Something about Choi Jeong Hwa’s Breathing Lotus sculpture makes me smile with delight every time I see it.
My whole body smiles, and I grin till my cheeks hurt while people come and go across the Joseph L Alioto Piazza this morning.
We take our stand once again under the shade of the playground trees. Nearby, a man sleeps so soundly, not moving for half an hour or more, that I wonder if he has died in the night.
Soon, he twitches and turns over, and I exhale long and ragged. Had I been holding my breath, waiting for him to show me he still had his?
A clean cut, young man in a white button-down shirt not much lighter than his face sits lotus-fashion across from us on the concrete bench that surrounds the lawn. He faces the sun, hands on knees, palms up, and meditates for 30 minutes. Afterward, he leans back and basks in the suns rays.
Nearby, a tall, graceful, caramel and chocolate colored man with a wide, wide smile practices Tai Chi in the grove, his movements so lithe, so long and gentle, I watch nearly spellbound.
A passerby stops to chat with him about his practice. He is the same young man who practices here regularly.
On one of our first mornings, an Asian-speaking family stopped and watched him for fifteen minutes or so, discussing his technique. Later, when he stopped for a break, in broken English they praised his skill. Soon, the entire family was taking lessons from him, laughing and enjoying themselves.
Always, this young man is generous with ready smiles and conversation, no matter who stops to discuss his practice. Each time, he visits with them until they are ready to move on, then resumes his practice without so much as a shrug.
What peace we might make in the world if we could carry such generosity of spirit and heart throughout our every day. How simple a thing: To smile, to stop a moment and share the glory of the day.
Text and image © L Kathryn Grace – All rights reserved