the face of joy

What’s the face you make when you’re not making a face? When you’re not feeling a particular emotion – no sorrow, gladness, anger, joy, surprise or heart melting love? I noticed today on my ferry commute across the harbour that the majority of my fellow passengers seemed to be wearing a slight frown. Universal brows were a bit furrowed, jaws were somewhat clenched and lips held in a straight line.

It got me wondering . . . what’s my resting face? What emotions do I unconsciously convey when passing by thousands of other people each day? Without needing to pass a mirror I considered the muscles in my face. And sure enough, my forehead was a bit tight and my teeth were firmly planted together. Ever so gently as I tuned in I relaxed a few facial muscles and microscopically urged the corners of my mouth in an upward direction. And suddenly, everything felt a bit brighter and lighter.

Its worth noting that not every face on the ferry looked a bit glum. There were a few sparkling examples of people holding the same expression I had just found. And they weren’t transfixed with the latest captivating cat pic on their phones, or scanning global headlines, instead they were simply sitting peacefully and occasionally even making eye contact with others.

So my new challenge is to consider my neutral face a bit more often throughout the day. To tune in and turn up the corners of my mouth. Because wouldn’t it be JOYful if every person we passed was shining just a little bit brighter?

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