“An optimist is the human personification of spring.”
~Susan J. Bissonette
After enduring a long and challenging winter, this week’s quote is a reminder that spring has finally arrived. And with it, an all pervasive feeling of optimism. Why? Because, after passing through the equinox, during which light and dark were held in perfect balance, the day is now officially longer than the night. That is, for the next six months, we will experience more light than darkness. This alone is reason to be optimistic. Spring is also a time of growth and renewal. Just as spring brings new life and energy to the natural world, a sense of optimism brings new life and energy to your world.
Examples of spring’s optimistic attitude are found all around us. Trees that were battered by storms and covered with snow form new buds on their branches despite the adversity they just faced. Plants begin to grow and blossom regardless of the challenges winter threw at them. Birds, long silent and missing in action, return to the world and start to sing. The sun, so often hidden behind clouds, moves higher in the sky and begins to share its warmth. It's like the world is remembering how to be beautiful again.
So, if your goal is to lead a more optimistic life, embrace the spirit of spring and all that it represents. This means not only looking on the bright side, but also looking for the potential for growth and change in any situation. Develop the resilience to weather any storm, knowing in your heart that brighter days are on the horizon. Most importantly, no matter what you have been through in the past, don’t let it discourage you from sharing your gifts with the world.
“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” ~Rumi
This week’s quote comes to us from Rumi, a Sufi mystic and poet who lived in the 13th century. Although he wrote his poetry over 800 years ago, his powerful words have truly stood the test of time. The voice he is referring to is, of course, your intuition- the silent wisdom within. Rumi believed that the heart is a gateway to the divine. That, by connecting with the innermost core of your being, you can connect with the wisdom of divinity.
How do you listen to this voice that speaks without words? To begin with it is necessary to cultivate a state of inner stillness. If your mind is busy with thoughts, feelings, worries and regrets, then it is difficult to hear what your intuition has to say. Once you allow your mind chatter to settle down, your subtle, intuitive sense can emerge. Sometimes referred to as the sixth sense, intuition is beyond rational, logical thought. Since it doesn’t use words, it communicates with images and feelings. You may recall the last time you had a “gut feeling” about something- a strong knowing, conviction or intuitive sense about what to do or about what will happen next.
Intuition is like having a dependable friend within, one that always has your best interests in mind. A truthful friend you can ask anything, knowing you will get an honest response. Next time you are faced with a difficult decision, pay attention to how each choice makes you feel on the inside. Understand that, deep down, you already know the right answer. Whichever choice makes you feel the most harmonious within, that’s the right one. By learning to trust into your intuition, you can live in accordance with your highest self, making choices that are aligned with your true purpose in life.
"Because of your smile you make life more beautiful." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
What makes you smile? One thing that everyone in the world has in common is the propensity to smile. It is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to positively impact yourself and those around you. But, what exactly is smiling and why do we do it? Why is it that people throughout the world perform the same bizarre act of baring their teeth and squinting at each other?
While there are many reasons to smile, the most obvious one is because you are happy. Your smile is a reflection of the joy you are experiencing on the inside. Pleasure is another reason to smile. Whether you are enjoying a delicious meal or receiving a really good massage, you’ll find that your mouth will naturally contort into a smile. You might smile when you feel comfortable, when you feel satisfied, or when you are connecting with others on a deep level. You are also more likely to smile when you witness beauty or perfection in the world, like a rainbow or a colorful sunset.
The funny thing about smiling is that it is appropriate in seemingly opposite situations. For example, you may smile when you feel nervous, but you may also smile with confidence. People smile when they do something exciting like skiing, but also when they reach a state of relaxation, like soaking in a hot tub. You are just as likely to smile when you are embarrassed as you are when you are proud.
When is the right time to smile? Whenever possible, really. Studies have shown that frequent smilers tend to be happier and have a more positive outlook on life. Furthermore, when you smile, your brain releases endorphins, which helps improve your mood and reduces stress. The best part about smiling is that it’s contagious, triggering others to smile in response. In this way, you can literally spread joy wherever you go. So, as the saying goes, don’t let the world change your smile, instead use your smile to change the world!
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About The Author
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.