts!
Suki, thanks for all the wise things you write...
and also thanks for your valuable comments...
love.

sukipoet said...

human being, you always say such lovely things. Glad smiling cheered you up and gave you more energy. Bibbity really does have a big smile like that. Thank you human being. Is it hot in Tehran??

Forever Young said...

what about those false smiles, they give me a pain in my heart! at the moment i feel very disenchanted with people around me at work...false. all false.

Honour said...

what a lovely posting.
it reminded me of an experience i had in victoria, british columbia. i was visiting one of our most beautiful national treasures - Butchart Gardens - acres of flowers and gorgeous. And people, of course were walking around with smiles on their face, taking in the beauty ... anyway - it just made for such a different interaction with people within. we were all polite to one another, giving each other the right of way, smiling and meeting each other's eyes. i used to think it was the flowers, but your posting makes me think it might more accurately be the smiles ...

marianne said...

Nice scetch, Bibbity has a half smile as well, just like all cats.
The rest of the post is so true!
I know by experience that it works!

sukipoet said...

FY I dont know about the false smiles. I suppose if they are thinking "I hate you" but smiling then it seems duplicitous. On the other hand i think Thich Nhat Hanh was not meaning that kind of smile exactly. But more just a small upturn of the lips to make oneself feel more cheerful and perhaps then spread it too. Sorry you are feeling so disenchanted around work. Hopefully that short sounding summer break will come soon and give you some time for yourself. Be well, Suki

Honor that sounds like a lovely place. Maybe it was both the flowers and the smiles. I'm guessing youre back from your vacation and ready to start your new you life.? I havent checked anyones blogs today. Taking a little blog vacation. But will soon.

I guess they all do have smiles, Marianne. Maybe they are little Buddhas in disguise.