Little Epistle: The Worth of a Smile

“…your clothes may be Beau Brumelly, They stand out a mile. But brother you’re never fully dressed without a smile.” So Sang Little Orphan Annie in the musical of the same name.

A smile can lift your spirits. Not just a smile from others, but from yourself. Research has shown that lifting the corners of the mouth opens up circulation to the brain, releases endorphins, a natural stress releasing pleasure-producing drug into the system. It probably helps us think more clearly and effectively.

For those of you who can only compute value in dollars and cents, put your smile down in your asset column and list the value at something like 50,000 dollars minimum. There is a rare medical condition named Moebius Syndrome in which people are born with weakened muscles in the corners of their mouths. They cannot smile.

I read once of a young woman in California who was successfully operated on and muscle tissue from other parts of her body was grafted in to the corners of her mouth. It is a difficult operation and does not always work. But in her case it did, and for the first time she could smile. The operation cost about 25,000 dollars per mouth corner.

That means that most of us are carrying around a fortune on our face. Our recommendation is to cash in on your investment every chance you get.

The world and you will be happier. This will also enhance your wardrobe. Because, “You’re never fully dressed, though you may wear the best. You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”

Little Epistle: Perhaps Love

Perhaps love is like a resting place, a shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort, it is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble when you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps Love, John Denver wrote in this lovely song. So many songs have boldly declared what love is and what it is not, it’s refreshing to have this tender suggestion.

Is there any word in the English language more misused, confused, and abused than the word “Love?”

Is it a noun? Is it a verb? Is it both, and more.

Is it in the body or the soul, the mind, the heart or all?

Can love be categorized as the ancient scholars said into eros, romantic love: philos, brotherly love; and agape; Godly love, the love that loves even its enemies?

This is less poetic than John Denver, but perhaps love is like electricity. We don’t know what it is, but we know some of the things it can do; including miracles.

Abraham Lincoln had inscribed inside his wife Mary’s wedding ring, “Love is eternal.”

That I can relate to. True love never dies. My father told me years ago, “You know something. When your mother gets herself dolled up, she is really a looker.” He wasn’t joking or even being kind. In his eyes she was gorgeous, because of, not in spite of the 60 plus years they had lived together as husband and wife.

I testify of the same experience.

Perhaps that is the answer to John Denver’s wistful wondering. In true love there is no “perhaps.”

Little Epistle: Persuading Your Subconscious

As you know our minds consist of two parts, the conscious mind, and the unconscious. The conscious mind is limited. Research by the Bell telephone company years ago indicated that most people’s short term memory can hold about seven pieces of information. That is why phone numbers were limited to seven digits with a space between the first three and last four. The area codes added later botched that up. It’s harder to look at a ten digit number and then dial it from memory.

The conscious mind and memory are also fallible. I think it was Mark Twain who compared our conscious mind to a wooden bowl. It doesn’t hold very much, and after a while it warps.

But our conscious mind has one priceless ability. We can direct it. Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his book Psycho Cybernetics compared the conscious mind to the thermostat on the wall. We can change it at will. But the thermostat really doesn’t warm the house. The furnace does. But you can’t just go whack the side of the furnace to fire it up. You have to coax it with the thermostat. And, as you know the heat in the house doesn’t instantly change it takes some time. Likewise the subconscious, but once you unleash its power, it is far stronger and long lasting than the thoughts and words that flit through our conscious brains.

How do you communicate with and persuade the unconscious mind to do your bidding? With compliments, positive affirmations, even whistling and it also helps to describe the person you aspire to be. Perhaps the most powerful training message you can send is repetitious rehearsal. Psychologist and philosopher William James said this in three magic words, “Act as if.” That doesn’t mean imitate. It means do. If you want to be friendly, do what friendly people do. If you want to be a scholar, do what scholars do. If you want to be rich, don’t spend like a drunken sailor. People who get rich do just the opposite.

Most important, if you want to be a Christian, the path is as simple as two words. Jesus said, “Follow me.”