Smile…And Brighten The World!

by Lance Ekum on · 46 comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: *bri*

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

S M I L E !!

…for no other reason than you can.

Do you know that person? You know the one…always has a smile on her face. Or maybe it’s that you see his smile get bigger as you approach. 

In that instant, there’s a warmth. A warmth of connection, a feeling of goodness, a touch of love. 

It’s such a small thing really. We don’t have to say anything, We don’t have to exert a whole lot of energy. We just have to shift a few facial muscles! And in that shift, life IS more beautiful. For those who cross our paths, and for ourselves. All from one simple little thing…a smile!

Try it right now!!  Smile (or smile a little bigger, if you already are smiling)!  Let that touch of beauty that comes from this simple act be a part of your being…now…in this moment. 

Smile…because you can!

Join The Movement
There’s a new micromovement coming, and YOU are invited to join in!

What is a micromovement? A micromovement is YOU, doing an activity locally where you are, recording that activity, and then submitting the video to have it become part of something greater – with people from all over the world.

What:   Smile Micromovement
  Videos being collected through June 26, 2010
 Create a short video of yourself (alone, with friends, with family, etc) smiling.   We'll also be including locations of where everyone is from .  Please send that to me here.
Ideas include:

  • Smiling the whole time
  • Facial expression going from more serious to smiling
  • Smiles turning into laughter

Length:    A short 5 – 10 second video.
Submission: To submit your video, click here.

NOTE:  The Levity Project video, of everyone smiling together, will debut in July.

(Special note:  that is NOT a self-portrait up above!!!!)

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Evita June 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

Hi Lance

Now, are you sure that is not a self portrait up there 😉 Just kidding had to bug you about that one 🙂 But seriously that photo is AWESOME!

Great idea, smiling is so universal and it instantly changes our energy! I look forward to contributing to this fun project.
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Essential Energy with Cyndi Dale: At the Crosswalk – When It’s Time to Change =-.


Yum Yucky June 7, 2010 at 8:57 am

Oh my. I was just telling my husband this morning how I’m NOT fond of monkeys. My child made me kiss a stuffed monkey 5 times this morning. Stuff animal monkey. Not the formerly alive kind…or was it??

Lance, are you sure that pic is not of you in your infantile phase? Just askin’.
.-= Yum Yucky´s Last Fabulous Post ..Pure Nastiness: Pancake House Edition =-.


Stacey Shipman June 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

I’ve been trying to smile more when I feel “out of sorts” and it really does work to change my mood! This sounds fun. I’m off on vacation for 10 days, so hopefully I’ll remember when I get back (or feel free to remind me!)


Jules - Big Girl Bombshell June 7, 2010 at 9:03 am

Thanks for such a great smile to start the day. And have you noticed that that one person that has that infectious smile, most often, also has the infectious laugh where you just CANT not smile or laugh yourself…’
Be contagious today, I think I will!
.-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Sunday Slice of Life – Relationships =-.


Eric | Eden Journal June 7, 2010 at 9:57 am

Lance, the synchronicity is amazing. I wrote a post on Friday about the power of a smile (link included below.) Then, this morning I see a guest post on Dragos Roua about smiling. And now, I see your post about it.

I’ll try to get you a video when I get home from work. I love this idea and look forward to seeing the results.
.-= Eric | Eden Journal´s Last Fabulous Post ..Smile, It’s Contagious – Glow, It’s Infectious =-.


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now June 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

This is a great idea. I like the slow motion smile that is tempting. I’ll have to figure out which method has a stronger pull and submit that video.

Loved the photo of the monkey smiling. Made me smile.


Lynn June 7, 2010 at 11:18 am

What a neat idea! That monkey sure has a good smile. 🙂


Hilary June 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Hi Lance .. just so glad that’s not you .. love the idea though of the smiling video .. should be fun .. I will endeavour to get my act into gear and send something over .. byeeeee …. Hilary smile on ..
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..Food, Food, Glorious Food … What could possibly go wrong …? =-.


JoyChristin June 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

*grin*…I’m practicing…huge *grin* shoot, that was it, now I’ll have to wait until I can film my little video clip….
Awe-some project Lance….yay you!!!


Jannie Funster June 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Sounds like a lot of fun Lancie-poo. I’ll see what my smiling summer angels come up with for an idea — they are so creative! And a 10-second limit sounds perfect!!

from Jannie-poo

.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Would You Title This Post? =-.


Jody - Fit at 52 June 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

That mokey is a little scary to me BUT I love the idea behind the post!!!! I know a smile helps me!!! Having a bad day so this helped.. THX Lance!
.-= Jody – Fit at 52´s Last Fabulous Post ..Plus Size Models? You Tell me! =-.


Lauren June 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Dear Lance,

Yes, a smile is universal, regardless of language. It IS the universal language. People light up when you smile at them.

