Every day is a new chance to practice gliding through life with the serenity of a swan. So when I find myself flapping about like a chicken with its head cut off, I picture a swan peacefully floating on a placid lake. Then I think of my acronym for SWAN. These four little words help me quickly adjust my attitude and face the world with a modicum of elegance and grace.
SIMPLE. WISE. ACCOUNTABLE. NICE.
Simple. Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making complicated.” We humans are infamous for making mountains out of molehills. There are few things in life that wouldn’t benefit from a little more simplicity. From our possessions to our words to our busy-ness, simplicity is the secret to our serenity and wellbeing.
Wise. Being wise means showing good judgment. Some synonyms include being prudent, discerning and insightful. A quick look around may indicate these qualities have fallen out of fashion, making them ever more precious. Rumi said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Accountable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where people accepted responsibility for their own behavior? When we are accountable, we stop being deceitful, blaming others and making excuses. Accountability reminds us, despite the behavior of others, we can always be in control of our own actions and reactions.
Nice. Sometimes it seems people are just too busy to be nice. It only takes a second to smile, hold the door, say thank you, or ask about someone’s day. Our minor irritations are no reason not to be nice. Billionaire Sir John Marks Templeton said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.”
We routinely find ourselves in situations that offer the opportunity to be a swan. Recently, I was headed to the grocery store when the skies opened into a pouring rain. A driver ran a stop sign causing me to slam on my breaks. My purse flew off the seat spilling the contents on the floor.
As I began to pull into a parking spot, I had to swerve to avoid another driver going the wrong direction. To my surprise, she was angrily cursing at me out her window. My cell phone slid deep under the passenger’s seat. 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, I was cold and wet. Muttering to myself and ready to stomp into the store feeling anything but serene, I paused and thought about the swan acronym.
Wouldn’t we all be a little better off if we embraced the virtues of simplicity, wisdom, accountability and kindness? Such an easy way to peacefully glide through life like a simple swan. §
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