Friday, May 7, 2010

The Art of Smiling

If you cry well.
The art of smiling is, like all arts, a practiced skill. And it is in direct proportion to how well you let yourself cry. One cannot exist without the other. Smiling and crying. They are the ying and the yang. The white that wouldn't  know light without the black. Laughter that has never know tears is false at worst, and shallow at best. Can you smile well if you've never really let yourself cry?

The same is true even for characters in books. Without the angst we cannot relate. But true smiling that rises like dawn after the witching small hours of night is full of truth. That kind of smile holds all of the human condition and still chooses to show itself in the moment. It is a smile you can smile back at. Smile with. And smile because of. 

If you look past perfection.
It is a smile in the silliness of little things. The ability to appreciate feathers, even if the fall in the mud. And butter flies, though they live such a short time. It is the baby that sucks his toes and the toddler with cake all over her face. And your walls. It is the tickle from your husband, though he leaves his stubble in your sink. It is the cuddle from your best friend. The a cup of tea with your Mum. Even though both are human. Imperfect. Flawed. Just like you. And there in lies the art of smiling.

A smile breeds in the reality of imperfection. Once you know what it is to grieve, you can know what is to laugh. Each day baths us in at least one moment of just being. And if you catch that moment, really hold it against your body, it might just be soft enough to practice the art of smiling.

What about you? What can you share about the art of smiling?

31 comments:

  1. What a cute post. And so true. The people we love most can make us smile or cry in the blink of an eye.

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  2. The more you perfect the art of smiling, the more smiles you receive in return.

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  3. Great post and I tell you, the picture you chose gave me my first smile of the morning. :)

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  4. oh, what a great reminder! very inspiring, to smile and appreciate the little things. thank you!

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  5. Eeek. Well....I agree about needing to know angst and stuff, but...this is where the eek comes in. I do NOT cry well. It's something I learned to hold in. However, I smile a LOT. I love smiling and I love laughing. I don't feel like my smiles are fake, even though my smiling and crying are def. not in proportion.
    So hmmmm. An interesting post. :-)
    The little things are very important.

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  6. What a beautiful post and very timely. I was making a goal this week to smile. A goal! Crazy. I've been seeing only grey skies lately. But maybe, just maybe, I haven't really looked, and have had my eyes closed to the moment. Thanks!

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  7. I love when the smile bubbles up when I least expect it. My hubby is quite good at getting me to smile, even when I don't feel like it. Babies almost always make me smile.
    Karen

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  8. True, and so well put, as always. It's the little unexpected moments of humor from characters that often strike us as real.

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  9. You're right. Smiling is an art. One that requires constant practice. I love unexpected smiles, those that sneak up on you and make you giggle, especially when no one else understand why. Private smiles, like the ones I share with my husband across a private room. Silly smiles with my nieces and nephews when we're supposed to have our eyes closed for prayer.

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  10. I think it's your best accessory! I never leave home without it. ;)

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  11. Great post! It's the shadows in life that bring out the light. One without the other wouldn't be worth nearly as much. It's the balance between the two that makes life - and fiction - interesting.

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  12. I think sometimes people underestimate the power of smiles. A well-timed smile can really change the course of someones day--and it makes that little gesture worth it!

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  13. It's sort of how I feel about the weekends. As much as I want EVERY day to be the weekend, if that were really true, I wouldn't appreicate weekends nearly as much as I do now.

    Or feeling healthy. Sometimes it takes a nasty cold or an injured back to really appreciate being healthy.

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  14. I can laugh OR cry over very minute things and I do them both a lot. :)

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  15. Oooh, how fun, specially the Cheerio smile!
    Hmmm. A giddiness fills me at God's gift of grace and allows me to giggle and smile at little things, like a crooked part, a dog's funny howl.

    Like you discussed, it's the little things, but there's a big thing behind my happiness!

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  16. "And if you catch that moment, really hold it against your body, it might just be soft enough to practice the art of smiling."

    *sigh* So beautiful, Tabitha!

    Have a great weekend! :-)

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  17. If you do it right, it's contagious!

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  18. thank you all for the comments. i am glad there are so many fellow smilers. The tears are precious too :)

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  19. "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." ~Steel Magnolias

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  20. Tabitha,
    There's something about you thats needs more than words to express...in the meanwhile i would like to call you 'Sunshine'!

    Tears....how they free us!!

    Somebody has built a TajMahal out of it.

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  21. When my kids smile, I smile, too. Try it, it's a proven fact! :)

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  22. Looking for my husband and finding him playing in a big sandpit with my kids - that made me smile today :)

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  23. Another lovely and thoughtful post, Tab. For me it's been a journey of understanding that refusing one feeling effectively stops them all. So feeling sadness is essential to truly feeling happiness. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

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  24. I love the very first line: "The art of smiling is, like all arts, a practiced skill." Never thought of smiling in that way. But it's true. This post has opened doors to my soul of which I didn't even knew existed until now. Sometimes life can get so serious and so involved, I forget to smile; even in the little things.

    PS: Glad you found me!! Thank you so very much for stopping by and joining.

    HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Spoil yourself girl :)

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  25. I'm known for my smile. I get compliments often on how quickly it comes to my face and how it spreads to my eyes. My smile is my warm greeting, my invitation for you to talk to me and be my friend. I'm smiling at you now.

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  26. What a beautiful post and I love the picture, it made me smile!!!

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  27. Smile, though you feel like crying la la la

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  28. And if you catch that moment, really hold it against your body, it might just be soft enough to practice the art of smiling."

    I LOVED this! Smiling is an art- the only difference is everyone have the tools to make it :)

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  29. I'm a man, milady. I don't cry often, or well. But I seem to find plenty to smile about nonetheless. Even if sometimes it's only at the irony of things.

    A lovely post, as always, good lady.

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