And there’s more. Like, 5 moments ago in the coffeehouse a lovely young woman was sitting with her mother and new boyfriend. I asked the mom whether this was her daughter and told her how lovely her daughter was (in front of the boyfriend). As you can imagine, they all beamed. And it was the truth.

We all love to be uplifted and these simple acts create such joy for me as well. My day is lovely because I reach out to others.

A genuine smile is the first step.

As usual, Lance, you uplift.

Thanks so much!


Robin Easton June 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Okay dear Lance!! This is sooooooo COOL!!! I have got to find time to do this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE smiling. I was once told by a very bitter and hurting person that I smiled too much (I was in my early twenties), and I was shocked because I never knew anyone could smile TOO much. I told my dad that I had been walking around trying NOT to smile so much. He was stunned and got tears in his eyes and said, “God gave you a mouth made for smiling and you musty never stop smiling. You are giving the world sunshine, even on a cloudy day.” I took his advice and I am still smiling. I love when people smile at me. I go around smiling at everyone. I am going to go get my video camera RIGHT NOW, yes, RIGHT NOW and do this. I have wanted to be part of these projects and this time I AM!!! I LOVE that you are doing these. I JUST LOVE THEM. Love you too my dear sweet beautiful friend. Robin
.-= Robin Easton´s Last Fabulous Post ..Off to NY City! – Book Expo America =-.


Robin Easton June 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Dearest Lance, I just uploaded a video to the drop site you gave us. It is probably too long and is a couple of clips. Use what you want and chuck the rest. Or if none of it is any good chuck it all. BUT I was determined to be involved in the project this time because I just LOVE this kind of thing. I didn’t even care what I looked like. I just had FUN doing it. It made me feel GOOD!! Thank you SO much dear soul. Hugging you a HUGE hug. Rob!
.-= Robin Easton´s Last Fabulous Post ..Off to NY City! – Book Expo America =-.


Keith June 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Hello Lance,

I definitely smiled just as soon as your blog loaded onto my screen, and I found myself face to face with a smiling monkey!! HA HA What a great choice for a pic to illustrate this post.

I do this too! Use smiles, I mean. I find that during the course of the day when I encounter individuals who are stressed, a smile get’s em nearly every time. You can feel the energy in the air change the second they see the smile. The way that the stress, even if for a moment, is relieved and they return the smile….well it is priceless!

Thanks Lance!


Vincent Nguyen June 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Great idea Lance
Smiling is definitely one of my favourite things to do.
Not only does it lift our spirits/energy up but it is so infectious that others will feel it as well.

Great pic for the post Lance
.-= Vincent Nguyen´s Last Fabulous Post ..John Wooden: Thank you =-.


Davina June 7, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I smiled at the first sight of this post. Lol… Lance I couldn’t help but wonder if this monkey might be your next avatar for Twitter 😀 I’ve found some days even just feeling the energy of a smile, without actually visibly smiling, encourages responses from people. When I’ve been feeling particularly lighthearted people sense that feeling and before I know it, they are smiling at me first.


Ellen June 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

Smiles and flowers do wonders. It is so beautiful in this country. So many people just give you a smile when they pass by. I am in a kind of grumpy mood now, so I am thankful for your post. I am sure in about 10 minutes, I am the old Ellen again 🙂


Lance June 8, 2010 at 7:54 am

@Evita – Hi Evita!! Ha!!! Well…I HAVE been MONKEYING around here…so, hmmm….maybe!!! And if that WAS me (hypothetically speaking, of course!)…I would say that’s a pretty rockin’ smile I have on!! Moving on PAST that monkey!!!…Evita, it’s great to have you on board with this! Very much looking forward to seeing your SMILE!!!

@Yum Yucky – Josie!! My child made me kiss a stuffed dog (we call him “Bob” … I know, very creative huh!!) this weekend. And…since you’re askin’…I am STILL in my infantile phase (just ask my wife!!). I’ll say nothing more about that photo!!!

@Stacey Shipman – Hey Stacey!! Keep on smilin’!! Okay – ENJOY!! (the vacation…and all the SMILES you’ll give!!). And…ha!! Don’t worry…I’ll remind you!!!

@Jules – Hi Jules!! This monkey just makes ME SMILE!!! I’m lovin’ the thought – of being contagious!! I’m there with you Jules!! Shoot…let’s be contagious all week long!!!

@Eric – Hey Eric!! It’s great to have you here! Okay – I’ll definitely be over to check out your SMILES!!! Awesome! And I LOVE synchronicity! Would LOVE to also have your video in this! Looking forward to it!

@Karl – Hey Karl!! Isn’t that crazy monkey picture THE BEST!!! I smile every time I look at him!!! Okay – looking forward to seeing that smile of yours…and how you decide to do it!! Rock on Karl!

