Hold each thought and emotion separately.
Cling to none.
Push away none.
Like pitches across the plate, each thought is watched and labeled. "That is a curve ball." "That is a fast ball." Do not catch them. Do not swing for the fences. Observe and label, feel and release. Wait for the next. This is a metaphor in mindfulness and my daily exercise. With this practice I will eventually know a strike from a ball.
Yesterday I was at Office Max waiting for a print job. A man was at the counter. He turned to leave and smiled at me. I thought I smiled back. He said, "Oh, don't give me that kind of smile. I've been getting those fake smiles all day." I gave him my best false 'Cheese'. He wasn't so thrilled with that one either. Another man walked in the door. He said, "Smile. It can't be all that bad!" I said, "Are people going to tell me to smile all day? Do I look that pathetic?" He said, "You woke up breathing didn't you? Smile."
The old cliche, "Things could always be worse" never really has any teeth. Of course they could! That's why we have the story of Job. I'm not sure when I'll feel like smiling again. I am grateful for my family, health, jobs, bills paid, grace, mercy, forgiveness. So much. But a smile comes from somewhere else, somewhere beyond gratitude. I'll know it when it comes. I'll take a swing at it.