spacer
Thrive logo
spacer
spacer Log in | Register spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
spacer
corner browseissues corner
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
corner popularlinks corner
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
corner spacer corner
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer

How Smiling Meditation Changed My Life
By Billie Criswell

I have always been the type of person that one might associate with meditation…..or  New Age healing and Eastern healing concepts. I was even, at one time, a self-proclaimed “hippy.” But the truth was, I had never so much as tried to quiet my mind– I was too busy being busy to even ponder the concept of slowing down.

At a certain point, though, it seemed that meditation came to me much as other things had in life: on a whim, as though I invented the concept. In reality, I heard the phrase “smiling meditation” in a movie I loved and watched nearly obsessively, and thought I could make up my own version of the practice. I figured I knew enough about meditation–it meant gaining control of my thoughts, something I had already been practicing for a couple of years, only without the actual meditation.

I am a big proponent of the power of positive thought, and had stumbled upon “The Secret” shortly after the book came out. After listening to the book on tape, my sister-in-law and I had been practicing positive visualization of the things we wanted, using each other to help the process along. Because I had already been practicing the art of filtering my thoughts and making them more positive, I felt that I could create my own version of smiling meditation. However, since the power of positive thought practices suggested you meditate at least 5 minutes everyday, I was way behind in the meditation department, and I had a lot of catching up to do!

I made up a version of smiling meditation that fit what I wanted it to be: an extension of my positive visualization in order to manifest the things I needed and wanted. My concept was that I would sit in silence for 5 minutes to start, and I would visualize my smile beginning in my chest and spreading to my whole body, until my mouth was smiling as big as possible. Then I imagined that my smile extended out to the entire world, and I would meditate on the love I was emitting and feel it coming back to me. If I lost focus, I would recenter on positive thoughts of what I was thankful for.

The aim of my meditation was to concentrate on those things that brought joy into my life, for which I could give thanks and praise. Through visualizing these, I would receive more to be thankful for.

It was more challenging than I had thought it would be. The first day, I was really motivated, so it seemed to go smoothly–and quickly! But in the days that followed, as I added a minute each day, and got stuck at only 7 minutes, I had more trouble keeping myself focused than I had anticipated. But I prevailed. I continued to center myself on my positive thoughts and visualizing “all good things coming to me now,” and I found that I was feeling more in control of my happiness than ever before. I was in a peaceful place with myself and my psyche.

It was around this time that I hit an emotional hard patch in my life.  Within one month, my stepsister and a close family friend (both under the age of 30 years old) died very suddenly. The overwhelming feelings of sadness were so unsettling that I hardly knew what to do with myself. The urge immediately came to mind that I should, “give up on this stupid practice because how in the world could I find it in myself to smile?” Smiling seemed ridiculous. Worse, it made me feel completely guilty… smiling seemed like a farce, as well as unfair, because I had a pit in my stomach that told me I should be wallowing in the extreme sadness I was feeling. But just as soon as I thought of how silly the act of smiling meditation was, I realized the challenge therein, and had an “ah-ha moment.” What good was the practice of smiling meditation AT ALL, if I only did it when I felt truly happy?

The real challenge of smiling meditation was to smile–and to feel the feelings of happiness–when I felt defeated…and so too, goes life. Life at its hardest is when we feel like throwing in the proverbial towel; we stop being positive and experience a moment of weakness. I am surely not expressing that we can never have negative moments–certainly we are allowed to cry when we are sad and have times that disappoint or even devastate us–those moments move us forward in life and give us a base to jump off of. I found  that by taking the time out of my otherwise dismal state of affairs, to remind myself that I could be happy and even smile, was my saving grace.

Smiling and feeling good, even when forced, is a vital part of the human experience. I truly believe that during the dark days that followed the heartbreak my family experienced, my grief was quelled by the fact that I pushed myself to smile and to feel happy. The fact was, I wasn’t feigning my happiness, but drawing it out of myself. There is an important distinction between the two; when I realized that I could be happy even in the face of great tragedy, I felt lighter, freer, and more in control of my soul and my universe. Without this tool in my life, I think I may have crumbled more often than I did. I drew a great deal of strength from within myself–strength I didn’t even know I possessed.

So while you experience the hardships that sometimes accompany life, take time for yourself and try drawing out those feelings of happiness and gratitude. Because the best way to give thanks is to enjoy the gift of life. This answer, while so very simple, is so very meaningful and can give you a helping hand to a better day… even if it doesn’t feel that way at first. You may surprise even yourself when you realize that your greatest strength lies within your very being.

Billie Criswell Bio:

Billie Criswell is a freelance writer and blogger from the Delaware Seashore. She writes on a variety of lifestyle issues, is a self-proclaimed foodie, and has been published online as well as in print. Billie has just completed her first book. Visit my blog at http://www.abilliontinypieces.com/

