Catrien Ross on Finding 9 Powerful Meanings in Your Smile When You Don’t Feel Like Smiling

Saturday, April 10th, 2010 - 58 Comments

Have you encountered a rough period when smiling seems almost impossible?

I just did.

Something here in Japan knocked the smile out of my life for several days.

So engulfing was the personal trauma I found it hard to sense even the slightest hint of brightness.

I lost my smile.

My innermost wisdom knows, of course, that such perception of darkness is distorted.

There can always be a doorway out to where a smile signals.

No matter how darkly I perceive my world, the reality of daylight arises in my face every morning to challenge me otherwise.

In visible manifestation, the sun appears whether or not I choose to appreciate its presence.

The light arrives in welcome regardless of my acceptance.

Embracing natural rhythms is like blinking myself out from the dimness of a self-restricting cave.

As my physical eyes open to outer realities, my inner vision, too, expands with renewed awareness.

I smile despite myself.

Once again I sense that no matter what unfolds, I need never trap myself in a shell of hardness and unfeeling that shuts out the light.

Something traumatic happened: This is a fact.

Let it flow through me.

All is darkness and sorrow: This is a perception.

Let it fall from me.

So today, please share my meditation on finding 9 powerful meanings in your smile when you don’t feel like smiling.

What the power of your S-M-I-L-E can do:

Smiling stretches muscles that lift your face, instantly stimulating your inner joy.

Smiling gets you going when your life rhythms are at their lowest ebb, releasing your energetic flow.

Smiling helps you perceive the world through new eyes, reconnecting your sense of wonder and gratitude.

Smiling spurs you to begin again, reigniting the innermost fire that fuels your visions.

What the power of your S-M-I-L-E can be:

Sometimes you smile because things are just what they are, and through all of it, life is good.

Sometimes you smile because such compassionate generosity suffuses the heart of love.

Sometimes you smile because good feelings tickle links to the best of yourself and community.

Sometimes you smile because sudden knowledge stirs awareness of extraordinary dimensions.

Your S-M-I-L-E contains unique significance and the energy of transformation:

If a bell can reverberate forever in the universe, why not your smile, too?

Are you finding powerful meanings in your smile when you don’t feel like smiling?

Please share your thoughts and let’s S-M-I-L-E together!

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58 Responses to “Catrien Ross on Finding 9 Powerful Meanings in Your Smile When You Don’t Feel Like Smiling”

  1. Catrien,

    A smile, especially when directed inwardly is a powerful thing. Beginning in the eyes, radiating down the face into the neck, into your internal organs, and your spine. Smiling into yourself like this is a wonderful way to energize, and forgive, and love yourself, and to find gratitude.

    I hope that your smile brings you beauty and power.


  2. Catrien Ross says:

    John, thank you again for your answering smile. Your comment adds a wonderful insight – a smile directed inwardly. Looking out the window just now I smiled into the tree branches as you directed, and my smile is tingling in my toes. I will remember to tap its beauty and power today. Thank you so much, John.

  3. ayo says:

    hi catrien
    how are you?
    5 reasons why you should smile
    you’ve got so much love within you and a good heart
    you are a very strong woman.
    you’ve overcome several difficulties in the past and present
    you’ve got friends and family around you
    and the most important YOU ARE CATRIEN!!!
    i also love the acronyms on smile.
    do have a lovely weekend.

  4. Catrien Ross says:

    Ayo, you master list maker, even your comment becomes an inspiring list! This is lovely – thank you so much. You have given me 5 powerful reasons to smile, and I will. You have a wonderful weekend, too.

  5. Lance says:

    Hi Catrien,
    I hope you are doing well. Moments like you experienced recently can be challenging.

    I love how you have focused on smiling. It is such a simple act, and still – one that can have such an impact on our being. What a wonderful list of what a smile can mean! And I really find that filled with so much life energy. In those challenging moments, I am going to remember this…and just smile a bit more….

  6. Catrien Ross says:

    Lance, thank you for understanding so well, and for visiting again with your insights. When you are truly challenged it can be so challenging to smile, yet as you say, this simple act can have “such an impact on our being.” Please smile more, and often, because I will be smiling, too, filled with the life energy you reminded me of today.

  7. Hilary says:

    Hi Catrien .. I hope things are easier now .. but I love the way you have multiplied those smiles so much .. just what I need – I’m going through tough times .. but I’ll overcome and get through – I laugh as I go .. it’s the only thing to do. We know things will get better .. life always has its ups and downs.

    Sunny meanders ignite love’s embers

    Thanks – made me feel a little easier .. now I must make sure the sun meanders through .. all the best for Sunday – Hilary

  8. Catrien Ross says:

    Hilary, thank you so much for visiting – welcome to my blog. Thank you, too, for your concern. Yes, things seem easier now.

