Learning to Smile Again

The past months have been pretty rough. At the end of 2021, when I did my usual meditations and drumming to attempt to connect deeper and get a sense of what to prepare for in 2022…

The word that came up strongly was “Challenge“. It would be a challenging 2022. 

Back then, I thought, “Okay!… Challenge. Let’s do it”. Little did I realise how challenging it would be in multiple aspects of my life and in different depths of my soul.

The past months have included moments when I felt that the life I knew and had been working towards was crumbling down fast. I felt the previously clear sense of who I am strip away in chunks and layers.

These months also showed me the cracks in the stability of my family unit that have always been there, which I somehow never saw all these years. 

What seemed to be was no longer. The reality I knew seemed to be showing the hidden layers. Had I been living in an illusion? Maybe. 

In various aspects of my life, those targets which I were excited about and earnestly pushed forward in, inadvertently met with multiple obstacles that sometimes forced the momentum to a halt or to change in unexpected directions.

I learnt, and am still learning, to take a step back, to go with the flow and to take it step by step. I am still learning how to welcome changes and challenges. I started to let go of notions of how I judged myself and others. I started to view people and relationships differently. I start to be more compassionate towards others and myself.

Amidst the mess and attempts to make sense of my inner world and outer world, I realised I had lost my smile. I became glum, stressed and robot-like.

I looked at myself in a video Zoom call one day, while preparing for a session, and tried to smile. It felt odd, awkward and my jaws were tired after a while.

I then realised something that changed this persistent gloom. Why was I making life more difficult for myself by emotionally and mentally living in a grey cloud? Am I only happy when everything is done and solved? What about the process? And guess what…

I can smile.

I can choose to smile.

I can be going through a difficult time, and I can still smile.

This realisation changed my perspective totally.

For the rest of the afternoon, I smiled, listened to music and sang out of tune as I went through the usual motions of the day.

My head was still throbbing, my body still felt tired and I still felt a little lost in this state of multiple transitions from one stage of life to another.

Yet, I was happy. I am happy.

I write this post to share this message. That no matter how tough things get, you can choose to smile.

Smile at the challenge.

Smile at life.

Smile from deep inside your heart.

Give a smile to the world, to the experience and to the learnings of life.