Being Nice

It’s possible I’m not as charming
as I was when I was younger.
Ingratiation used to be my modus operandi,
and being liked my way of weaving safety nets.
Now I work without a net,
since nets are illusions after all.
Someday, without a doubt, I’ll fall
as everybody does, so why not
fly and somersault and soar
according to my soul’s true nature?
So much time and effort spent
in weaving nets, not understanding
that the fall’s essential to the act.

I’ve been falling since I was born.
No amount of flapping will ever help.
So I gently softly glide and see
the wondrous sights spread out before me
and feel the wind against my skin.
Perhaps I’ll land and find myself
back to where I began it all.
To misquote the Bard,
“When the fall is all there is,
the manner of our falling matters.”

It’s not that I’m no longer nice,
whatever, “niceness” really is.
I have an intrinsic kindness, I am sure,
and would never seek to harm.
In fact, I’d like to do some good
as I glide down through the years.
It’s the facade of nice that now is crumbling,
revealing that it, instead of making me secure,
has walled out life and joy;
and kept at bay the deepest parts
of who I truly am.

So when the question rises up and asks,
“But do they still like me now?”
I remind myself that now I like me,
more than ever, and with that thought
I’m probably nicer to be around.

Author: William Martin

Taoist teacher and consultant

One thought on “Being Nice”

  1. Thank you! I definitely struggle with “being nice” instead of letting my life energy lead…
    Work in progress…


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