The Gift of Presence: Allow Your Heart Smile to Light the World

I have always been the light in the room.

Maybe it is my essence. Maybe because I was given the label ‘Joy’ as my name and I wanted to make sure to honor that.

My challenge in life is to allow that light to shine brightly.

I was raised to listen, not speak.  I was conditioned to be “good”, which meant to know the rules and follow them, without question.  I was told that a person could have money or love but not both.  I was taught to be subservient to men, that my role as a woman was to assist them in their success.  When my smile would shine brightly and others would notice and comment, I was asked by those around me to shine a little less, please. I learned to dim my light, my essence, my spirit.

And, then one day, I made a different choiceI chose to learn about and practice the gift of presence.

The pivotal moment is the one you are living now. It is not the moment that you look back upon to celebrate or regret.  It is not the moment you look towards with excitement or apprehension.  It is the moment of now.

You have a gift, a natural talent that whispers for attention and awareness. When you make the choice to cultivate that gift, your heart smiles.  That smile is independent of external circumstances; it is the smile of inner peace and gratitude for the experience of creating from your Truth.  When you share that smile with World, you are affirming your Truth; inspiring others to live their Truth.

We tend to make things so complex, when something as simple as a smile can (and does) change the world.

What would your life look like, feel like, if you allowed your heart smile to light the world?

This article is inspired by How to Rise Up and Live Again by Alex Blackwell.

Much peace,


Reminder: Experiment. Explore. Experience.

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Comments on: "The Gift of Presence: Allow Your Heart Smile to Light the World" (16)

  1. Joy,

    I love how you write, “It is the moment of now.” This is so true. And when we celebrate the moment of now our hearts are fully present and ready to smile!


    • Thank you, Alex, for the poignant reminder through your article to live fully *now*. Your daughter’s story, and your insights are so touching!

      I used to believe “pivotal” moments were those in which one made a *decision*; then I realized that each moment offers the opportunity to decide to choose living, or living fully.

  2. jean sampson said:

    Hey, Joy, I sometimes feel like a horse who can choose to graze in three pastures. The first one is the pasture of the past, the second is the pasture of the present (the one with the tasty and most nourishing grass) and the pasture of the future. Although I want to graze in the field of the present, where I am nourished and alive, I feel the pull to graze in the other fields, just from old habit and wandering aimlessly around. When I read your posts, it is like being led back to the pasture of the present where I am truly alive and awake and well! Thanks! I am glad you are in my life! :)

    • Thank you, Jean, for sharing the visual of the horse in a pasture…because truly past, present, future is the pasture of *now*. As we “graze” on that which nourishes, past/present/future is fully integrated, allowing us to receive, digest, and experience the freedom within that “knowing”.

      In my life, I find if I linger in the past or anticipate the future, it dims the radiance of the present light. When I embrace integration, the light naturally brightens.

      I am glad *you* are in my life :)

  3. A beautiful post! Your light shines out on the internet, too! I do allow my smile to light up the world. I was lucky to have parents who encouraged it. But on the flip side, I was raised the same as you to be “good”. But luckily it has served me well.
    Great writing!!

    • Thank you, Betsy, for the kind words and the radiant reflection! Your light shines brightly and inspires me as I parent two young teens in alignment with my heart whispers :)

      I was raised to be “good” for fear of the consequences, instead of to be “good” to enrich and enliven life; to transform that has been wonderful in so many ways! I love to hear examples of different perspectives, because ‘being good’ isn’t a “negative thing”, and your journey affirms that!

  4. Hi Joy — yes, I can relate to much of what you say about learning I was supposed to anticipate the rules and follow them without having to be told, etc. At this point my main goal — which sounds like it’s close to yours — is to allow my natural expression to emerge, whether it’s “pretty” or “ugly.” The trick seems to be to see the “ugly” expression as emerging from the same heart as the sweet, light, fluffy energy that comes out of me.

    • What a beautiful reflection, Chris, thank you!

