Several years ago when I lived in Modi’in, I belong to a weekly ladies group from Project Seed [for Torah learning]. My chavruta,[learning partner], a young woman from Kiryat Sefer and I studied the Tehillim. I always had a fascination with its powerful words and after learning it’s deep message, my Tehillim came alive.
At one session, the organizer of our group gave us an inspirational, self help book called Keep Smiling by Avraham Tzvi Schwartz.
When I have more on my plate or just feeling down, together with my Tehillim, this book gives me a real pick-up. I have read and reread its words many times, and each time I come away with something else.
In the introduction the first line says so much. We all have difficult things to do everyday. The common advice in such situations is ‘grit your teeth’ but, there is a better way to handle disturbing and difficult situation. Smile.
The introduction goes on to say that Hashem wants our lives to be pleasurable and it is up to us to make it happen. If we think, this situation is a test for me and it will eventually enrich me materially, physically and make me a better person. With this thought it is easier to keep smiling.
Smiling is very contagious. A good morning or boker tov with a warm smile can make your family members, co-workers or neighbors start their day by returning the smile and saying "same to you".
For years the discussion of how many muscles does it take to smile or do we use more or less muscles smiling than frowning has made the rounds. The consensus is that the experts agree to disagree.
There are 43 muscles in the face and many say that no one has really come up with a definitive number for how many muscles it takes to smile or frown. Remember one person's smile is another person's smirk. Smiles vary from a wide smile cheek to cheek, a half smile [the smirk] or a short smile to show politeness. And on occasion we even fake a smile.
And if we use the muscles in our eyes, mouth and forehead to show expression when we smile or frown, once again the number of muscles used changes.
What I really enjoy about my book are the short sayings in a poster form that introduce the chapter or next paragraph. For example in a chapter about taking control of yourself one poster says: To build your personality, you need discipline. Another says: Act with joy and double your strength.
In a chapter about setting goals for yourself one poster says: Give power to your prayers. Have Goals. Another poster suggests having a keyword.
Life is not a bowl of cherries as the saying goes. Everyone has their own package. Trust in Hashem and gain the freedom to love your life is the way my book ends.
Until next time…….feel free to comment and share.