@Lynn – Hi Lynn!! That monkey has a CRAZY GOOFY smile…and I LOVE it!!!


Lance June 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

@Hilary – Hi Hilary!! Ha!!! I *think* I’m glad that’s not me, too! Would love to have you be a part of this!! Keep smiling!!

@JoyChristin – Hi Joy!! Ha!!! You know, I don’t think you have a problem doing this…it comes NATURALLY to you!!! Looking forward to seeing your lovely grin!

@Jannie – Hi Jannie-poo!! Let those smiling angels you are connected to work their magic!!! It will be wonderful, do doubt!! (just like YOU!!!). From Lancie-poo!!! xoxoxo

@Jody – Hey Jody!! Ha!! The *scary* monkey!!! Glad to brighten your day a bit (…even if that meant a bit of a scare with that CRAZY MONKEY!!!)

@Lauren – Hi Lauren!! What a WONDERFUL little tidbit you’ve shared here…and that just SHINES to the person you are…and the SMILE that comes from your HEART!! Lifting up others can be so easy (why don’t we do it more???). Lauren, I LOVE reading this today – it definitely puts a smile on my face RIGHT NOW!!! So good having you here…

@Robin Easton – Hi Robin!! Woo-Hoo!! First off…thank YOU for your sheer excitement around this! And for really jumping in and DOING THIS!! AWESOME!! Robin, you are such a complete bundle of JOY!!! That’s something I’ve felt since our first crossing many, many months ago. And reading this story – there’s a sadness in thinking that some people might view SMILES as being TOO MUCH. Your father was a wise soul…and really, so are you, in so many beautiful ways. Robin, thank for from the depths of my heart, for being in my life. And for shining your amazing light into the world! Super big hugs, shiny happy smiles, and lots and lots of LOVE to YOU!!


Audra Krell June 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Very fun, I love your latest ideas, as always for monkeying around!


Mama Zen June 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

What a neat idea!
.-= Mama Zen´s Last Fabulous Post ..This Week In Nerd =-.


Lisa (mommymystic) June 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Lance, you always come up with the most creative ways for generating more joy in the world:-) And thanks for adding your love to the ripples created by my friend and his passing…I know you would be doing that anyway, because that is how you try and live, but I really do appreciate you honoring him in that way….
.-= Lisa (mommymystic)´s Last Fabulous Post ..LoVE – Pay it Forward =-.


Suzie Cheel June 9, 2010 at 12:33 am

Smile and the world smiles with you. Des sings I love the sunshine of your smile and I have just told him he is going to sings this while I smile and enter the contest, thanks for brightening my day- yes I am smiling
Love & hugs
.-= Suzie Cheel´s Last Fabulous Post ..Take The Passion Test =-.


Julia M Lindsey June 9, 2010 at 3:53 am

What a great project. It is amazing how a simple smile can change your mood and the mood of people you come in contact with.
When I was in college a friend of mine told me that she did not like me at first because I was always smiling and my cheerfulness annoyed her. We are still friends after 33 years so it must of rubbed off.
.-= Julia M Lindsey´s Last Fabulous Post ..6 Reasons Why Every Author Should Have a Blog =-.


Zengirl @ Heart and Mind June 9, 2010 at 4:29 am


This is a great idea. I am already smiling in middle of night. Now, zenguy is wondering what I am upto over the internet! 🙂

I am not sure if I can keep my kids still enough to take videos of us, but I am joining this micro movement in spirit.
.-= Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s Last Fabulous Post ..Are we honest with family and friends? =-.


B @ logos coaching June 9, 2010 at 4:54 am

as smiles go that monkey has a great one! 🙂
.-= B @ logos coaching´s Last Fabulous Post ..HOW TO FULFIL AN EXPECTATION =-.


Ricardo Bueno June 9, 2010 at 6:14 am

You know Lance, they say that the average person laughs 13 times per day. If that’s an accurate statistic, it’s safe to say that I’m above average (I laugh a lot).

P.S. Dig the new look!
.-= Ricardo Bueno´s Last Fabulous Post ..Repetitive Awareness Marketing =-.


Lance June 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

@Keith – Hi Keith!! That monkey has one super crazy SMILE going on!! And in the daily doing of this – it sure feels great, doesn’t it! And…it’s SO SIMPLE!! PRICELESS!!! Awesome stuff, Keith!

@Vincent – Hey Vincent!! That’s what is so great about the SMILE – it’s easy, it lifts our spirits, and it affects other people in some pretty awesome ways! And…that monkey’s pretty awesome!!! Thanks Vincent!

@Davina – Hey Davina!! Ha!!! The monkey as my Twitter avatar…what would people think!!! And I love this thought you’ve shared – it’s like a smile that starts on the inside first…and others sense that! How COOL is that!!! Awesome-ness (you are!!)!!!

