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Saturday, December 11, 2010

White Knight:“It’s my own invention”

The White Knight arrives just in time to prevent Alice from being taken prisoner by The Red Knight. After a very brief and somewhat clumsy battle, The Red Knight concedes, and The White Knight generously offers to escort our protagonist to the final square of the chessboard where she will become a queen.

The White Knight, who Lewis Carroll most identified with, is quite excited to play a bit of show-and-tell with Alice as he has many inventions, all of which he is proud of, yet none of which seem to have any practical use: an upside down box for keeping the rain out, “But the things can get out,” as well, Alice observes. There are horse anklets for protecting against shark bites, a saddle-mounted mouse trap for keeping mice away, a device for keeping hair attached, and so on and so forth and it never gets any less silly.

As well as the numerous unsuccessful attempts at inventions, the pale paladin makes plentiful pursuits atop his trusty stead and plunges each time. Alice, logically concludes, “I’m afraid you’ve not had much practice,” though this comment is met with great surprise and a bit of contempt: “I’ve had plenty of practice, . . . plenty of practice!” No, The White Knight is neither incredibly adept at his endeavors, nor is he perceptive of his imperfections. Yes, he has a great imagination, and is quite entertaining, but as a Knight, well, he could use a bit more proficiency.

For better and for worse, The White Knight stands as a symbol of undying resilience, and doesn’t let his multitudinous mishaps quash his spirits. In fact, he seems to be quite proud of himself despite the frequent shortcomings of his endeavors.

Our undaunted templar is not completely incompetent, however. After all, he does manage to rescue Alice from the captivity of The Red Knight, and escorts her to the final square where she becomes a queen. Yes, he is a very powerful and kind-hearted soul, but maybe a bit too much action, and not enough forethought.

There seems to be an imbalance here. The intentions are good, and there’s undying dedication to being productive, yet it comes to little good. Maybe with a bit more contemplation and a bit less forward motion, our good Knight might find himself more frequently atop his trusty stead than beneath it.

This may be your queue to slow down, and quit trying to accomplish so much. Instead of quantity, focus on quality. Balance the helpfulness of critical feedback with your undying inspirations for creation. If you can get this trick mastered, you’ve pretty much won the game.
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Meditation: Try doing everything as slowly as possible. Notice if you start to get frustrated, and just take a deep breath in, and let it all out. Sit down slowly. Take your time getting comfortable, and then focus on your breath. As you do, gently start to slow down by deepening the breath. When you’ve got a full inhale, pause for just a moment to see what that’s like, and then slowly exhale, and when you’ve let all the air out, pause again for just a moment before inhaling again. Go slowly (but not enough to get light headed). Now imagine yourself just being. Not doing anything. Not accomplishing anything. Just sitting, like a flower or a tree. Notice what thoughts come up (Frustration? Annoyance? Criticism?). The more time you give yourself to slow down and just notice, the more likely you are to find that essential balance of doing and being that brings a great sense of fulfillment. You may be surprised to realize you’re even more productive and efficient when you take things at a slower pace.

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