Smilin’ For What

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”

Maya Angelou

I used to give my smiles away much more freely and willingly when I was a child. Compliments on it were constant. People loved to see it, so I gave them what they wanted. What they expected, whether they deserved it or not. As I aged my smile was flashed much more selectively. You had to work hard to earn a genuine one from me.

Today I smile because I’m happy with myself, at peace with my situations and content with my space. Being thankful and grateful for everything. Understanding the lessons and blessings in “good” and “bad” situations. The act of smiling actually has the ability to activate neurotransmitter and neuropeptide release. In other words, we can fake a smile and fool our body into thinking we’re in a better mood than we are, which in turn helps us feel better (fake it till you make it).

Right now, I don’t have to fake anything in that regard. These kittens that I rescued have been a source of smiles, laughs and love. I can’t help but smile, even when I’m fussing about the sneak attack of my feet as I walk through the hallway. Things you hear us (animal scientists, biologists, animal lovers) say about therapeutic affects animals/pets have on mental health conditions (stress, anxiety, depression) are true.

*May is designated as National Pet Month to celebrate the symbiotic relationship between people and their pets.

In the midst of a pandemic, complete with possible food shortages and resource scarcity, decreased employment and homeschooling, I found four new reasons to smile…

…and a month later, just when I thought my heart would explode with feline love, another kitten emerged from my shed.

Somehow, she was not detected during the kitten rescue 6 weeks ago. Not somehow, animals are resilient and have amazing instinctual abilities. My children left the shed open and I guess she thought she would make a run for it (past my dog who patrols the yard). Everything about the birth, retrieval, fostering, them surviving and thriving is a miracle. I couldn’t be happier for them to all be reunited and alive; I’m just as honored to have been chosen to be their human mother.

Their biological mother lost her life protecting them and hid them where she thought or knew they would be safe. I take my duties as caregiver extremely serious. My skills and talents of animal intensive care and my ability to administer TLC (Thumper Loving Care) have served them well. Soon, some of them will be going to new homes and I know I’ll be sad to see them leave…but for now I’m smiling.

Now, when you see my smile…

It is organic, intentional and purposeful.

I’m expressing admiration, adoration, pride, pleasure and/or love.

I’m recalling a joyous and memorable event, feeling or thought.

I’m being my true, fabulous, shining self.

I’m doing what I love.

It’s the only outlet left to allow the overflow of joy within me to show itself.

I challenge you to find 3 reasons to smile each day; morning, noon and night.

  1. My son was born today!
  2. The kittens are so cute when they’re sleep!
  3. I’m Thumper!

See, not difficult at all!!!

Take a minute, be still, look around or close your eyes and look inside . What’s the first thing that comes to mind?..be thankful for it and smile.

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