I wander in the Zen Gardens with Tai and just simply breathe here at times beyond the pressures of the every day. Tai looks at me with raised eyebrows as he knows as well as I do that sneaking off here is not really an option when you are supposed to be living your daily life to the optimum. But hey, peace is peace right? and all too soon the life journey pulls forward into new directions. However, for the moment I am here, transported to a place of such peace I will just soak it up.
I rest by the large Koi pool and dark eyes survey me carefully from the seat next to me. I try to ignore him as much as possible however, there is no ignoring a persistent, if be it, quiet guide. I have spent so much time with Tai since Hiatte left and Elom that I dread to think of him leaving. He reminded me the other day, that all good Teachers, empower their students to be all they can be and no movement forward can be made unless you change tutors or unless you change you yourself. I raised MY eyebrows back at him over that one since I love change so much....
He chuckles now as he follows my thoughts and leans towards me dark eyes twinkling. "A story?" He asks and I feel like a small child offered a treat. "Please!" I comment in delight. The air stills and the Zen Garden holds its breath as I am pulled into the story, weaving and playing through me, around me and I watch as it unfolds and I am in the story as Tai again spins the magic of the Parables.
The Ill Fitting Coat:
In the middle of No Where, a place beyond where people travel to daily, and the days wind on forever, there was a shop which held all the most unusual and beautiful things. They were never used, never brought, never changed, they just remained the same, day in, day out or so it seemed.
One day a car pulled up outside the shop and a grumpy, thin woman with a long snooty nose and an indignant stare got out and pushily pushed into the shop. The Proprietor startled stared at her with wide eyes. The woman looked down her nose at the proprietor and said rudely "I haven't got all day for you to stare at me, I am from out of Town and I require a Coat! This inclement weather in this place of No Where, is terrible". The Proprietor blinked, blinked again and shuffled out from beyond the counter and ushered the lady to the stand of brilliant coloured coats, like a myriad of peacocks, in a multitude of hues, snuggled together over the coat rail.
"Oh" said the snooty nosed Lady in delight "and here to think I would never find anything in this backwater". The Proprietor's black eye's twinkled. "Madam, you never know what you could find any where" he commented. She stared down her nose at him. "Hmmph" she said and went back to looking over the coats. She pulled coats from the rack and handed them to the proprietor disparagingly, "not this, not this, not this". "Ohhhhhhhh!" She pulled from the bottom, a coat in the blackest of shades, shimmering like a peacocks feathers, it blackness deceiving as you tried to find which colour it truly was.
"Perfect!" She commented. The Proprietor mildly commented "I do not believe that is your size Madam", she turned and glared at him "Don't be ridiculous!" she snapped "It says here "One size fits all". The Proprietor hung up the other coats hurriedly and said mildy, quietly "Madam, I should warn you". "Oh rubbish!" She snapped again rudely, "It's perfect and I believe it will be perfect on me!". The coat shimmered in the light of the shop, the colours blending into illusions of blues, greens, pinks and again to the inkiest of blacks. She swirled the coat around behind her and stuffed her arms into the sleeves. The Coat shimmered in rainbow colours for a moment and then tightened on the woman body, hugging her. The Proprietor stepped back a step and the woman admired herself in the mirror.
The Coat fell to just above the woman's short boots and the belt hung gently around the back, it looked across the back like a second skin to the woman and the Proprietor shuddered again. "I believe I shall just do it up and look at it again" the snooty nosed woman commented, preening at herself in the mirror. She turned this way and that admiring herself in the shimmering coat and started to do up the buttons. The Proprietor's black eyes gleamed and she turned to him suspiciously, hands just moments from doing the top button up. "How much is this coat?" She eyed him up and down. He raised his eyebrows, "I believe Madam would have to take the coat off to look at the tag" he commented quietly, warningly. But the woman was so full of herself, she glared at him again and turned back to the mirror.
The coat tightened ominously against the woman but she was too taken with her appearance in the mirror and she twirled again to see how the coat looked from behind. "That's funny" she said, "the colour on the back of the coat seems to be not as brilliant as on the front" and she turned backwards and forwards again. The Proprietor commented "Ah Madam, but see this Coat is not all that it seems, for this coat has the ability to change to the personality of the wearer". "Oh Tosh" she snorted "Don't fill me with such utter rubbish, and if the coat was able to change to the wearer, then it would look amazing on me". The Proprietor raised a single eyebrow but refrained from commenting.
The snooty nosed, grumpy woman turned this way and that as the colours of the Coat changed. She also shrugged her shoulders a bit more, "That's funny, the Coat feels tighter, much tighter than when I first put it on". She reached behind her to pull down the sleeve of the Coat to shrug it off, but could not seem to be able to reach the other hand to the sleeve, she shrugged again and turned to the Proprietor "Help me to get it off, it feels extremely tight and I believe I DO not like the colour that it is changing to". The Proprietor looked at her sadly, but intensely. "Madam, I did warn you that the Coat really wasn't for you, not your size or style at all".
The Coat tightened again and the belt looped around the woman's waist, like an old familiar friend and squeezed. She drew in her breathe in horror and turned to the Proprietor "It is NOT a nice Coat at all, in fact I find it MOST Ill Fitting. Help me to remove it right NOW" and she stamped her feet. The Proprietor raised both his eyebrows and his hands at the same time in a placating manner. "Madam, I have no control over the Coat or the situation for it seems that the Ill Fitting Coat, likes your Ill fitting Temperament".
The woman glared at the Proprietor with horror and indignation. "Well DON'T just stand there! DO SOMETHING!" The Proprietor peered into her face. "But Madam, that would need serious adjustments to your personality rather than the coat". "I don't care!" Screeched the now red-faced, snooty nosed woman. "DO something!". The Proprietor grinned widely, brilliantly "Of course Madam, as you insist". The Coat stilled instantly, the dust motes stilled on the air as if for a moment in time, they had stood still, not a sound was heard, a pin could have dropped and you could have heard the echo through the thresholds of time.
The woman blinked twice and looked at the oversized coat that she had on in a messy worn black tone. She took it from her shoulders and held it out to the Proprietor. There was colour in her face and a twinkle in her eye. "Goodness, I don't think this Coat is me at all. Could you recommend something else?" The Proprietor beamed at her and the dust motes twinkled in the air, a brilliance of golds. "Certainly Madam, what about this delightful red? to go with the roses in your cheeks?" The woman smiled and her face lit up and laughter bubbled from her "Why you old charmer you! I think I will try that on". She reached for the red coat and pulled it around her, it fitted like a charm and the Proprietor smiled. "Isn't it amazing what the right Coat can do for you Madam?" She smiled and turned. "Absolutely! I feel like a whole NEW me, thank you!". The Proprietor beamed and the light caught his eyes and reflected back all the colours of the peacock black coat for a moment. "Madam, that is what we are here for" and the lady paid for the coat and happily left the shop, never to be quite the same again. But, then, that's not a bad thing is it?
When I completely finish laughing at this story, I can tell you the moral in case you haven't guessed it. We all wear a coat in some ways, the coat of our personality. We can choose at any moment, at any time to be whom we are. Who we simply CHOOSE to be. So the question really is, who are YOU? Are you defined by what you wear, by what others perceive you are? By how you choose to interact with others or your kindnesses. Take a moment and decide.... Does the Coat YOU wear really reflect whom you really are or is it simply a time for a coat that suits you more.... YOU decide...
And Tai? *blows a kiss and laughter, thank you for pointing out the choices of the "Coats" we wear.