Saturday, 26 January 2008

Hurried Leisure

Yesterday, after a particularly stressful week at work, I had stopped to pick up a few groceries, and decided to treat myself to a fancy coffee beverage (well, a green tea latte actually) at the conveniently located ubiquitous coffee outlet in the grocery store. I was second in line, waiting for a mom and her ~10 year old son ahead of me. The little boy couldn't really decide what to get, a fairly common condition for 10 year old boys, I suspect. The mom was getting a bit anxious about this it seemed, and at one point I heard her say, "Hurry up, Evan, there are people waiting in line behind us."

I don't think I was making impatient noises behind them, at least I hope I wasn't. I'm not really sure I guess, but it was pretty much all I could do to just stand there, holding on to my shopping cart, staring blankly ahead. I was just glad it was Friday and that I wasn't at work anymore. Then I got to thinking about how sad it was that even when people are giving themselves a little break, even then there is a perception that we must hurry up, and not get in the way of others who we assume must be in just as much of a hurry as we are.

Nona at the Everyday Yogini has a practice where she writes a meditative Buddhist poem, called a gatha, when encouraging herself to engage in a more healthful practice. So here's my first gatha, to encourage myself to cultivate a patient demeanor:
When I am waiting in line
I vow with all beings,
To give myself and others the gift of openness
like a tea cup waiting to be filled.
Picture courtesy this flickr site.


DC said...

I really like your gatha. As Gandhi said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed." I used to rush through everything, trying to "get finished" with one thing so I could "get finished" with another. I worked in an extremely busy professional job -- sometimes 80 to 100 hours a week. Then my perspective changed. Now I prefer doing things methodically. Hanging up clothes to dry, making bread by hand, and even cleaning the house have become enjoyable tasks.

We point to certain moments in time and call them beginnings and endings, but they are all really quite arbitrary. As Albert Einstein put it, "Time and space are modes by which we think and not the conditions in which we live."

There's so much more to enjoy when we don't try to impose deadlines and order on things unnecessarily. When we slow down, the universe comes alive, and the mystery of creation reveals itself everywhere.
There's an old poem by William Blake that expresses this idea:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Life goes by so quickly. It's good to learn to appreciate its simple joys -- they're really the best ones.

Chile said...

Mmm, I like this one and the one left by dc as well. Thank you.

Theresa said...

DC, I know I've bugged you about this before, but you seriously need to consider writing your own blog! Wouldn't you agree, Chile?

I've also started really enjoying household tasks that I used to dismiss as drudgery. I enjoy the days where I'm home, tending the woodstove while doing laundry and making soup, pausing to look outside at the birds at the feeder now and then. So much more relaxing than my day job, and not drudgery at all.

Chile said...

To be honest, I hadn't checked and seen that DC doesn't have a blog. You're right, Theresa, but maybe DC is smart and realizes just how much time having a blog takes up! Leaves little time for leisure, hurried or not. ;-)

DC said...

I appreciate your kind words, Theresa. I don't have the time and energy to devote to a blog right now, but I'm glad that there are interesting and caring people like you and Chile who do. Really, it's easier for me to write something in response to what others have written anyway. I see things that inspire me, and words just sort of spill out on their own, without me really thinking about it. I'm not sure I could write well if I had to do it on a regular basis in a vacuum.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for being who you are.

Theresa said...

That's true Chile, it can take a while to get a posting just right. Although, for me, blogging is a thing that my brain really likes to do. It slows me down to consider the implications of things, and to reflect on thoughts that might just flit in and out of my head otherwise.

When I started blogging I didn't think anyone but a few family members and friends might be reading it, let alone comment on what I'd written. It has been a delightful suprise to have connected with people all over the world with similar viewpoints. So thank you DC and Chile and everyone who reads and comments - it is good to know we are all in this together.

Chile said...

Me too, Theresa. I'd rather be blogging than washing dishes (with very little water). LOL!

And we read what you write because you write good stuff. :)

Theresa said...

Well, thanks! :)