“Smile, breathe and go slowly”

Thich Nhat Hanh

In this world of instant gratification, perhaps the most difficult thing to learn is to not REACT before we ACT. In other words, give yourself time to think. to get rid of the emotion, to get your research in place or whatever else you need BEFORE you respond.

How many times have you responded from a place of anger and regretted it for a lifetime? How many times have you responded immediately and found yourself lost for words, or embarrassed by tears of frustration?

Case study:

  1. I recently received a letter which was full of mistruths. It came from the Manager of the small community in which I live. I had previously tried to let the writer know that their understanding of a certain paragraph in a letter was incorrect, in terms of her understanding of the law. A year later, I was among many in my small community to receive another letter – again, full of false statements. My blood boiled. How could someone be in a position of authority not know the law? I am not a lawyer but I believe I understand a thing or two. For example, you don’t pick and choose paragraphs of the law and then adapt them to whatever you are trying to write falsely quoting the law! The law is the law.
  2. I so wanted to react and tell this person how wrong they were but I remembered what the monk said: “Smile, breathe, and go slowly”. It has been my mantra since the start of the pandemic.
  3. I shook my head at the insanity of it all. I waited 2 days and listened to my inner voice. I heard it tell me to send the letter I had received to the governing body who wrote the Act – to make sure they felt the same way. They did!
  4. It is no longer MY opinion. It is the opinion of the very people who wrote the Act
  5. I wrote and advised the writer of that FACT (in the law, with quotes from the President of the governing body) and asked that a written apology be sent to all the people to whom the letter had been sent.
  6. I can smile, breathe and continue to go slowly because nothing that was threatened in the letter can be used against me, or my neighbours
  7. The bully needs to get her facts right before threatening people.
  8. I took my time. Got the facts right and confirmed. I helped myself and my neighbours.
  9. I am smiling, breathing, and continuing my life… slowly.

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