    Your S-M-I-L-E is so poignant, Hilary, sunny-meanders-ignite-love’s-embers. It seems you are remembering and reconnecting with something deep within you.

    Thank you for sharing this moment with me. Please come again.

  9. Anastasiya says:

    This post definitely made me smile in the warmest and most pleasant way. Thank you so much for it!

    I know that I’ve been through the times when I lost my smile too. It was a difficult situation. I have lost my best friend tragically but at the same time my babies have just arrived into my life. Half of me wanted to grieve and be sad but the other half wanted to rejoice and smile. That situation helped realize that darkness is just part of life that comes and goes. But there is always light and sunshine waiting outside my door. I have to accept the darkness but I do not have to stay in it forever.

    Smiling is really the best cure for any darkness in life.

    Beautiful post!

  10. Catrien Ross says:

    Anastasiya, thank you for visiting again with the wise clarity of your comment. And thank you for sharing a little of your own story. Life is so often like that – brightness and darkness all mixed together – grief and joy unfolding in the same breath.

    Yes, as you say, “there is always light and sunshine waiting outside my door,” and thank goodness for this support and hope.

    Deepest thanks, too, for your insight that “I have to accept the darkness but I do not have to stay in it forever.”

    I very much appreciate your smile!

  11. Sweet meanings invite loving e-comments! You are such a candle of a person, Catrien. Shine that light, girl.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Rose, thank you for dropping by again with such a shining comment and another acronym for S-M-I-L-E. Your own candle blazes so brightly – you are a lighted inspiration.

  12. Catrien:
    What a beautiful and powerful post. Thank you for sharing it. Isn’t it amazing how things can knock us off our feet, but as soon as we can figure out how to bring light to the darkness, we are restored and often times even stronger than we were before the occurrence. Although it is challenging as we are finding our way through, knowing that all experiences are perfectly designed to give us the exact information and lessons we need, makes it all a little easier. I am so glad that you have found your smile again. Amazing post.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Sibyl, thank you for sharing your appreciation again. I especially appreciate your words, “we are restored and often times even stronger than we were before the occurrence.” And also your insight about our experiences being perfectly designed to give us exactly what we need to know and learn. It is lovely to see the answering light of your smile here.

  13. Fatima Da says:

    And our smile can be so powerful and lit up a room and it most certainly does wonders to our whole being and people around us . Awesome post and blog I found you via “the Bold Life” Blog 🙂

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Fatima, thank you for journeying here from Tess’s wonderful spot – welcome to my blog. Thank you for adding your imagery of our smile lighting up a room and transforming ourselves and others around us. Please stop by again on your blog travels.

  14. Lauren says:


    Such a powerful topic. For me, there are times when I simply must sit with the pain and let it be for awhile.

    And then, as you say so beautifully:

    “No matter how darkly I perceive my world, the reality of daylight arises in my face every morning to challenge me otherwise”.

    I remember at one of my darkest moments when I lost a loved one and so much more was happening, the only comfort I could find was a recognition that only I get to live my life.

    Somehow that felt great to me. I trusted I would find my way though, in my time, in my way. I viewed my life as a tremendous gift at that point, and realized that I got to choose, even in those moments.

    Your uplifting blog in the face of pain is inspiring. I love what Ayo said and I see it is true.

    My thoughts shall be with you.

    Warmest Regards,

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Lauren, thank you so much again for sharing your powerful perspective. Yes, sitting with the pain and accepting its inner working can also be so necessary for growth.

      You have shared so many wonderful words, especially, “I viewed my life as a tremendous gift at that point, and realized that I got to choose, even in those moments.” This is such an affirmation of the power we can tap within ourselves.

      Thank you for your smiling thoughts.

  15. Kim says:

    Dear Catrien,

    I’m sending you a warm embrace from across the miles.

    Sharing Meaningful Insights Loosens Emotions for you to embrace, accept, and allow to pass through you.

    You are wise, resilient, creative, and inspirational.

    You are loved.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Kim, thank you again for commenting with such a warm S-M-I-L-E. How wonderfully true – Sharing Meaningful Insights Loosens Emotions!

      Your love smiles strongly and clearly for me – for all of us – this bright April morning in Japan.

  16. Simultaneously Many Invoke Love (for) Energydoorways – we all do love you Catrien. Your pain is felt, but your smile is eternal. I would add to Ayo’s list: that as you inspire others, we wish you to know of our gratitude and love for you. And, I would also add, while a smile may turn the tide – and it DOES – something that makes you LAUGH will do it quicker!! Wish I could send you a pussycat joke or something totally ridiculous that would stir in you deep laughter. Sending light bubble, angel fluff

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Marian, my goodness, thank you for this outpouring of support. It is always so wonderful to see you here, and what a S-M-I-L-E you bring this time!

      I would love to laugh aloud – please do send a joke or something totally ridiculous if you feel like it.

