Is your handwriting good?
I always knew mine was… unique. Some loved it. Some complained it was hard to read. My mother sent me a textbook titled “Beautiful Writing With a Pen.” But I didn’t take the hint: I thought that it was just my way of writing, that not much could be done about it.
Never had I imagined that it could manifest in the context of self-care, but this is how.
My time in the temple coincided with the time when the exhibition of the treasures from the temple was held. Oshosama drove to the museum at least three days a week to offer zazen sessions. I used to join when I could, among other visitors.
After three months of juggling the everyday chores of the temple with events and lectures, the exhibition saw its finale with a record-breaking number of visitors, and the tranquillity was reinstalled. We were back to the quiet, everyday life in the temple.
I caught a glimpse of Oshosama flipping through a notebook signed by the zazen session attendees. “So he does care who came to the session.” That was my thought. I continued swabbing the floor with a wet cloth.
After a short while, he came to me and said “I saw your name in the signed book.” For a second, I wondered if that made him happy that I really joined… NOT. “Your handwriting is terrible. It’s your own name. Write it with care at least,” he said and left.
Oshosama’s handwriting is nothing shouty, not aggressive nor complicated. Each symbol is gentle and clearly articulated, all coming to fit on a sheet of paper with a perfect balance.
Not that I thought I could achieve this level of mastery, but his words lingered in my head.
“Write it with care, at least.”
Of course, it’s my own name. I didn’t think I ever neglected it, but now that he told me so, I started paying more attention and being mindful when I wrote my name. I paid attention to the balance within one symbol, the balance of the entire name and how it fits the space. It felt mindful.
Turned out there were still hundreds of opportunities to practice handwriting my name even in this digital era. I sensed a few extra seconds spent each time and saw that the few seconds did make a difference.
What was I trying to achieve or get done by saving a few seconds of my life, neglecting my own name? My handwriting is still terrible-ish. But I am now more aware of what state I’m in when I am writing.