A smile is a facial expression formed by flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth and by flexing muscles throughout the mouth. Some smiles include contraction of the muscles at the corner of the eyes. Among humans, it is an expression denoting pleasure, sociability, happiness, or amusement, but can also be an involuntary expression of anxiety, in which case it is known as a grimace. Smiling is something that is understood by everyone despite culture, race, or religion; it is internationally known. Cross-cultural studies have shown that smiling is a means of communication throughout the world. But there are large differences between different cultures. A smile can also be spontaneous or artificial.
I grew up in a small, rural town in Maine, home to about 3,000 Western European immigrants, primarily of the French persuasion. All in all, we were all just a few different shades of white. Eventually, I emigrated over the border westward to the equally homogenous state of New Hampshire, feeling like I was significantly expanding my worldview for my college years. Let’s just say my exposure to the world populous was rather limited.
“The God who speaks to the human spirit in the silence is not limited by language, because the language of the spirit is universal. Whoever listens to this God-without-words, by means of faith, inspiration, contemplation, tuning in to the wavelength of the Spirit, recognizes that God sends out continuous messages.” (The Lord of Silence, Quaker publication)
Our deep love for life and this planet makes many of us want to live intentionally connected to the earth in good stewardship. In that vein, this column explores sustainable living, practical skills for nurturing the inner hunter/gatherer and stories from the wilderness.
While traveling with our friend Bhola Banstola1 in Nepal, we discovered the delightful nature of the Nepalese people. Everywhere you go and everyone you meet greets you warmly with the greeting, Namaste. When spoken to another person, this word is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. This form of greeting originated with the Sanskrit language on the Indian subcontinent and is now spoken throughout the Himalayan region. It is used when individuals meet and upon their parting.
From Spring 2013 through Spring 2014, our American family will be going through a powerful time of healing and transformation, more than usual.
Many of the approaching planetary alignments, especially those in Spring 2013, Autumn 2013, and Spring 2014 make important aspect to both the USA and President Obama’s natal charts.
We had just gotten back from another prenatal class where we learned about all the things we’ll need to have ready when the baby arrives. And it finally hit me. We could easily sink 10 grand into all of the cots, nests, baskets, blankets, car seats, clothes and electronic gadgets and gizmos.
There are items to swaddle, harness and cradle the baby in virtually any condition from naptime to nuclear winter. There are trendy brands, mid-range brands and inexpensive ones.
When asking for wisdom each time I write this wonderful column I first say a prayer to the Universe that the words will flow from my hands to paper, and from Spirit’s lips to your heart. The theme of “smile” is a wonderful one in that spring is upon us, and the Goddess mother is fertile once more. Gardeners, like myself, are finally able to put plants into the ground after planning and re-planning our gardens all winter. No doubt the Universe has planted seeds of change within your heart at the New Year in the form of resolutions. Some resolutions will have fallen by the wayside, and others will continue to find fertile ground lasting through the spring. I asked the Tarot what wisdom it had to offer on the topic of smiling more often in our daily lives and it did not disappoint!
My dear friend Frank Rankin, second generation owner of the wonderful local hardware store in my town, came to me via a smile – a smile I had not even been aware I was smiling for several weeks over trips to fill my coffee cup. There he sat with his lady friend Ruthie, a booth or two away from me. Whenever I got out of my booth to get some coffee, the two of them would watch me – closely. I wasn’t sure what was going on for quite some time and at 7 am, I was not too motivated to find out.