One day this week I had an ordinary opportunity to practice everyday elegance and remind myself to gracefully glide through life like a swan, not flap about like a chicken with its head cut off.
I was in the middle of cleaning our house when I realized I needed a couple of things from the store before getting on with a long to-do list for the day. I was tired, and the temperature outside was pushing 100 degrees. As I drove into the parking lot, a driver ran a stop sign forcing me to slam on my brakes. My purse flew off the seat, and its contents spilled on the floor.
As I began to pull into a parking spot, I had to swerve to avoid another driver going the wrong direction. My cell phone slid deep under the passenger’s seat. In the blistering heat of the concrete parking lot, I practically stood on my head while moving the seat forward and backwards trying to grab the phone that was just out of reach. By the time I retrieved it (ironically using an ice scraper from the glove compartment) I was hot and bothered.
Muttering to myself and ready to flap into the store feeling anything but graceful, I paused and remembered to be a swan. I walked around my car and got back in the driver’s seat. I started the ignition, turned the radio to classical music, and adjusted the air vents. For a couple of minutes, I sat still and let myself cool down.
Then I briefly closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and thought about the acronym I have used as a personal mantra for years. These four little words are a quick and easy way for me to quickly adjust my attitude and face the world with a modicum of elegance.
SWAN ~ Simple Wise Attractive Nice
I’ve never written about this acronym for fear of revealing a silly little secret, but I’ve been thinking about how our personal lives, our relationships, and our communities could be improved if we all paid attention to those four simple words.
On this steamy ordinary day, I reminded myself that life is really pretty simple and my problems are relatively few. I was glad I’d wisely taken a few minutes to cool down and recenter myself. Wearing a casual denim dress, I felt reasonably attractive and thought about having good posture and a pleasant countenance. As my irritation melted away, I was more aware of simply being nice to fellow customers and store employees.
Simple. Wise. Attractive. Nice. Such an easy way to remember to be like a swan, gliding through an ordinary day with a little everyday elegance. §
“Grace will take you places hustling can’t.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Featured Art ~ White Swan on White Lake by Melissa Pinner