Are you always smiling? I was asked this question yesterday. I was on the phone; late at night speaking to this wonderful girl I had met in Granada during my last trip through Central America. She went home a month before I returned to the Netherlands. And now she was pretty depressed. Living back with her mom, no place of her own, no job, no clue what to do with her life. On top of it all she doesn’t understand the world, all the wars, all the fighting, all the hatred.
I am ‘home’ as well, but I am still smiling. She wants to smile again. Getting her life together, doing something, but she had no energy to do it. How could I still be smiling? I can, because I know that shit happens to make room for beautiful times
To be honest I haven’t had a smile on my face my whole life. Looking back I now see that I was pretty depressed when I was a kid and my parents got divorced. I stayed like that until I was 21 years old. One day I looked at my life and decided I had enough of being depressed. I also concluded that nobody was going to make me happy. Had the power to do that. The only one who could make me happy was me. It was the start of a long journey, a journey that has speed up by doing yoga; by understanding how my brain works.
But yoga is something of the last few years. The first big steps from being ‘down’ to being ‘happy’ I made thank to travelling. I always compare travelling with a high pressure cooker. You have an amazing amount of experiences in a short period of time. One moment you are sad, the next you are happy. What I have learned is that shit things happen to make room for beautiful things.
If I look at my last trip I was sad to leave the Spanish school I was working at earlier then planned. I loved the people who worked there, I loved the projects the school was running for the community, but I hated the negativity of the owner. Nothing all the hard working people did, was good enough. I couldn’t stand it, didn’t want to be there, so I left and went to Granada.
Because I left I met the people of PURE, the place where I have been working the last two months. The owners, Warren and April, have become real good friends. I’ve done a crazy amount of AcroYoga. And I met Romi, one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. All of this wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t treated so badly by the owner of this Spanish school.
This is just one example. I can give hundreds. Look at your relationships. It can be really hard to break up, it’s sometimes devastating to leave somebody you deeply love behind or to be left behind, but if I look at my love relations; every new one has been better (fitting) than the one before. I have left great jobs, to end up in better ones. Have travelled with amazing people and have had to say goodbye, creating room for new friendships.
All of this, all this goodbyes, all the shit that has happened in my life has always created room for new experiences, beautiful experiences. This has built trust. Whenever I’m in a shitty situation I trust, I know something good is about to happen. End that makes me smile. So yes, I (almost) always smile. My ex-students haven’t named me for nothing the Dutch Smiling Yogi.
So if you end up in a shitty situation just know: you are in for something beautiful so keep on smiling as well.