Smiling. It’s something I have been practising this week as I’ve been making little videos about my daily art practice. I didn’t realise how rarely I smile until I played back the videos and watched myself. I have to make a concerted effort to remember to smile. It’s so interesting the effect it has, even I feel happier watching myself smile!
I remember when my son was in kindergarten and the teacher always smiled. I asked her how she can keep smiling the whole day through and she said that it takes practice, but that it was so important in her job. Little children need to feel reassured, they need to feel like people are happy around them. So, this kinder teacher smiled despite all the other things going on in her life, she just kept smiling.
I think we don’t pay enough attention to the effect a smile has. The Dalai Lama is always smiling and laughing. It is a way to show we are happy with our lives, we enjoy other people’s company, we are comfortable in our own skin. I look through all the photos on my computer from our recent travels and realise there are only two or three where I’m smiling, my husband on the other hand is always smiling.
This year I’ve undertaken an online video course with Lisa Corduff from Keeping Video Real who stresses the need to face the camera and smile, to contextualise your story, to be genuine. I’ve made four little videos now and I find that the more I do, the easier it gets. It’s another form of storytelling that I am yet to master, but I am learning and it takes practice.
Storytelling is as old as human speech, yet this form of democratic storytelling is new and no longer confined to preachers, authors and filmmakers. The internet has given ordinary people a voice, the opportunity to connect right across the world, to hear and share each other’s stories. It’s an exciting time to be a storyteller. I’ve just got to remember to smile!