SMILE (Seriously Now?)

I would be less than authentic to say that anxiety has not been an intruder in my life since March 16, 2020. That was the day that the stories, the rumors, the speculation about this bully named Corona suddenly became real.

It was a Monday. I was at work. Already a bit apprehensive on the 'goings on' in our community as it relates to this novel virus. I was strategically placing disinfectant around common areas of our offices. Making sure restrooms were clean. Taking care to secure sanitizer in public spaces. I am sure that some thought I was overreacting. Some even downplayed the impact on our world. My inner me remained unsettled, slightly apprehensive, on alert.

It was on that day, March 16, 2020 that life paused - for millions. Unexpected - yes. Necessary - absolutely. Needed - more than I knew at the time.

What I have learned in the past 73 days is that life albeit constantly offering unexpected twists, is a journey that is ever-changing. The best made plans can be derailed in an instant. The people you love can be out of arms reach. Youth is filled with dreams about 'what you want to be when you grow up'. Then you grow up. Some people quit dreaming - some give up and take life as it is. I can't count the times I have heard the sentiment "it is, what it is". Really? Does it have to be?

When you grow up - those dreams, so vivid and clear, can be clouded by the challenges of daily life. Dreams can be withdrawn by circumstance, erased by disappointment, overhauled by negativity. Dreams that once gave us life - now snuffed out by perceived current reality.

Yup. Life gets hard. Sometimes.

People tell us to stay positive. Look on the 'bright side'. Check out the silver lining. Pray. Keep focused. All good pointers to head us in the right direction. Yet sometimes easier said than actually accomplished. I've been there. Even on the foggy days, the dark days, the challenging days - I somehow find time to SMILE!

That's it Lisa? Yes. SMILE peeps! I'll break it down like this:

S -top. Those thoughts, those feelings - we don't need that energy. Staying on that course is a familiar trip to 'not-that-life'-ville. Who really wants to be there? I want to exist in a place where there is (for the most part) peace.

M-oment. Take a pause and look around. Is what we really want - being masked by this current reality-moment? If we think about a storm where dark clouds roll through only to be replaced by sun minutes, sometimes hours or days later. The point is they always move on.

I-ntrospect. We have mirrors for reasons. We have the ability to start or restart our direction within the next second, the next minute. When we get caught in the nets that others draw out for us to fall into. We can easily loose sight on our ability to create a life worth living. To be intentional and efficacious.

L-augh. Things can be bad. Yes sir! But if we can carve out a spot within the hurt to find what's good and and remedy the pain with a laugh - often times we can begin to crawl away from the negativity. Sometimes slowly - other times it can be a springboard back to the good.

When we can manage to have these four elements of personal reflection co-exist -

E-xhale! Breathing is fundamental and is the essential key to life. It can settle the soul, calm the spirit, and help you to reset. It takes us back to basics.

So yes, seriously now, let us find time to SMILE!

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