Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Please in Kind Prevail


You think you know yourself until things start happening, until you lose the insulation of normality. ~Robert Wilson

The photo above shows a label on the side of a jigsaw puzzle box. I was immediately intrigued. 

“Specification colors and contents may yary from illustration, pls in kind prevail.” [sic]

If I consider just the first part of the sentence, does that mean that the puzzle inside the box might not be the one illustrated? Could it be a different puzzle altogether? Maybe the same picture but with different colors? Or could it possibly not even be a puzzle? A total surprise? Not  at all what I thought I was buying?

This year might have well come with such a cautionary label. I laugh now at my January post about 2020 being the year of perfect vision. I suppose in some way it is that indeed, showing us with sometimes shocking clarity some things we may not wish to see. But that is not what I meant when I wrote that post. I thought I was “buying” a very different type of year, a year of insight, wisdom, enlightenment. And above all some peace, especially after the intense last two years in my personal life. 

Instead, this year has, for many of us, stripped away the insulation of normality. And we are discovering that perhaps we don’t know ourselves as well as we thought we did. The year of perfect vision has brought us face to face not only with the world around us, but with ourselves. And who is it that is staring back? 

Perhaps our reflection varies in “specifications, colors, and contents” from the illustration of ourselves that we have painted and displayed to others, and most importantly to ourselves. What do we find when we open the box and take a look inside?

Maybe this is where the second part of the label comes in. “Please in kind prevail” could mean lots of things. I’ve had a fun time exploring some of the possibilities. But I this context, I like to think that it means to have an attitude of tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, and kindness, when things or people, including ourselves, are not what we expect or want them to be. 

This might involve venturing beyond our comfort zone, questioning our underlying assumptions, willingness to tolerate uncertainty, humility to surrender to the unknown, courage to keep our hearts open when fear wants to shut them up tight. 

Perhaps this little puzzle box label is all the wisdom we need in this year of perfect vision. If we can see and manifest kindness in the midst of chaos, then surely we will prevail. 

My religion is kindness. ~the Dalai Lama

14 thoughts on “Please in Kind Prevail”

  1. Galen, this Pandemic is teaching me to live my life from the inside-out. It's not what's happening in the world around us what's happening in the world inside of us. This covid-19 seems to be feeling our innermost biases and emotions.. good and bad.

  2. Don, I like your phrase about living from the inside out. There are so many ways to understand that concept, like your description of the virus situation reflecting our innermost emotions. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Your comment made me smile, CW. Do our brains simply insist on making sense of what doesn't make sense? Perhaps. I'm sure there are many ways to "make sense" of this funny label. We have to find humor and wisdom where we can!

  4. Strange label for a strange year, Galen, but I must agree that 2020 has caused me to engage in much introspection and focus on what is most important to my life and in my life. Showing kindness to myself and others certainly tops the list.

  5. We so often forget to be kind to ourselves, Martha. So great that you recognize the importance of directing some kindness and compassion to yourself, especially in these challenging times.

  6. I do believe that this year is a teaching ground for many different learning experiences. I loved how you wrote about this. I think it is kind of a test to see how we are going to choose to react to the circumstances. I hope it is a humbling time where many learn to be more tolerant, forgiving, understanding, kind and loving towards all. I guess, I would say more Christlike.
    Blessings and hugs!

  7. Well, after having pondered the words, I have no idea what is meant, what was intended, but somehow between the words I think I "get it." This year is like no other, and I suspect it will continue to get weirder as we approach the fall. I'm just glad to know I have some like-minded friends to share this journey with me. 🙂

  8. Indeed, we are not alone! I have no idea what the original intent of the label was. Perhaps it was asking for tolerance of minor deviations from the image. I asked my daughter who grew up in China if the label was a translation of the Chinese above the English. I thought if it was she could shed some light. However, the Chinese portion is a warning about small pieces as choking hazards. So we are left with the English to make of it what we will. Thanks for commenting, DJan.

  9. A teaching ground. I love that phrase, LeAnn. I've been thinking in those terms lately when I encounter something challenging. I ask "Teach me." It gives me a different perspective on whatever the situation is. Thanks for commenting.

  10. I hope this comment comes through Galen. The system has changed and I've lost my portrait pic somewhere.

    Sometimes I want to know the underneath me, the beneath the socio-cultural 'normal'me, beneath the insulated me. I sense it frequently, but unless those layers of 'normal' are stripped away by something extreme or very challenging, if you like, unless I am put to the test (or be willing to be taught, as you say in one of your comments), I can only suspect what lies beneath and not know for sure. But this is okay. It's kind of enough. And operating from a place of tolerance, kindness etc to others etc, having empathy, strikes me as being close to that underneath of oneself AND those you are engaging with with these values.

  11. Yes, we are missing your portrait, but the comment came through fine.

    That "normal" self is sometimes called the conditioned self. We are taught to conform to a social order that is constructed and imposed on people. It is artificial, even if it is well intentioned. In the development of Chinese culture, this is the represented by the different perspectives of Confucius and Lao Tzu. We in western culture have over the millennia set ourselves against nature, believing in our right and destiny to have dominion and rule. And we can see how that has unfolded in our present day. So how, in the culture we exist in, do we find inner alignment and balance? How do we trust that there is a natural order to things that is not dependent on our control and direction? This is why we practice, and this is why, as one of my teachers used to say, that we "trust the practice." Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Lynne.

  12. You're most welcome, and I'm so glad you are safe. When you mentioned 'the conditioned self', that is exactly it! Two books come to mind with your comment. One is the development of Homo Sapiens ( Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari) , which addresses how we as a society created a constructed order which relies upon us all following 'the rules' – that it is not fact. It's a fantastic book, so widely encompassing and with some quirky creative connections too. The other book is a psychology book which looks at how we develop a first adulthood based upon received conditioning, but then if we progress from there we enter a second adulthood, much richer, more fulfilled, and authentic in nature, where we can become 'more ourselves' the selves we started out with in the beginning:
    The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Mid-Life (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts)
    by James Hollis. All these threads weave together for me, with Taoism too, and at some point will be in my memoir because I want to share it. Cheers, Galen :>)

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