Temperance has gotten a really bad rap ever since the days of Prohibition in USA history from 1920-1933. It’s one of those words that represents concepts that are worth consideration for me… at least once a day.
I’m not talking about refraining from alcoholic beverages. Frankly, I like wine with dinner and sharing a celebration gin and tonic or frozen Margarita every now and then. I’m also not talking about discipline, continence, abstinence, chastity, self-denial or mortification. I’m not much for punishment and penance. However, I am talking about a temperance – peace and calm – of mind, heart, soul and behavior.
Temperance is a middle way; a path toward moderation, homeostasis, harmony and balance…an equilibrium.
Often temperance is an integration of either seemingly opposing variables or what may have originally looked like two extremes. It’s kind of like joining forces, bringing opposites together… a cooperation or a synthesis.
Temperance reminds me to ask what are the consequences of my decision? If I do that… what might follow? What could happen? Temperance is like good risk assessment. I’m fond of asking: what’s the worst possible thing that can happen?
Temperance keeps me thinking before acting; planning before doing; considering before deciding. It’s just a little bit less impulsive… and slightly more cautious…
Temperance suggests patience and sometimes means I have to either wait or as the kids say… chill my jets.
Temperance is also the ability to sometimes say “no” in anticipation of another possible “yes.”
Temperance reflects my vision…reflecting a clearer, longer term perspective in the future. I am choosing not to “push the river” or rush things along. Instead, I’m deciding to take my time or “go with the flow.” I choose peace now over anxiety or needless worry. I trust this process.
I’m listening to my inner voice (intuition, conscience, Higher Self). I’m maintaining a balanced perspective on the situation right now and I’m taking the time necessary to make my best choices. Temperance says I’m seeking to stay calm and not let other people or situations get the best of me or “force me to act.” Less knee jerk reaction…more thoughtful calm action.
To me, temperance suggests adapting, coordinating and tempering both internal and external influences. It’s a skill that can be mastered with intentional practice and seems to be increasingly more available with maturity.
So…take a deep breath…chill out…and consider some temperance.