My friend Maria writes a sassy blog about shopping and fashion with practical tips that everyone can find helpful – from the fashionista to those who won’t set a foot in a mall. One of her latest entries is about wearing something with sparkle – a sweater, scarf, jewelry – anything that gives a little shimmery perk to one’s look. This – and all the snow we’ve had this winter – got me thinking…
During this cold, blustery season, when the trees are bare and the flower beds are empty, I find that my eye is drawn toward the smallest sight of something that sparkles. It could be the way the snow on a branch glistens in the sunlight or how droplets of water rhythmically fall from a melting icicle.
Almost instinctually, I take a mindful moment to notice the sparkle. Something within me begins to perk up and I feel a bit more energized. I even feel a bit warmer.
Our eye is drawn to what sparkles.
Notice how sparkle catches your eye and draws you in – from the diamond ring on an engaged woman’s finger to snow glistening on the rooftops in the wintry noon sun. Sparkle is like a magnet attracting our full attention, and it has a warming and strangely both calming and energizing effect on us.
Just as the eye instantly gravitates toward sparkle, so does the heart.
What shines attracts the heart. I’ll bet each of us could recall someone right now who seems to naturally sparkle.
I am thinking of an older African American gentleman who works at our YMCA. His smile, eyes, and kind “hello” make me pause for a moment. These small, every day gestures are filled with sincerity; they are filled with light and sparkle. And instantly I sense a warmth growing in my heart and I am drawn toward him. I smile back – not one of those surfacy “hi, how are ya” smiles, but a smile from my heart that resonates with the sparkle of his heart. For a moment, I am completely aware of our connection.
The sparkle of our inner self has that kind of power – the power to attract and to connect. And it is this connection that makes us feel warm and peaceful.
Research shows the healing power of connection. Just thinking of a person who loves us, who sees our inner sparkle, releases the “connection hormone” oxytocin which has a calming effect on our nervous system. This is the same hormone released during breastfeeding, orgasm, and even in a conversation with a good friend.
So when the wintry gray of life is weighing you down – maybe it’s a cold and dark day, a hard-to-handle coworker, a depressive thought, or a misunderstanding with a loved one – wake up and notice something that sparkles. Put on something that sparkles. Choose to notice the inner sparkle of the next person you see. Think of someone who loves you and brings out your inner sparkle. Become mindful of something about yourself that sparkles.
The weight of worry, stress, or depression may become a bit lighter. A sense of warmth and peace may calm your nervous system. Allow yourself to bask in that warmth and it will influence the quality of your next breath, thought, and action.