Smile, its Contagious by Brie Michalik
On Wednesday, I had a “bad” day. Honestly, one of the most emotionally intense days I’ve had in quite some time. Long story short, someone really hurt my feelings. We’ve all been there.
That same Wednesday, I had some banking to do. Upon walking in, my banker shook his head and said to me, “You are always just so… positive. It’s annoying!” I understood the latter part was a joke. My response was about how this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this. I’ve probably run into that comment over 100 times. We ended up talking vaguely about my bad day, and I learned he had been in a very similar situation. He continued the conversation by asking, “So… what was with the huge smile?”
I told him, “I decided long ago, I couldn’t change the actions of others. But I do have the power to not let those actions ruin my moment, or my day.”
We agreed it was a solid life decision.
The greatest healing Yoga has provided me is just this- being happy regardless of circumstance. By continuing to smile and embracing the good in the world that day, I managed to change my mood around. By Friday, I was having the time of my life. On Friday, I danced with a very old man, Brian, in aisle four at Lucky’s Market. We were hysterically laughing. That was actually the most meaningful Yoga practice of my day. Cool dude. I hope to run into him again sometime.
My Yoga journey is slightly backwards compared to most. Not all, but most. I’ve found many people get introduced to Yoga through the physical practice. A doctor, coworker, or someone likes Yoga and explains why we should all do it. We see a picture online and think, “dang, I’d like to be that flexible/strong/etc.” My Yoga life began with meditation. I didn’t practice any asana for maybe two or three years.
I was ten. I decided I was going to be a Buddhist. It’s cute thinking back to that time. I no longer would consider myself Buddhist by any means, but I have a lot of respect for Buddhist teachings and would recommend reading up on them. I still have my collection of Buddhas scattered through my home, because they have helped me through a lot and I enjoy having them smiling at me everyday.
I meditated because I was quite stressed. Yes, at ten. It’s a long story. Of course, at ten, there was only so much structure but that’s a beautiful thing, your Yoga is yours, my Yoga is mine. My ten-year-old self would light Nag Champa, rub my Buddha’s belly for good luck and explore deep breaths. I would be quite distracted and I wasn’t at all comfortable, so I would lie down. I’m sure some of you have been in a class of mine where we start on our backs with our hands on our belly or ribs. This to me is the foundation of inner peace, simply because it was the start of my path.
Yoga made me less bitter about the world. The deeper I got into my meditation practice I learned more about myself. I became confident I would have a great life. I found the basic goodness inside of me and decided I would somehow discover greatness, even if it took decades. I learned I was in control of my own happiness and no matter what my outer circumstances, I had and continue to have the choice to smile, the choice to go outside and appreciate the beauty in the world. We all do.
-Om namah shivaya-I bow with respect to my highest self-