My 93-year-old father was moving some old furniture around when he discovered a few long lost black and white photographs.
One of them was of me.
At the age of ten months.
I had never seen the photo before.
But as I stared at myself of almost 65 years ago, I saw a happy child.
My father told me, “Joe, you were one happy baby!”
Maybe I was.
But I certainly wasn’t happy shortly after growing up.
And I went through long periods of unhappiness as an adult, and as a struggling writer wanting to be a success.
What happened to that happy child?
What happened to that uninhibited smile?
Oh, it’s still here.
People can see the baby smile in my adult face today.
But where’d it go for so long?
My guess is, it never left.
And I’m guessing your original innocent smile is still in you someplace, too.
Lately I’ve been encouraging people to look for their very early baby pictures.
Not the ones where you are still in diapers, and not the ones where you are going off to school.
I want you to find the baby pictures where you are showing signs of awareness and your “original smile” is still on your face.
Get that photo and use it as a meditation.
Stare into the smile.
Let it expand from within yourself.
Feel the original innocence of bliss today.
Because it’s still there.
And if for some reason you can’t easily or quickly find an early photo of yourself smiling, then consider looking at my photo. Or someone else that makes you grin or giggle. Or draw or paint one.
The point is, that original smile is not lost.
It’s in you.
I used to teach a form of meditation where you imagined an inner smile within yourself. As you visualized it, it grew. Before long, you had an outer smile.
Your inner child is still within you.
And it is still smiling.
It’s time to find it again.
PS – I also believe there is something like an “original laugh,” too. That’s where you laugh without control or inhibition. Recently author-singer-TV celebrity Lisa Winston and I held a Facebook Live to discuss our forthcoming event, “Own the Stage.” We were so open and playful with each other that by the end of the broadcast, we were laughing so hard we were crying. Where is your original laugh? Where is your original smile? I urge you to look within and see…