Day 19: Your Inner Smile
Welcome to Day 19 of 21 Days on the Mountain. In our Power of Pause practice today, we contemplate the joy of Spring Alpine flowers.
Flowers are really important symbols at all life events, from birth right through to death. Different types of flowers can evoke different emotions for us – from the joy in seeing those first shoots of early daffodils, to the romance of beautiful roses or the abundance of an enormous sunflower, each bloom can help us connect with our feelings, our happy memories and our inner smile.
It’s an act of kindness to listen and respond to our own emotions with Fearless Compassion, to listen inside ourselves, to acknowledge, accept and release our fears and develop the capacity to understand ourselves and others.
So join me for today’s video as we practise this self-compassion and connect with the emotions that arise from visualising the beauty of flowers, and tune into the emotions that are evoked as you cultivate your inner smile.
Hello and welcome back to 21 Days On The Mountain, a chance for us to create space, and take a breath for a few minutes. So today on this gloriously joyful Spring day in the French Alps, the sun is shining brightly, it’s really quite hot, and I feel as if I need to speak quite loudly above the joyful sound of bird song. It’s as if everybody today, including our neighbours, and our neighbour’s children that you might hear, is out enjoying this day. And I’m standing in our front garden with a lilac tree on my left, a cherry tree on my right, both just coming into their blossom, into their flower, a little bit later here in the French Alps than perhaps elsewhere in the world. Spring comes a little later.
And as I stand here I’m looking into our back garden, seeing a bank of daffodils, tulips and other colour from other flowers that we’ve planted or were here already when we moved in eight years ago. And I’m reminded of – in all the seasons, but mainly in the Spring, Summer and Autumn – of all the work, of all the gardening that we’ve done, in quite a large garden, to bring it into its best, to allow it the space, to feed the earth, to dig and to turn the soil, and to allow as best we can each shrub and each flower and each plant to breathe and blossom and grow.
And I look at the flowers, it reminds me that, you know for thousands of years, flowers have been really important symbols at all life events, haven’t they, from birth right through to death. Each flower symbolizes perhaps a different emotion, and as we look at the flower we can’t help but feel something. So when I look into a flower and I look into the heart of the flower, it’s as if that flower is connecting me to all other human beings. It’s as if that flower in its beauty, in its vulnerability, in its transience, is reflecting our nature, our human nature.
And if when I look into the flower I find myself smiling, it’s as if, in looking at that flower, I’m finding my inner smile. And what if the whole world were able to look into a flower and find, each one of us, an inner smile that enabled us to see how connected we all are, through the flower before us. If you like, looking more deeply into that flower and seeing our universal nature. So as I look into our garden today, at our garden and into our garden, I can’t help at this time but look more deeply into the symbolism of all of this. And what I love about that practice, is how it helps me to cultivate my inner smile, somewhere here.
So in our practice today, in our silence today, which is going to be a little longer than before, I invite you to look at a flower or visualize a flower in your mind, or find a picture of a flower, or imagine a garden that you’ve once visited full of flowers, or anything where you can call to mind a single flower or a bunch of flowers or a time when you were given a flower, or a time when you gave a flower and how good that felt, to either give or receive. Call to mind the experience or the vision of a flower or a bunch of flowers. In this silence together, call that to mind and notice the emotion that that evokes. And if you can, cultivate your inner smile. Whatever other emotion arises, look more deeply into the inner smile within you.
So remembering our pause practice; pause, focusing into this space between our sternum and our navel, and breathing consciously in and out of our body. Breathing in, I bring the inner smile into my body. Breathing out, I allow that smile to blossom. So as I always do I’m going to close my eyes to help me concentrate. I invite you to do the same, or to look at a flower, or a bunch of flowers if you prefer. Let’s enjoy this silence together for three minutes today as we cultivate our inner smile.
And when you’re ready, on your next breath, gently open your eyes.
So did you manage to find your inner smile? And if for some reason today, that’s hard, remember it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. So try again another time, and on those days when it’s really hard, picture a flower. Find a flower and look deeply inside it.
Thank you for joining me here today. I look forward to being with you again tomorrow. Thank you.