Friday, November 1, 2013

From The Heart

Sometimes in a yoga class, the teacher will invite you to smile during class. They will say, "I invite you to lift the corners of your mouth."
I don't want to lift the corners of my mouth, and so I refuse. I refuse to slap a smile on my face during yoga. The last thing I want to do is worry about the expression on my face. Twice in one week I have been told how obedient I am. Once from a yoga teacher, who called me a "good student" because I will only go into the advanced version of a pose if the teacher gives the option to do so, and again by my therapist, who called me a "good patient". I try so hard to "be good." I draw the line at being told how to feel. There are many times while practicing yoga that I feel a smile spontaneously spread across my face.  That is a gift! I also know there are times when my expression looks pained, and I appreciate being told to relax my jaw, or soften between my eyes. Please, don't tell me to smile! All my life I've worked to be pleasant and compliant, even when I didn't particularly feel pleasant.
We all wear masks. We have our professional work faces, and our blank, grocery store faces. It is work to be aware of each facial expression, and why should we have to constantly be aware of pleasing other people with our faces? If I smile at you, I want you to know that I mean it, and you know what?... I can tell you that my smiles always come from the heart.