Gentle on My Mind

She has got me thinking. About spiritual practice.

I know I don't fit into the formulas. I just don't. (And she's not suggesting formulas are the answer.)

Yet there are things I do. Directions that capture my attention.

Today, for instance, I am thinking about gentility. It is fascinating to me that some people experience me as gentle and others don't. (I've had comments made in both directions.)

I can't say I understand this very well. I can say it has me curious enough to do some focused musing on the topic of gentility.

My first discovery at dictionary.com makes me laugh. This is not really the gentility I'm seeking...

1. good breeding or refinement
2. affected or pretentious politeness or elegance
3. the status of belonging to polite society
4. members of polite society collectively

My second discovery also makes me laugh. I look up the word gentle and find it can mean quiet. Quiet I am not! :)

Gentle has its down sides: unduly submissive, weak, servile, docile, tame.

And its up sides: peaceful, soothing, tender, humane, merciful, kind, courteous, noble.

One of its antonym sets is: violent, sudden.

Where to begin in pursuit of gentility? I think it doesn't hurt that I'm taking ballet. It trains thoughtfulness, deliberateness into the body. Suddenness is out. It can hurt the muscles and the visual effect. Verbally, I think I tend to be the sudden type. I come from a family that loves to answer quickly. Nothing wrong with that in certain contexts.

But perhaps this is where I'll begin. The issue of suddenness. Maybe tomorrow I'll look into the book of Proverbs and see what I can find. To gently instruct both body and mind.

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Anonymous Alex Marestaing said...

I like the way you ponder and place so much meaning in words, very thoughtful.

It's true that gentility is often misread as weakness, but it takes a lot of strength, and faith, to be gentle in this world, I think.

Blogger Laura said...

One thing I have found very educational over the years is to discover that the way I see myself is often not very close to the way I am viewed by others. To make this discovery, however, one must be very brave and solicit feedback from familiars about how they see me. It's not always easy. Sometimes I hear some hard stuff.

But I would only have good stuff to say to you. :) Perhaps I'm a wee bit biased, but I think you're the cat's meow.

Blogger Joelle said...

Mmmm. I've often been called gentle. And am finding that with "gentility" as you call it comes its antonym--violence. There is always the shadow with the light. Terribly hard to encounter my own violence in the face of gruesome murder in Juarez. But it's just as real as the sweet, patient, serene calm others pick up on. Maybe not in the form of a gun, but certainly in my passive aggressiveness--words, moods, hidden thoughts. You raise good questions in me....

Blogger Jingle Poetry said...

lovely blog,
Glad to find you.

welcome join us tonight at Jingle Poetry potluck week 14...


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