Yesterday, Brother Phap Tien made a comment that I should smile more, that I practice freshness. It really struck home. I made a comment about how my friends always tell me to smile more.
I think this smiling more thing is ultimately about opening my heart to strangers, about being open-hearted and present even though some situations may cause insecurity and anxiety., however slight. I had typically hidden behind a veil of non-emotion in order to protect myself, my ego, to hide my heart from possible hurt.
But today it showed differently. That letting go of all such defensive postures, there''s a lightness to life. And to laugh often and easily certainly feels good. Letting go of my own agendas, and opening up to new people, I proceeded to help the guest team clean up the rooms, and to receive guests. It was a beautiful morning visiting the various new rooms in West Hamlet to clean them. It rained in an epic way - lightning even struck our tea house and power got cut and all. But all in good spirits. I really love the ease and joyful pace with which the Plum Village folks worked - no stress energy, joking around, no haste but with speed nonetheless, and always remembering to care for oneself and others.
We ended with a nice picnic on absolutely indulgent snacks of potato chips, tarts and chocolate biscuits in the laundry van, chatting and enjoying company and food. What a way to end some hard work (though hard by Plum Village standards but hardly hard by standards outside!). A sweet ending indeed to smoothen ruffled feathers if any, and build brotherhood and sisterhood. I wish to work like that when back home. Not pushed by stress energy, but with lightness and freshness of a joyful ease. And above all, working not for work but to nurture brotherhood and sisterhood.
To be continued...