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What Makes Your Heart Smile (a Poem)

This is a Thursday tradition where I share with you a poem I love or one I’ve written. Today’s poem is one I wrote called What Makes Your Heart Smile and it’s about the most beautiful thing that happens when life doesn’t turn out how you plan.

I hope you enjoy reading!

what-makes-your-heart-smile

What Makes Your Heart Smile

Eventually,
all your excuses run out.

You’ve had all these things you’ve
wanted to do—to
write a book or start a
business or learn to paint—
but

something… or
someone… has
always
been in your way.

Not enough money.
Not enough time.
Not enough energy. You are
NOT ENOUGH.

Those words ring
like a dinner bell in your brain,
over and over and over
again.

Every night at five o’clock.

Then, eventually…
your excuses run out.

Your husband moves out
and you lose your house, and now
you’re in a tiny apartment
for tiny rent. All the drama
you once held dear

has come to an end, without
your consent.

You whine and complain
about these things for a bit—
about how lonely you are and
how sad it is and how
there just SO MUCH SPACE

you can hardly face it.

But then you decide to stop
complaining. Because well,
what can you do about it—now
that the excuses
are gone, it’s

just you.
only you.

The only one to blame.

So you drive to the paint
store. You look at watercolors
and a canvas. And as you’re standing
there,
alone and in your sweatpants, with
glasses on and hair up,

you giggle to yourself.

Because you have no idea
what you’re doing.
Not a clue.
You’re a total beginner.

And because this is NOT the life
you imagined for yourself.

But the woman behind
the counter smiles
and comes to help
and tells you

exactly
what you need to hear
which is that

there are really no rules
to this painting thing, and that you
should just go for it.

Paint what
makes
you heart smile
, she says.

And you stand there, staring
at her—beaming—
because your heart is
already smiling.

Already.

So you go home and
paint in your living room because,
well, there is nowhere else.

And you are not good. No, you
make a huge mess.
But your heart is shining and
that’s all that really matters in this life
since

we only get
a few short years to live it.

Think about how
much time you have wasted
already.

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Allison Fallon

I write books. I help people write books. I believe a regular practice of writing can change your life.

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