“Turn your frown upside down, daddy.”
While I was meditating this morning, a daily practice I restarted last year as a way of mitigating some of the stress and anxiety brought on by our global pandemic, my daughter touched my hand and whispered this phrase into my ear.
Not surprisingly, it worked.
I became immediately mindful of the tension I was wearing on my face, unbeknownst to me but obvious to my daughter, and I relaxed and smiled.
She let go of my hand and went back to playing.
Throughout the rest of my meditation, as I noticed my mind drifting away from my breath, I also observed the smile that this little girl put on my face drifting away as well.
As I re-centered and refocused my attention to my breath, I did the same with my smile.
It was a healthy and timely reminder, not only of the fact that our children observe and experience everything around them, all of it affecting and influencing them in ways none of us fully understands, but also that happiness requires intention.
We are not guaranteed permanent and uninterrupted joy in this life.
We have to work for it and we have to work on it.
This means working on ourselves, not just for ourselves, but also for all of those who are influenced and affected by our presence, our demeanor, and the energy we are putting into the world.
Happiness, joy, and contentment do not just come to us.
They require intention and effort.
Happiness, joy, and contentment are our responsibility to acquire, maintain, and to work our way back to when we find ourselves drifting away from our center.