While odds are we won’t be faced with armed conflict over a slight to our allegiances or affront to our honor, there is value in adopting an old samurai practice for developing resilience.
If we sit for a moment, before leaving our gates, imagining sneers, jeers, disgust, clucks, *tsks* and frowns of all those disapproving our very existence, much less our opinions, dress, gender, age, skin color, the way we walk or talk or breathe —if we imagine all the rude drivers, pedestrians, shopping carts cutting us off, tailgating, flipping us the finger for being too fast, too slow, taking up space. And throw in all the clerks, officials, staff and petty tyrants, annoyed to be of service. All the macho, catty, salacious or haughty stares, challenges, brush-offs and confrontations of the day. But also: all the unexpected smiles, and courtesies, the random acts of kindness, the joy or excitement in a child’s face, the looks of love and shared intimacies. The frail, the innocent, the wonder. We can start our day with equanimity, without Pollyanna expectations or cynical fatalism. The world is simply what it is. Both the pettiness and grandeur. And it’s nothing personal, to those prepared for its full embrace.