Chi and the Art of Smiling


My acupuncturist is a really smart guy. He knows that wellness is more than just physical, and he always takes a few minutes during each session to assess my emotional state and how it may be affecting my body.

For example, today I told him that I had to deal with several annoying people this week and that I felt my energy sapped because of it. He validated my feelings by explaining that negative energy from others often does disrupt one’s own “Chi”, or vital energy.

In my own profound wisdom, I smugly stated the obvious: “I guess I’ll have to change my attitude towards those people since I sure can’t change their behavior.”

He laughed and then simply said, “Smile.”

“Excuse me?”

“The next time someone causes you stress, smile at them. Good energy changes negative energy. After a while, they will stop doing those things that annoy you.”

Pretty trite and simplistic I thought, and if he really knew me then he’d know that teaching me the art of smiling at irritating and obnoxious people is like teaching a squirrel how to drive a semi-truck. It’s going to take a very long time and a lot of people are going to get run over in the process.

However, I’m open-minded and agreed to give it a shot.

In the meantime, while I’m learning how to “smile”, I’m getting a t-shirt that reads: Don’t mess with my chi……

Image: “Qi Mandala”, 2006

Text: Lori G. (c) 2007


10 responses »

  1. Oh, I love it, Lori!

    You’ve just given me a way to cope with a very confronting situation in the writers’ organisation I’m very involved in. Thank you!
    Where can I get a tee-shirt like that?

  2. Hey I need one of these Lori. I need one so badly! And I do love the line “teaching me the art of smiling at irritating and obnoxious people is like teaching a squirrel how to drive a semi-truck” I just know you can do it honey!

  3. I have a tendency to sort of naturally smile (more of a Mona Lisa than a grimace, mind you) and I find people ask me for directions a lot! I don’t think smiling ALWAYS defuses annoying behavior in people, but it can help.

  4. I am a smiler – because I decided it was that or biting peoples’ heads off in my last job! I am not sure it changes behavior ( I don’t think it worked on the last boss), but at least you feel like you are doing something positive and in control of your own reactions. I have also found that smiling (at least for me) makes me feel better and more positive.
    Like Heather, I love the line about the squirrel and the semi truck! And I think you should make those T-shirts up and sell them, Lori – they’d be perfect!

  5. I think smiling can actually be a very powerful way to respond to other people’s bad behavior — it shows that you are not allowing them to change your mood, that they have no power over you… and that really makes them mad, which is nice and satisfying in itself. If you have a little air of mystery it also makes them wonder what you are up to…

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