Smiling, gratitude, and other creepy things

Knock, Knock. . .

Who’s there? . . . 

Belay? . . .

Belay who? . . . 

NO!  For the 9th time, it’s belay ON!

OK, stupid, but made you smile. 

I recently did this 30 day challenge sponsored through a podcast that I listen to called The Art of Charm (  The idea is to help individuals develop better personal and business relationship skills. (Yes, I know, I need way more than just a 30 day challenge.  Baby steps, ok?)  Anyway, challenge #7 was to practice smiling.  Not Mona Lisa amateur style grins. We’re talking super model, cheeky, pearly whites reflecting the lights, ear-to-ear smiles. (The secret, according to Tyra Bank, is in the eyes.)  The point though was that researchers had found that the act of smiling increases an individual’s personal pleasure; which then of course, passes on to others.  (I decided to practice on a medical student in my office the other day. She said is just made me look even more creepy!  Oh well, keep working on it.)

My own personal failings aside, our final value from our B.L.I.S.S. acrostic is SMILE.  Smiling conveys a feeling of satisfaction, of joy, and of gratitude.  Smiling is the natural physical manifestation of our internal dialog telling us ‘Life is Good’.  

We live in a world that has become obsessed with complaining and blaming. The weather is always too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry.  Our leaders are too liberal or too conservative and either never take action or always jump the gun.  Coaches always seem to send in the worse plays at the most important points in the game; but what difference does it make because violence and disease are going to be the end of our generation anyway. And of course the problem is that no one really cares, work ethics are non-existent, everyone is entitled, leaders just care about padding their pocket books, and no one is willing to fight for the future of the environment, or our youth, or our God given rights. 

I’m not saying these aren’t issues. They are. And they are important issues. We need to have discussions on them. The challenge for us in 2017 though, is that now they are before us 24/7. Facebook, the nightly news, Hollywood, our universities, presidential tweets and the Oprah Network.  Everywhere we turn, someone is telling us how we are all doomed. And so, unlike other generations (who have also predicted doom based on their own events at the times), we seldom get any respite from the constant barrage of negativity.

Which is part of what I love about climbing. It offers us that needed break from all of the bad news. It gives us opportunity to have fun, to be grateful for the moment; for the reality that we, unlike our forefathers, are not fighting for our lives, or watching our children starve, or hiding in caves from invading conquerers. That in fact, we have so very much to be thankful for: from prosperity to health care, from reliable internet to available transportation, from education to entertainment to . . . yep, rock climbing. Unlike any generation before us, advances in science, technology, social rights, and commerce have created for us both conveniences and access to vital services that has never been known before.

So smile. Enjoy life. Slap a high five. For there is nothing in all creation that is more worthy of the American experience than gratitude. (Insert creepy smile).

Gratefully Follow Your Bliss,


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