A weighty tradition, a call to action, tethered to year’s end….
Days damp chill, balanced by marathon nights…I dream
Rain and snow cancelled tentative plans, nestled me snuggle-worth at home. And I’ve been gently reflecting. This paper scrap has been in a prominent studio spot since July, softly nudging through the second half of 2022.
Right Speech: a Buddhist precept encouraging mindfulness as we say those words, express that thought, offer that opinion. What does it mean to only speak truth? To refrain from gossip or harshness? To avoid useless speech? After the fact, I catch myself time and again having engaged in less than mindful speech. Chagrin…may be a fine prompt for awakening.
That paper list nutshells it for me. Six months of random observation has revealed a few things. Foremost? Ironically, my life long attachment to truth-telling can get me in trouble. Just because something is true does not mean it needs a voice. Truth can be a slippery slope that can deliver an utterance less than caring. I guess we all know how awful it feels to wish we could take back what we just said.
Here’s another piece: my aging brain is slowing a bit. In group conversation flying fast and furious, sometimes it’s too much effort to contribute. I can track and enjoy the dialogue, but the speed to articulate a response has decreased. The moment to participate passes before I’m ready. When I just relax into this shift, I realize that mindful listening, the sister to mindful speech, is in itself a valuable contribution. What a great skill for an opinionated person to cultivate.
One more piece: is it the right time? Indeed, it might really be true and absolutely necessary. And there is a kindly way to express it. But “is it the right time” takes “necessary” to the next level. The impact of language is so woven with timing. All those child-raising years…such oft-repeated practice. Learning the hard way to hold my tongue in situational heat. Better to wait. Better to save it for the tender moment it might be received with ease.
If we turn our lens to the use and abuse of the written word on social media, all of the above is super-conspicuous. The propensity for lies to multiply, for content to expand beyond our capacity to absorb, for hate to proliferate becomes exponential. Imagine a world where posts are screened for truth, for necessity, for kindness. Hmmm…..
So though I am not big on resolution, this musing is front and center as I step into the unknown of 2023. So much came to pass in 2022…some delightful, some awful, some meh. Trusting 2023 will deliver to each and every one of us just exactly what is necessary and what is true. And may it be delivered with a huge dollop of kindness.