Have you ever lost something that was very dear to you?
Like a flower blooming, our smile opens our hearts and invites warmth in. Each petal can only be caressed by the sun when it is open and in full bloom. When we choose to smile, we open ourselves up to the abundance and blessings around us. It is said that we smile not just with our faces, but also with our hearts and full beings. I deeply believe this to be true. Smiling comes from a special place deep within us and this is why it is a gift both to the one who smiles and the recipient of the smile itself and from that special place, light and warmth radiate. We carry with us our very own unique smiles, which are as unique as our life purpose and journeys. Our smiles communicate to others who we are, what little gifts of joy we hold in our tender hearts and just for a brief moment in time, we are able to let go of the noise of the mind and embrace ourselves.
When I was a little girl, despite me being very shy, people always told me that I had a very special smile. Perhaps, when I smiled back, I communicated positivity, sincerity and the love that I carried within me. I was always incredibly intuitive and even at a young age, I would find myself touched by people’s pain and struggles. I could see it mirrored in their eyes.
I’m blessed with the ability to feel for others and hold empathy for others in pain. I would often have dreams about others that came true. The dreamers were in disbelief. For example, I intuitively knew when somebody was pregnant or a person was about to pass away or even when tragedy would strike. This intuition would extend to excitement and joyful moments in my life as well.
I experienced life from wholesomeness and the innocence of who I was, being very open to emotion and possibilities. From a young age, I felt depth inside me. I couldn’t explain it back then, but I knew that it was a gift from God.
When I was 31 and hit the depths of depression, things changed. The smile which I so effortlessly carried with me for so many years vanished. I started showing up differently around others. I felt misunderstood, unaccepted and had to change who I was to be considered worthy. I struggled to fake a smile. This was followed by three years of medication which enabled me to muster up a tiny fake smile.
This fake smile echoed my inner self. I was in pain. I was in deep pain. I remember my one year old daughter dancing; everyone around her laughing and smiling, their hearts full of sheer joy. I just couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t even fake it any longer. I felt exhausted. I desperately wanted to start smiling from the inside again.I turned to Ari and asked him, “Will I ever smile again?”
Like a petal which has sat for too long in darkness, I had to slowly start opening myself up again and embrace sunlight which would nourish me and help me blossom once again. It didn’t simply happen by chance.
My inner transformation began bit by bit. Thank God, after a few years, my smile returned! My roots felt nourished and my branches healthy and steadfast. I knew that I could grasp greater moments of joy and happiness. The small shifts from within showed up on my face as a smile from time to time.
I had missed the ability to smile from deep within. Through the gift of healing, I hoped it would return. A great deal of transformative inner work helped me regain my smile. A lot of holistic healing, boundary work, forgiveness, gratitude, yoga and meditation, to name just a few. It was a long and tough journey back to myself, but also one which gave me back more than just the ability to feel alive. It gave me back the most essential part of who I am. It gave me back my smile.
My smile is so precious to me. It reflects and radiates what my heart contains. Today, smiling is a consistent practice of mine. I ask myself what my smile is emitting today. Sometimes it’s full of life, and sometimes it’s a weary and tired.
My husband, Ari, was a main factor in this transformation. Thank God he radiates life and continuously smiles from the inside out. His smile communicated hope,and the possibility of my healing. It invited me in and allowed me to slowly experience life’s small joys.My struggles and challenges gave birth to my entrance into the world of social media.
Before the Covid pandemic hit, I had decided to start smiling intentionally every day and witnessed the little gifts which this brought in its wake. Little did I know that we were on the cusp of a global pandemic and that this small act of smiling would get me, and many others, through difficult times. All year I mindfully smiled to myself at the beginning and end of each day. I noticed that I was smiling more often.
Thank God, so many things make me smile today. I smile when I notice a flower blossoming, when I have a hot cup of coffee and when I see my children come back home from school. My energy shines through my smile and communicates just who I am to those who receive it.
I can differentiate between the fake and real smiles that others wear. All it takes is for me to look at a picture of them smiling and I can often feel what’s behind it.
I believe that within our smiles, there exists deep wisdom about who we truly are. My favorite moments are when I smile naturally, as an expression of joy radiating from my heart, outward. Sometimes we may find ourselves losing our smiles for just a bit, only to regain a stronger and fuller sense of joy again thereafter. When we are willing to open ourselves up to the blessings which surround us and do the magical and transformative work of healing, we don’t just heal ourselves. We heal others by smiling because then, our smile communicates hope, compassion and possibility for them too.
Today I smile, both as the little girl who was Matana and also as the woman who has overcome both depression and anxiety and is privileged to experience life from the wholeness of my being.
I am incredibly grateful and blessed to smile from my heart again. People often ask me what drug I’m on and I simply smile at them and say “I’m on the gift of Life.”
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When I lost my smile, as pictured on the left and when I regained by smile, as pictured on the right:
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