@Ellen – Hi Ellen!! You know, I think that’s great that you are recognizing this mood. Sometimes we are NOT all happy and cheery. And that’s when a simple smile can do wonders for us…and for our being. That…and FLOWERS are pretty wonderful too!! Hey, I bet that as I type this you are the happy cheery Ellen RIGHT NOW!!!

@Audra – Hi Audra!! Welcome HOME!!! You know…you have a way AWESOME smile!!! …monkeyin’ friend!!!!

@Mama Zen – Hey Kelli!! So…will we get to see you happy shiny smiling face in this???

@Lisa – Hi Lisa!! You know, I certainly won’t take all the credit on creating this idea. I’m working with some pretty amazing folks over at The Levity Project – Katie West and Ina Lukas are both shining stars when it comes to dreaming up this brilliant ideas!! And Lisa…know that I have been deeply touched by all that you have shared about your friend over the past year – what a shining example of LOVE. Much peace to you…


Grampa Ken June 9, 2010 at 9:09 am

Nice set of teeth Lance! Must be the bananas.
“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. They are but trifles, to be sure, but, scattered along life’s pathway, The good they do is inconceivable.” – Joseph Addison
.-= Grampa Ken´s Last Fabulous Post ..Materialism and Happiness =-.


Lance June 9, 2010 at 10:17 am

@Suzie – Hi Suzie!! Very awesome!! Des sings…and YOU smile!! How COOL is that!!! Suzie…YOU are AWESOME!!! I love it!! Big love and hugs right back to you!! (by the way, your avatar is one totally rockin’ smile!!)

@Julia – Hi Julia!! That exactly it! This project is all about helping to spread a little sunshine out into the world…through the simple act of smiling! And – very cool story you’ve shared about your friend (of 33 years!!) and how your cheerfulness rubbed off – awesome!!

@Zengirl – Hey Zengirl!! Ha!! Keepin the zenguy guessing – very cool!! Would love to have you join in, if it works (we’ll take kids acting…crazy…or is that normal!!). And if not, just having your support here is awesome, too!

@B – That smile rocks on Mr. Monkey!!!

@Ricardo – Hey Ricardo!! YOU are AWESOME and ABOVE AVERAGE!!! Keep laughing, keep smiling, keep shining your “goofy” out into the world!!! And thanks much – it’s been a journey to get to this “look”, and it’s one I really love!

@Grandpa Ken – Hey Grandpa Ken!! Yep, those bananas have given me quite the look, haven’t they!! Love the quote – it’s a real beauty (just like flowers and sunshine!)!


J.D. Meier June 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

Now that is a smile!

I find smiles are a good by-product of gratitude and doing what you enjoy, and they are definitely contagious.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wabi-Sabi – Embrace the Imperfection =-.


Lance June 10, 2010 at 5:36 am

That IS a crazy awesome smile on that monkey, eh!! Gratitude and doing what you enjoy…coupled with some smiles in there….and you have the makings of something VERY contagious!!


Farnoosh ~ Prolific Living June 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Lance, just FYI this monkey freaked me out a bit……but I have calmed down now and I am smiling :)!


Lance June 10, 2010 at 5:39 am

Hey Farnoosh!
Ha!!! You know, you are not the first person who found that monkey grin a bit freaky!!! (now I’m really glad it wasn’t a self-portrait!!!). Hey, I think you smile a lot…naturally… I’ll still give that monkey a pat on the back, though, for helping out (hmmm….did he REALLY help???).

Okay – I promise to post no more monkeys this week….


Angelia Sims June 10, 2010 at 7:42 am

I think Sydney and I could hurt our faces with this one! 😀
.-= Angelia Sims´s Last Fabulous Post ..Unedited Garden =-.


Lance June 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Hey Angelia!!!
I LOVE your spirit!!!! I’ll be “bugging” you! (ha!!)


Linda June 10, 2010 at 9:23 am

First things first, that picture of the Monkey sure did make me smile.

This is a great idea, I’ve always found that when I concisely just smile, even if it’s just on the drive home it picks me up just that little bit even after the crappiest of days.


Lance June 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Isn’t that monkey crazy funny!!!!

And that’s it…a smile…so simple….and yet, it can do so much for our energy levels!! Happy smiling!!


Natalia June 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Hey Lance! 🙂

This sounds like fun. Thanks for the clarification on the picture!! ha ha



Lance June 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Hey Natalia!!
Glad I could *ahem* clarify!!!!

Have a super day, sweet friend!!


FatFighterTV June 14, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Who can’t smile after seeing that funny monkey smile???! 😉


Lance June 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Exactly!!! That monkey has an infectious smile…either that or he just looks so crazy-silly, we can’t help but smile!


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