"Swallow your smile"

I was traveling in Bali a few years ago, and through some… serendipity, synchronicity, divine play of the universe… however you want to look at it… I came to visit a Balinese healer. I was seeking relief for my chronic sinus infections and seemingly low immune system. 

This healer was gentle and had a radiant warmth. I'd seen an acupuncturist before, but something about this felt extra special. Similar to a reflex point, he pressed at points on my feet and toes. I didn't feel much, and then at one point, it felt like he had taken a knife to my toe and stabbed up my leg. I yelped, and he said, “Ah, Heart.” 

My body was shocked from the pain that had just electrified my body, but my heart didn’t hurt. Heart? What does he mean? 

He brought over to a mirror. “Look at yourself in the mirror and Smile.” 

Smiling feels natural for me…. so I did this. 

Then he followed up with. “Grab your smile in the mirror, open your mouth, and swallow it. Swallow your smile while you wrap your arms around you and hug yourself.” 

I remember laughing a bit… definitely feeling confused. 

He continued:

“Swallow your smile, deep into your solar plexus. The smile will heal your organs, the smile will heal your heart, then the smile will open your mind. If your mind is worried, it cannot take care of your body. Open mind will heal the organs. You have hurt and scars on your heart. Smiling will heal your heart. It will Open your heart.” 

I thought I’d hear that I needed to eat more quinoa, get more sleep, maybe drink more green juice. I felt like he’d hit something deep, something deeply unexpected.

Simply put, Bali cracked my heart wide open. It is a place of remembering to tend to my pain, to be vulnerable enough to open my heart wider, and to be courageous enough to protect it consciously (versus on around the clock lockdown). Conscious boundaries are a gateway to true intimacy, and heart centered living began when I chose to say yes to healing this pain and unlocking my own heart from within.

This Balinese healer gave me a wake up call that my heart was hurting, and my body and mind were responding. My heart was asking for love, and I was invited to start tending to my own well being. To admit first that this was terrifying: I was actually aching to heal and to cradle the holy ache in my heart. Yes, some scars may last an entire lifetime, but what amazes me is the beautiful resilience of my own heart.

I began the journey standing in front of my mirror, day after day, literally: smiling, picking up my smile, and swallowing it.  It felt fairly awkward at first. Now, I swallow that smile like a wholesome, nutrient-filled vitamin. The same smile I was so capable of sharing OUT, now holds the gift that fills me up with an unparalleled, inner love. 

What if you remembered that you are not alone if you are feeling some kind pain? What’s holding you back from trusting more deeply in the power if your own heart’s growth? The heart is incredibly resilient and innately intertwined to our greater well being. 

What are the whispers of your own heart?

What is aching to be tended to in your own life? 

Where are you holding yourself back from greater love in your life?

What is your heart's untapped potential, it's unbridled love? 

I hear it so often, that people are craving love, aching to feel that deeper connection. To truly feel, I realized I must first be willing to feel it all, not just what I could pick and choose. 

Every single one of us has experienced pain, possibly even some kind of wrenching, heart break. And What if we could also unlock the heart to also feel exuberant joy, boundless freedom, immense love. Be courageous enough to let yourself explore your inner smile. Radiate from the inside out.   Wherever you are on your journey — what if it began with just one moment in front of your mirror, one smile, one huge, one breath of joy, one little reminder reminder, of “hey YOU, I’ve got you!” 

Swallow your smile :)