      Meantime, with deep gratitude I accept your “light bubble angel fluff.”

      I am all smiles.

  17. Baker says:

    So glad to see you back on here. I am very impressed with your accroynms for the word SMILE. This is wonderful. Yes, we all have days where things feel very dark and challenged, and there seems to be no hope around. The moment we begin to not only smile with our mouth, but with our hearts again, we can be in a place of accpetance of where we are at, and realize this moment is not so bad after all. Blessings your way.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Baker, thank you for dropping by again with your inspirational message. Thank you especially for, “we can be in a place of acceptance of where we are at, and realize this moment is not so bad after all.” Blessings your wonderful way, too.

  18. Ray Colon says:

    Good evening, Catrien,

    I’d like to begin by saying that all people share in the knowing of the effect that our confrontations with trauma compels. I feel your frustration with the rough period that has affected your perspective, if only for a while.

    You’ve touched upon something that we’ve all experienced when we find ourselves being brought further and further into the darkness. It’s at that point, when the sadness begins to ebb, that we finally find a reason to “smile despite ourselves.”

    I feel that smiling is life-affirming and that it is also a signal to others that we can make it through whatever has been placed in our path.

    Be well,

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Ray, thank you for taking time to visit again. I very much appreciate your empathic comment and the hope you expressed in, “I feel that smiling is life-affirming and that it is also a signal to others that we can make it through whatever has been placed in our path.”

  19. Sara says:

    Catrien — Ah, a well timed post for me. I too have been struggling to find my own smile. You reminded me that even when it seems impossible to smile, something will happen that makes it irresistible.

    Be good to yourself and thank you:~)

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Sara, thank you for stopping by again to share your perceptions. I am glad the timing touched you. You be good to yourself, too. What irresistible something came along to draw out your smile again?

  20. Liara Covert says:

    Everything reveals itself according to one’s receptivity. Choosing to turn inward reconnects you with timeless inner beauty. Everything else is a distraction from this truth. It is possible to sustain concentration so that reverting to inner truth occurs spontaneously. All illusions fade out of your scope of awareness. Meditation helps. Every sensation is a teacher.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Liara, thank you very much for visiting – welcome to my blog. And deep thanks for this contemplation you share. Each sentence can be a meditation, and I especially appreciate, “Every sensation is a teacher.”

      How good it feels to be sharing this journey with you – so much brilliance and wonder unfolds each moment of our lives – the smiling light amazes.

      Please stop by this part of the world again to share your insights.

  21. Valentina says:

    Even in the darkest moment of the night, a small crack in the black lets the moonlight shine through.

    Even when we are faced with deadening sadness, a smile no matter how involuntary, lets your inner light shine through.


  22. Catrien Ross says:

    Valentina, thank you so much for dropping by – welcome to my blog. Your comment, too, is a beautiful contemplation – thank you for the imagery and hope you share. Yes, as you perceptively point out, “a smile no matter how involuntary, lets your inner light shine through.”

    I hope you will bring your smiling perceptions here again.

  23. Hi Catrien, finding reasons to smile even in trying situations will still send powerful signals to our nervous system.

    It’s easy to smile when we are in a resourceful state because our smile is outer manifestation of that state. This energy flow can also be reversed. When that happens, the positive energy being generated by our smile flows backwards and affects our state.

    It may not be enough to completely change or perception of what’s happening, but it can get things moving in that direction. Wishing the very best for you and yours.

  24. I know you were inspired by a difficult experience, Catrien, but the warmth and love in your writing today simply delighted me. There’s bountiful wisdom here, and it’s so clear that you have chosen to appreciate the sun’s presence by giving us all many reasons to smile. I feel very grounded after reading this. Thank you, Catrien!

  25. Catrien Ross says:

    Patty, your presence here again inspires me. Thank you for the warmth of your comment. It is raining heavily right now in the mountains, deepening the spring green and watering the seeds. There are so many reasons to smile. Grounding into this amazing earth feels wonderful – love nourishes and replenishes and often astonishes.

  26. Jenn says:

    Catrien, I appreciate this post so much, and this part especially resonated for me:

    Something traumatic happened: This is a fact.
    Let it flow through me. (I love the idea of opening up or becoming one with the wave) it is sacred and beautiful and yet scary for it goes against all that we have been taught! How wise spirit is, for it knows exactly what we need and becomes our inner strength! 😉

    what a beautiful affirmation here! “As my physical eyes open to outer realities, my inner vision, too, expands with renewed awareness.”

    another possible affirmation: I smile despite myself.

    thank you for this lovely post! Your site is lovely!
    hugs, Jenn

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Jenn, thank you so much for visiting again to share the wisdom of your affirmation – “How wise spirit is, for it knows exactly what we need and becomes our inner strength!”

      It’s lovely to see you here on my site – please come often to share insights.