      I was taught to conform at all costs and not to ask questions, so any explorer side of me was pretty much squashed (until I left for college from NY to Savannah, Ga…symbolic in many ways…my entire world opened up!). My family still considers me this (what adjective to apply?) renegade, spirited wild card kind of person so it has been quite the journey to express myself as fully as I do and teach my children to honor individual path.

      This might surprise most, but I love slam poetry and punk rock and shock art…because it is true expression of what you call the “ugly” …but I see it as incredibly beautiful because it is raw truth in a world where in general truth is suppressed. My heart is just as happy in such an environment as my own “butterflies and glitter one”, because my heart (our hearts) thrive in the midst of truth. That is my request of World…tell me who you are, and allow me to love you as you are, because that is true connection…

      I am curious, in what ways do you allow your natural expression to emerge? When you share, I learn.

      • Hi Joy — my own natural expression tends to come out through music. Of course I can’t resist giving an example:

        I tend to be a bit compartmentalized — I get a bit more inhibited and “strategic” in regular conversations with people than I am when I’m writing and performing music. That’s something I continue to work on.

        • Chris, of course I “had” to check out your example :) So interesting, because you offer full creative expression on so many levels, yet mention here you can be inhibited and “strategic” in regular conversation.

          If I turn this reflection inward, I think I tend to engage with full presence, naturally and effortlessly, when I am creating from my heart; depth of engagement fascinates me where, surface activity is not as inviting for me to participate in. I don’t feel an “obligation” to participate in regular conversation; I might observe, I might ask to re-direct the conversation, I might remove my presence. When I vest fully in life enriching, my life is *enriched* :)

  5. Yes the being in the now or as you so beautifully express The moment of now- the very gift of presence as we do allow our heart smiles to illuminate (light ) the world.

    You make it seems such a simple task and yet when we step away from being in the now that is when we allow the complexity to rule…..

    How would my life be……I think I am getting close to allowing my heart smile to light the the world as I allow myself to be in the moment of now. I have experienced a situation just today where I feel that being in the now and being present to my joy touched others


    • Thank you, Suzie, for your openness in this reflection :) To me presence is as “simple” as opening my heart to the moment as it is. I understand layers and masks and barriers, I just don’t understand why we tend to use them…for if we all opened our hearts, we would connect through vulnerability (much like we do in this space) instead of fear it/avoid it/shun it…meaning we would connect from inner core instead of surface. We would be excited to experience life in depth…and inner peace would be the norm.

      I love that you experience such a wonderful illuminating connection in the moment of *now*…as you share joy with others, may you also allow others to share 8joy* with you…:)

      My heart is smiling with yours :)

  6. YES! I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with this message! And “your heart smile”? LOVE. Such a vivid and tender way of describing what goes on in our hearts when we live in our truth.

    Thank you for sharing this, Joy. The choice to shine bright no matter whose eyes are hurt is a brave and powerful one. We’re here to shine in all our glorious brilliance, not dim ourselves so drab people can feel safe in their dullness. Bravo for breaking out and doing your own thing! ;)

    • Thank you, Otiti, for your presence to this piece…somehow makes it that much more radiant! Your essence reminds me to celebrate my own :)

      In my experience, when I live my truth, my heart smiles, and World smiles back…it is my reality..and one it is wonderful to live :) Thank you for your affirmative words! In my recent article, I explain how I almost chose to layer, me who loves and thrives in un-layered…so your words touch a place in my heart! Thank you for taking the time to share!

  7. A great reminder that Living in the Present Moment & presenting a Joyful Spirit towards others makes Life so much more enriching and full. A sincere Smile always evokes a positive Energy and response… it is such a primal affirmation of the condition of the Heart.

    Blessings and a Smile from the Arizona Desert… Dawn… The Bohemian

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your presence to this is wonderful to ‘meet you’ :) I *love* this affirmation: “A Joyful Spirit towards others makes Life so much more enriching and full.”

      Blessings and a Smile to *you* from So CA :)

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