A Year after the Smile Project

 

Rise Above The Clouds

Written in November 2015

A year has come and gone and a lot has changed. 2015 to me was a year reserved for self-discovery. The purpose of this year was to become comfortable in who I am, what I want to be and where I want to go. And to find these answers not in others, but in myself, alone. I consider this year to be the year in which I opened up spaces to not just feel emotions but to make myself realize how every life event impacts me internally and how it changes the way I feel. And I did this by observing myself from far away as I went through everyday life. I tried to keep myself separate, completely separate from what my mind said and immediately, I saw amazing results. Every time I came across something that made me feel miserable, I viewed my internal feelings in a movie-like format through the New Insight meditation I wrote about last year. It made me see solutions. It made me an observer in my own life. I was no longer just a sufferer of events but also an observer, and that changed everything.

When I began the smile project last year, it was the second thing I had done in my life which didn’t make any sense to my brain at all. Analytically speaking, it seemed like the most useless thing to do.

“Who does that anyway? Recording things that make you smile? What a loser! Must not have anything better to do in life.”

I remember these noises originating from my own head very vividly. I remember them because I had listened to them all my life and still felt unaccomplished and unhappy. So I broke through that by doing something that my mind thought was completely useless. And immediately, a new world of hope and love appeared in front of my eyes. It was the most magical experience. It wasn’t easy though.

I realized that negative events have much more impact on me than the positive ones. When something good happens, I am not as happy about it. But when something goes wrong, I am often lost in questioning my abilities. Let me explain with an example from my smile project. Last December, I got a $60 raise. It was pretty small and I wasn’t really dancing around about it. I was questioning whether that is big enough to be celebrated and whether I should include that in my smile project or not. Eventually, I decided to. Afterwards, I kept thinking about my hesitation and did some analysis.

I asked myself how would I have acted if my pay was decreasing by the same amount. My immediate answers pointed fingers at my abilities. I realized that I would have raised questions such as,

“Why is this happening to me?
What am I doing wrong?
Am I not good enough?
Am I not performing well at work?”

But then I stopped and asked myself why am I not thinking the exactly opposite when the money in my pocket is increasing? Why are my thoughts now saying, “What can you do with an extra $60 per month anyways? Buy yourself a few more lunches?” and not

“Omg, you must be doing really really well at work.
You must be great.
Everyone must love your work.
OMG!! You are so awesome.”

I wondered about that for a while and realized that there is something completely strange here. I observed my behaviour in other events too and found the same thing repeating itself. I realized that I let the bad weigh me down but do not let the good make me feel better.  A kind bus driver vs a rude one. Which one I remember? The rude one. I mean how can you forget someone who is so rude? You can though, I realized. By feeling the kindness of one human being more the rudeness of the other. By letting that kindness get to your heart much faster than the rudeness. I carried on this observational experiment for about 2-3 months and whenever my mind went to rant on and on about how terrible this world was, I corrected myself repeatedly by providing examples from things that had made me smile and people who were kind to me. What I realized was that two things happen everyday:

  1. The things we see as “bad”
  2. And the things we see as “good”

However, what happens at certain points in life is that we start focusing on the “bad” more and keep convincing ourselves that this is just how the world is. And that’s not true. We need to have the energy left in us to be able to see the both and carry on only with things that make us feel awesome about ourselves, the people we love and the world. That is it. So it took me a lot of time and energy to fight against my mind and correct myself whenever I went off the track and said, “Life sucks.” A phrase I had used repeatedly in life like people chanting Om Namah Shivaye in a temple everyday. I had no idea why I felt that way but something definitely felt off and that is why I had been searching for the answers for years.

After a few months of fighting my mind, I had it all straightened out. If a building is falling on you, there’s not much you can do rather than running. But even after all your efforts to get out of there, you get trapped, it’s not your fault. Life is going to happen and sometimes you’ll feel completely stuck but it’s not the end of the world.

Even to this day, when I get too caught up in thoughts, I try to remind myself of all that’s gone well throughout the day rather than the one event that’s bothering me. Even better, I try to go into complete silence with my own body and breath and see what my heart says in this silence. After I finished off the smile project on my site last year in December, I continued with it for a few months, first at the daily level, then weekly, then monthly and then seasonally. I have been out of touch with writing about it in the past few months but there is one thing I never forget:

“No matter what happens in life, you must always smile.”

So I do that. I have to cry sometimes of course but at the end of it all, I know I must try to smile because that is the only way to live a happy life. A smile is it! And since I am flower anyway, it is in my hereditary nature to smile. And to smile so widely that it reaches the depth of people’s hearts, regardless of whether they want it to reach there or not. To me, that is Love. Pure Love.

If there is one thing I must convey to the rest of the world through this experience on my own, it is this:

“To reach true love and hold it in your arms day after day after day, you must rise above your thoughts and reach your heart. That’s where freedom, love and happiness are.”

I will be opening a Smile Project Program sometime in the future to help others do the same. If you are interested in getting help to change your life around, feel free to sign up on my Programs page and you will be notified when the program opens.

Live like a flower,

IshKishMish


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