Back to Stories

Share
spacer
COMMENT (0) | loss, meditation, renewal, spiritual, thriving
spacer

Comments

Leave a Reply





spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
newsletter
spacer
spacer
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
corner comments corner
spacer
  • Debra Grossman: Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It nourishes my soul to learn of such special...
  • Jack russell: Really enjoyed reading the website. I have also have a website about this great dog.
  • Anonymous: Thank God for your blog. After 37 years of being married to an alcoholic,I’ve finally reached my...
  • Anonymous: Thanx 4 da truth
  • Sandra: I am from USA, i am 36 years old, i want to gladly give My testimony of how a spell caster dr.mac@yahoo. com...
  • g: Thank you for your words. As I navigate through marriage with children (11, 5, 3) and I am a stay at home mom, the...
  • Catherine Ellen Pettway: My husband and I married in 1988. He occasionally drank beer but not everyday. He came from...
  • Nic: Thank you Mike for your honesty and vulnerability. It helps to feel a connection with someone who understands...
  • Robert Goldsmith: Thank you for sharing that very intimate experience and your story. I’m married to an...
  • MANDI: Is this group still going? I love my husband and I knew what I was getting into when I married him. I knew he...
  • Kelly: Dear Keith, I hope you are at peace now. You are missed by many.
  • Delilah Campos: Dear LaVora, Thank you so much for sharing this intimate experience. I am deeply touched and...
  • Mary Ellen Bennett: Thank you so much. I am married to an alcoholic and I have watched him go through rehabilitation...
  • Tracy: Thank you for sharing your story with me Ivor. I’m so glad you had a loving supportive Aunt to guide you...
  • Joe Longo: Love this photo
  • Daniel Fontana: I know those kids,especially Snezana.Please send me their contact information.
  • Neyhaaa: I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. Yet, thank you.
  • Amy: My daughter is five and her dad is an alcoholic. I know we need to leave. We both own our house and I...
  • CPC: I think this is among the such a lot important info for me. And i’m happy studying your article. However...
  • online festival: Every year, people in India find different ways to celebrate the same festival, and perhaps this...
  • Karol: Listening to all the mother’s on here is overwhelming for me. I think about what all of you are going...
  • Vicki Osheka: This is my second marriage and I came from a non drinking family. Didn’t realize what I was...
  • Elle: Wel written article. My husband is walking around totally beligerant. Where he ends up making messes, he has...
  • Maren: Thank you for this! 3rd day on Cipralex and a glimmer of hope.
  • Anonymous: I ‘gave in’ recently. I am more hopeful than ever that things will improve for me after...
  • LindaJane Riley: I apologize to everyone who has commented. I didn’t know this story was still active. I would...
  • Rahulbh28: Dear Members, Please help me. . . I’m sharing my painful moments which my brother and my family...
  • rene: Yes i too lived the nightmare for 45 yrs..when in my marriage the last. 10 yrs my alcoholic lived in the same...
  • Grace: I typed in Google search, overcoming childhood loneliness because I am paying attention to some habits that I...
  • Casadina: I am so thankful that I found this website. I am like others on here and my alcoholic is passed out snoring...
  • Grateful: I cannot express how much I appreciate your story. I have been with my alcoholic for 11 years and I do not...
  • Vic: I stumbled upon this beautifully written article because I just “gave in” today. I just picked up my...
  • Carol: I have recently begun to admit that my husband is an alcoholic. My heart is broken… I am pissed… I...
  • TJ: Thank you for this article. You are the first person who seems to understand why I am still married to an...
  • sariah: I wept as I read your story. I am currently learning to detach as well after 20 years of marriage to an...
  • LaVora: Good luck, N. My experience may not be yours. However, I deeply believe that happiness is our birthright. You...
  • nk: Lavora, I am exactly here in my marriage – trying to turn it around. Rgds, N
  • Suzanne: Hi Martin and Cathy. Watched your documentary. You are a wonderful family. Everyone has their struggles, no...
  • admin: Thank you for letting us know. The link is now set to the their new WEB page. We have our dog from them.
  • Linda Jane Riley: About a year ago I was forced to take a step back from all things related to alcoholism. My...
  • SHerry: Your link to the rescue adoption site is for sale with no other info on the dogs.
  • Marleen: Thank you for sharing your story! That’s real inspirating!
  • Julie: Its 4:50am here. I can hear him snoring in the nursery. I brought the baby to bed with me.. He only snores...
  • ld: I thought I was suffering alone. The advice and comments make me feel better and gives me the strength to go on....
  • Sam: Hi Mike, Very poignant, “There are no grown-ups. We are all children in adult garments” is right on...
  • TJ: Thank You!!! Like “judy” commented above my mind was racing and I felt out of control… My life...
  • Karunakaran: It’s very nice.
  • judy: Thanks for ur writings… it really help my mind to calm down…. where can i go to talk with alot of...
  • Tanya Sousa: We certainly do have to change the way we respond, don’t we Paul? I’m encouraged though. I...
  • Paul Trainer: Thank you, Tanya, this is all so true. As someone who adores starlings too, I know that it is only when...
  • Cathy: In reading I see how difficult it is to be married to an alcoholic husband for 30 years and have now...
  • carrir: You took the words right out of my mouth. Xoxo
  • ceri: What an amazing story of love between step son and step father
  • Caney Texas: Hello! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and...
  • julie: what a wonderful article, she described me to a tee , it was nice to put words to the feelings , I am new to...
  • michele: I am hurting so badly right now, it is taking all the strength and coping ability I have just to get through...
  • denise morini: PLEASE understand that I do not feel redeemed……still 230;……..getting Lexi...
  • Carleen Quesenberry: Denise- It is perplexing that you would write a “feel good” story after you...
  • Jon: While I love the article, I caution those reading the post by “finally AM, me.” I was in a...
  • Wendy Noer: I felt like I was there, good story Melodee, keep writing. Let me know when you finish another one.
  • Anonymous: thank you
  • Sandi: This is great, Mel! Congratulations! I hope to see more of your writings – especially the novel...
  • Sherveen Ashtari: I never forget kind and terrific people, Alex!! :) I actually beat you to it and sent you an email...
spacer
corner spacer corner
spacer
Copyright 2010 thriveinlife.ca. All rights reserved. | Privacy Statement
spacer
spacer