Smile with your liver? Crazy.
Yet, this was Elizabeth Gilbert’s first lesson in Balinese meditation. She shared her guru’s advice to “sit in silence and smile” in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia:
Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile.
- Elizabeth Gilbert and Ketut Liyer
When she went back, the guru asked:
You learn to smile even in your liver?
This smile will make you beautiful woman. This will give you power to be very pretty. You can use this power ~ pretty power! ~ to get what you want in life.
Sounded good to me.
We smile for photos. We smile and laugh at a great joke or funny story. We smile when we greet our friends and loved ones. Some smiles are genuine. Some smiles are fake. Some smiles are plastered on to keep us from revealing our true feelings.
But, smile with my liver? How does a liver smile?
My mind drifted to an interview I had seen with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com. His laughter is infectious and legendary. He looks like a guy who smiles with his liver. How does he do it? He claims that each day he takes a photo of something that brings him joy. It keeps him focused on gratitude.
One of the downsides of Complex-PTSD is that we carry around so many triggers of traumatic events that it is hard for us to function. Yet, I wondered, what would happen if I carried around triggers of happy times that I could turn on to block out the traumatic memories?
What if I took a page from Jeff Bezos’ book and started a photographic chronology of one thing each day that makes me smile with my liver?
The first week in August in my home turf of suburban St. Louis is peach harvest. I love, love, love peaches. Eckert’s Orchards has the best peaches. Every year my colleagues at the corporate headquarters of Quaker Oats in Chicago sent me home for a bushel of peaches. I was ever so popular when I returned because everybody wanted to take home a few. They are so big and juicy that they squirt across the room when you bite into one!
Here in Washington State, peach season lasts longer than a week. Today, I decided fresh sliced peaches on top of peach frozen yogurt as a reward for a productive day would have me smiling with my liver all day long in anticipation.
The photo is of my peaches and my buddhas which I have strategically placed in my apartment and on my patio to remind me always to be serene and happy.
What makes you smile with your liver?
Update: If you are interested in learning more about how Buddhist principles and practices can help you reach your full potential, I invite you to read Michael Lisagor: ROMANCING THE BUDDHA.