  27. Patricia says:

    The beautiful pictures and the play on words just lifts the corners of my eyes and lips into warmth. Thank you so much for sharing this post and how you lightened your spirits and shared your know how.

    I am not experiencing a trauma, just making a huge transition internally, I decided to end each day by thinking my gratitude prayers before sleeping and then when I open my eyes in the morning light I write them down – each time I keep a smile on my face…during the day I chop word and carry water with a smile….this along with making the taking the daily steps is helping me to regain my smile into a more permanent position…

    So enjoyed your writing and word play. Thank you for sharing.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Patricia, thank you, it is such a joy to see your striking scarab symbol again. Thank you for sharing your appreciation and a welcome peek into your own life affirmations. Looking back on each day in a spirit of thanks – gratitude prayers, as you express them – can really ground us in the generosity of our lives, no matter what our daily tasks might be.

      Here in the mountains I really do chop wood and carry water!

      I am glad you enjoyed the play on words – please come again to share the joy of yours.

  28. Catrien, Thank you so much for the wonderful post. I’m so sorry to hear about the sorrow you’re dealing with. I lost my father not long ago and it was, and sometimes still is, hard to smile. I love the many acronyms you have come up with for SMILE. That made me smile!

  29. Catrien Ross says:

    Angela, thank you for stopping by again with your lovely comment. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your father – at some inner level we seem to carry such deep loss within us always.

    Thank you for expressing your enjoyment of my S-M-I-L-E acronyms.

    Have a wonderful week, with smiles!

  30. Catrien –

    Brilliant post and you made me smile… My favourite acronym was


    Splendid Magnificence is underrated these days. Hope your smile has well and truly returned!


  31. Catrien Ross says:

    Phil, how splendid to see you here again – thank you for bringing another smile with your comment.

    Yes, Splendid Magnificence is definitely underrated these days, so I hope you will let yours smile brilliantly for all of us.

    Smiles to you!

  32. Catrien,

    Simple and so true. I will remember to smile. Lately, i have developed the habit of smiling every time i pick the phone. The habbit is healing my soul.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  33. Catrien Ross says:

    Christopher, thank you for remembering to smile here again. In Japan, people often bow into the phone, just as they would when meeting the person face to face. Have you noticed how smiling into the phone changes the quality of the call, for both people? There is definitely an uplifting sense of healing – a soul response. Thank you for sharing.

    Smiles across the web miles!

  34. I like to smile in difficult places…stuck in traffic, check out line, waiting rooms etc. If I can share a smile the place takes on a different energy!

  35. Catrien Ross says:

    Tess, thank you for dropping by to comment again – although the bright smile of your gravatar is not here today. It is not surprising that such brightness can change the energy of all the difficult places you mention. Thank you for sharing as you uplift wherever you go. Enjoy your weekend!

  36. Such a sad but beautiful post,
    My smile travels to your blog from your words, and
    It’s a pleasure to read such a poetic post.
    Love of others, and from others, will always lift and
    Engulf our hearts. I hope your smile returns soon Catrien.

  37. Catrien Ross says:

    Steven, I am smiling as I read your loving message. Thank so much for visiting again with your encouraging comment and your beautiful words, “Love of others, and from others, will always lift and engulf our hearts.” I am reminded again that there is so much to smile about.

  38. Davina says:

    Hi Catrien.
    Reading through the comments, I see that you are feeling better now. I’m glad. I too enjoyed reading your acroynms for the word smile. Some of the best posts I’ve read have been written by people who’ve just been through a rough time. Interesting how so much light can come from those dark periods. Sometimes it’s okay to not have to smile too. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to always wear a smile, when sometimes we can connect on so many other deeper levels with one another through these periods.

  39. Catrien Ross says:

    Davina, thank you for visiting again with your warm wishes. I very much appreciate your wisdom of, “sometimes it’s okay to not have a smile too.” Yes, we can connect so deeply on other levels, as you say. Thank you for connecting today.

  40. Mark says:

    I love your thoughts on SMILE and how you can bring the intention forward even when we feel enveloped by darkness.

  41. Catrien Ross says:

    Mark, thank you so much for visiting – welcome to my blog. Your words add a quiet smile here this still morning after rain – thank you.

    Please drop by again.

  42. Farouk says:

    hey Catrien, how are you?
    loved your post
    why didn’t you post new ones lately ?

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Dear Farouk:

      Thank you for your lovely concern. I will be posting in 2012. Hope to see you here – Catrien.

  43. Marty says:

    Some lovely use of acronym there.
    When trauma hits, I wonder if we are conditioned to appear miserable because that is what we think people expect. The truth is as you say, we can choose our emotions.

    • Catrien Ross says:

      Dear Marty:

      My reply took almost one year. But here it is. Hope you will choose to visit again in 2012. Happy New Year to you! Catrien

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