Day 20 of 59 Days: "Proud as a Peacock"
Day 20: “Proud as a Peacock”
May 10, 2019
Original Painting: “Humbleness”, Acrylic on Cardboard, 18×24, 11/12/2018
Recently, several people have told me that I must promote myself more, even saying “Tell them how good you are.” In my head I said, “uh, no! If I have to tell them, I am not.” As I am writing this, I glance out my window and there is a bright double rainbow. Stunning!! The expression “Proud as a Peacock,” is to say someone is vain or self-centered. Neither the rainbow nor the peacock show themselves in vanity or self-centeredness. They are just being natural. Their naturalness has a magnetism, a florescence that draws us in.
When I created this painting, I was reflecting on the I Ching gua #5, Humbleness. The author of the translation I use, Alfred Huang, referred to the Tao Te Ching (Tao) in his commentary. The Tao states, I have three treasures I guard and hold dear; love, contentment and humbleness. This is paraphrasing from Alfred Huang’s translation. I have two other versions of the Tao in my home. I wanted to find the chapter reference. What I found, along with the chapter reference 67, was two different lists of three treasures. Some may be synonymous, but others aren’t. Here are the other trinities of treasures: simplicity, patience and compassion; mercy, economy, daring not to be ahead of others. All are qualities or virtues I hope I have and share with others.
When I was a child, my favorite book was “Pavo and The Princess,” by Evaline Ness. It’s been a few years since I read the story, but as I remember the princess was unruly, mean, self-centered and she doesn’t cry. The king is concerned for her emotional well-being and gives her a white peacock to care for. The princess torments the bird and it flies away. The princess starts to cry and then cannot stop. Pavo, the peacock, is moved by her tears and cries out too…they are reunited…
Living a life of virtue, a life with compassion, love, simplicity, contentment, patience and mercy is not an easy path. The Tao, zen philosophy and other teachings refer to this as the center path. It is living in this world and not of it. It is not easy. At times, you may not be certain if you are walking this path. I hope I do. My heart wants to, and I am also human. I make mistakes.
Sitting here this morning, contemplating on this painting, “Humbleness”, seeing the rainbow…(guess what joyful surprise came again…ANOTHER Rainbow as I finish this blog…my heart is full of joy) I question how I can live in this world and not of it, make my living, be natural and honor the trinity of treasures the Tao speaks of. I long to be understood and to understand. Is it enough to just be? Be yourself as you are? Be loving, compassionate, merciful and kind? Be patient, content and economic? The possibility of being true to myself and not dulling myself down for anyone is key. This is not arrogance, self-centered or prideful…it is being like the peacock, the rainbow, the painting…it just is.
Blessings and peace on your journey.
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