Smile, breathe and go slowly. Thich Nhat Hanh
It is fitting that Thich Nhat Hanh should be the quote that arrived in my Inbox this morning as my Daily Inspirational Quote.
It is fitting, comforting and inspiring!
It is what I need.
The beautiful reminder to-- Smile, breathe and go slowly today when I present at TEDxCalgary (I speak at 4pm MST btw -- and it can be live streamed at the TEDxCalgary website beginning at noon.
Last night, the speakers and organizers met for a dinner at a local Mediterranean restaurant, AIDA's. The conversation was lively, the meal delicious and the opportunity to meet fellow presenters and the rest of the amazing TEDxCalgary team was wonderful.
And when I left the restaurant light fluffy snow was drifting down through the night sky. The world had a quiet feeling to it. Quiet and serene and gentle.
It was perfect.
Before I went to the dinner I took Ellie for her customary evening walk along the ridge of the reservoir. It was chilly. The air crisp, the sky darkening. The days are getting shorter and evening comes early now. A sheen of ice is beginning to form on the surface of the water, moving in from the edges, in towards the centre where deep water moves ever more slowly every day.
We walked quickly, the cold air buffeting my face. The breeze flirting with the tendrils of hair that escaped from beneath my hat. I could feel the bite of the wind against my skin but Ellie didn't care. She was outside experiencing the big wide world beyond the confines of the backyard.
She was happy.
She was even happier when we met a couple we often see on our walks. She bounded over to greet them, dragging me by the leash. She whined and squirmed and leaned into their legs and they laughed and she squirmed some more and they pet her and made a fuss and she squirmed and whined and pushed her head into their hands and life was beautiful and grand and filled with laughter and joy and love and we all shared a joke about how she sure knows how to make people feel welcome and they invited her home with them as they always do and I laughed and said but will you feed her steak and lobster and they laughed and said of course as they always do and I asked if they'd let her sleep on their bed and they replied as they always do oh no there's no room with our two cats taking up all the room oh too bad I replied as I always do and we bid our farewells and Ellie and I continued on in the opposite direction and they continued on and we were all smiling as we parted, as we always are after an encounter of the Ellie kind.
It was a perfect moment.
Especially for Ellie.
She is a con artist, this pooch of mine. She doesn't do it to everyone the --- oh pet me please I don't get any attention at home and they never even give me steak and lobster and I'm just a poor misunderstood hound --kind of behaviour.
Oh no. She's discerning. She knows who will give her the most attention and she recognizes them everytime we are out.
I love her for it. For in her enthusiasm I am reminded to stop and 'see' someone else -- just for the fun of it. To connect with someone else along the path and share that most vital of heart connections -- a smile.
Smile, guides Thich Nhat Hanh
and I will.
Begin with a smile. And I shall, breathe and go slowly.
Whether on stage sharing my 'hope, strength and experience' as they say in AlAnon or simply living at centre stage of my own life where I am meant to be, when I smile, breathe and go slowly life is filled with all the wonder of the world unfolding on my road of life.
and now... to figure out what I'm going to wear. But first, I must run and give a speak on behalf of the United Way of Calgary and the work we do at the shelter where I work. And as I speak, I shall remember to.... Smile, breathe and go slowly throughout my day.