This morning I played “poise” in a word game. Then I sat with my coffee to ponder this word’s loveliness. I looked it up to make sure I understood it’s true meaning:
- graceful and elegant bearing in a person
- composure and dignity of manner
Yes, as perfect as I’d imagined.
On the way to the groomer Roxy and Ringo peered at the driver behind us as the light turned green. He HONKED immediately, because I’d waited a split second to smile at my pups in the rear view mirror gazing at a man in a hurry. I did not rush. I allowed him to speed around me, feeling no slight but wondering what has changed in me? Why no flood of rage and indignation that would normally ruin my day? Curious…
This happened another day recently while looking for a parking spot. The shop owner greeted me at the door. Boasting that it was I who had caused the barrage of honking and yelling in the street just prior, she sighed, “Happens all the time; people are angry.” I have to admit I felt a wee bit powerful, and it didn’t wreck my day. I was, in fact, giggling at those silly folks.
What’s the story? I’ve not always been like this. I can be as impatient as the next person if I’m tired, hungry or in pain. I remember one incident specifically when I was riding my bike, a vehicle almost ran me off the road. The driver cursed me for being in his way. I was livid and chased him down where he’d pulled over to refuel and let loose in such a rage I didn’t recognize myself. I’m ashamed now – did I need a protein shake? a nap? But perhaps he learned a little something about the rules of the road that day.
This new way of being patient with the rudeness of others is new for me. It’s not something I’m trying to do. It’s just happening. I can tell by my heart rate and blood pressure, which are just staying calm ~ ~ ~ I’m not sure where it is coming from.
Maturity? I do meditate regularly; maybe it really does help. Or am I’m getting accustomed to the anger that seems to be everywhere. But forgiveness and happiness are out there in abundance, too. It’s like going to the zoo; we’re exposed to all kinds when we open ourselves to the world. Some people are sweet and funny, some are impatient and mean.
My friend sent me a lovely card recently. Inside she wrote this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh: “Drink your tea slowly without rushing to the future” (Her abridged version to get the point across to my hurried mind.)
I put it near my placemat as a reminder. Then I researched* the full quote, which is: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
This is a hastily sketched diagram to help me visualize the tea in my cup reverently revolving with the axis of the earth.
I’ve been working on slowing down. In actuality, my aging body has been assisting in that endeavor. I would like to focus more on drinking my tea with reverence but am not sure what that means. My gut tells me I might begin by returning to my first paragraph to concentrate on the meaning of poise.
As a connected effort, I’ve begun seven small watercolors focusing on a ceramic mug made by a dear friend. I cannot look at this cup without imagining how her hands formed it. When these paintings are finished they will be available in my shop as blank greeting cards with envelopes.
*The full quote pulled up on online at https://ma.tt/2019/01/thich-nhat-hanh-on-tea/ was posted by Matt Mullenweg on 1/23/19 and links to Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation at Amazon.com