velo-city

snowy_mountains.jpg
snowy mountains, Canon Digital Rebel

Being in New York City makes you think about pace, about velocity, about the hustle and the rush, the making it there on time, the MAKING IT as a successful whatever, and the running, literally running for trains. I was fascinated by this as I watched myself step into the flow of it all. I spoke faster at the lunch counter, I trotted down steps and spoke more assertively than usual.

As I rode the subway one afternoon and most of the train car emptied to catch the Express, an old Puerto Rican woman next to me said “Everybody always rushing for something! They always rushing and rushing. You see this bruise?” she said pointing to her cheek. “I was rushing and I fell. No more. If the train is full, I catch the next one.”

And she reminded me of the exasperated words my parents used to always say when I got hurt. “You’re moving too fast! Slow down!”

But as I relayed this story to my friend Sara, she said something really wonderful: “Well, is it about slowing down or just being present in your life? Because my life here in New York is fast and busy but I’m really, really present for all of it.”

And I think she’s right. The point isn’t really slowing down {although this might be a way into experiencing your life more fully} but really being there for it. So I’ve decided I would conduct an experiment. For the next few days, I will be aware of the moments when I am not really present, when I am multi-tasking, when I am talking on the phone and checking my email at the same time, when I’m making jewelry and making doctor’s appointments in the same breath, when I am literally out of breath because I am RUNNING to my yoga class {uh, hello irony}

I challenge you to try this with me for a day and see what happens. Anyone in?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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32 Comments

  1. Lorraine

    I really think that’s a great challenge.
    To live for the now. To breath deeper and
    see things clearer. It’s easy I think, to get caught up in life’s pace, and run on auto pilot.
    To sit with ones self and be present.
    That is a challenge!
    btw I think your photography is wonderful 🙂

  2. jenn

    a,
    i’m totally in. at first while reading your post i thouht… i’m pretty present in my life. but, then i looked down and realized i wasn’t just reading, i’m also trying to eat and check my voice mail all at the same time. i just got this… what if all this multi-tasking and rushing to get stuff done so i have free time is really just making me less present to what is aroud me? less present to my actual life. what if i get done half of what i would normally consider a productive day but i am completly connected and present to everything i do in that day, maybe at the end of that day i will feel more satisfied that ever. i’m willing to try and see.

  3. JC

    I think it would be fun to try; I am in.

  4. Lynette

    I’m in. I’ve been doing everything at such a fast pace now because it seems like I have to. I’m going to enjoy this experiment, and jot in my journal (long time since I did that) to record my status.

  5. Ann Benoit

    im in too! i was just in nyc last night for a design lecture ( i live in the CT suburbs) and it always feel like there’s some sort of unseen force pushing me to move faster when i’m there… but the force is really no one other than me- i’d love to make a choice to either A: slow down, or B: be more present. yea!

  6. lena

    yes! love it. i’m in. i started with your post. i was reading it, faxing with one hand and talking to the secretary. whew. feels better when i just read your words.

  7. rachel

    How does it feel to know that you have changed people’s lives, if only by reminding them to slow down?
    Andrea, you are fabulous.

  8. Donavan

    I’m in. On this one and the last “I’m in” post.
    At least I’m in till I forget my precious presence and fall out into oblivion again.
    The good news is that in again is only as far as right under our Bodhisatva feet.
    In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
    Hey, just like breathing!
    And having sex!
    In and out.
    Wheee!
    😉
    PS- I love NY. I always feel so ALIVE there…my die hard New Yorker friend who has lived extensively on both coasts says that the east coast (Manhattan) is like a raging river that one steps into and is swept along. The west coast (LA and SF) is more like a lake that one floats along on, and must make their own waves.

  9. Heidi

    this is so hard if you’re a Mama, I’ve two boys, 7 month and 4 1/2 years, in the midst of taking care of them, the pets, the house, dinner, bills, errands and chores, and homeschooling…at the end of almost everyday I realize I wasn’t present for most of it….and it’s sad….I’ve studied Buddhism for some time and am even more aware of how I should be present and breath, but in the long list of to do’s, I forget all the time, I love all the buddhist literature I have read, but somewhere someone needs to write the manual for the utterly frazzled parent! I am being truthful but smiling as I write this…..

  10. Dawn

    Welcome back, Andrea. I call it, BEING ON PURPOSE. Doing what you’re doing, when you’re doing it!

  11. andrea

    YOu are so right about how difficult it is!
    especially as a parent..
    maybe it’s just in moments..
    just tiny slices.
    then maybe that becomes a habit
    and your life slowly transforms.
    that’s what i am hoping anyway.
    xo
    a

  12. penelope

    I’m in, sister. Now just let me close my various email accounts and hang up the phone. p-dot

  13. Jason

    What if all of this rushing and muti-tasking and craziness allows for the existence of time to reflect, or be quiet, or spend time with loved ones?
    I like to think that I’m either on or off: pushing all of the unpleasant doctor calls and work deadlines and emails into one frenzied, uncomfortable lump(also known as work hours). In theory this would allow me for more time to be present…right?
    Or do I do this and just transfer the craziness to activities that should center me: ie: listeing to music while I cook a good meal with my girlfriend while I pet the dog who is watching cartoons?
    Shite, now I’ve gone and confused myself, once again slipping out of the present.
    I am going to go for a very long walk in the woods tomorrow.

  14. Katherine

    oh yes! I was just thinking about this yesterday . . . it *is* about being present not about the speed! yes 🙂

  15. kat

    So true, so true. Since I picked up The Simple Living Guide, I have been trying to do that: to be fully present in moments. When I’m not doing something else while talking on the phone, it actually gives me the chance to really listen to my friends and family. When I focus on each thing I do, it gives me a chance to truly enjoy cooking, knitting, watching. Life is too short to run through it.
    Though, I will admit, just being in DC makes my stress level rise. Sometimes it’s nice to be in a city that has a difference pace!

  16. Julia

    I’m soooo….in!! Even as a frazzled, single mom and special ed. teacher, I am going to really try this for a few days. (All the more reason to…don’t you think??) Thanks for the great idea and the inspiration. Even in the moments when I find this undertaking difficult I will feel, at least like we are all trying to be more “present” together. 🙂

  17. monica lee

    A really great thing to “practice” as the holidays approach. What is the old saying? It takes 28 days to make or break a habit? Shall we slow down experience the holidays of a different level?

  18. jolene

    i’m in!
    it will be tough, but maybe it will also keep me from reaching for the dognuts and candy! being present for me means making better choices for my mind AND body.
    😉
    ps andrea, i ordered one of your men’s t-shirts. love the color and the softness of the cotton – and of course, the wonderful superhero logo!

  19. Laura

    OH yeah. I’m in.
    This photo is amazing. Thank you.

  20. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  21. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  22. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  23. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  24. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  25. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  26. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  27. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  28. Anonymous

    There is a favorite saying for Friends: Be where you are. Do what you are doing.
    I’m in! Don’t forget to try this with chocolate…it gets even better when you pay attention.

  29. rachel

    yes!

  30. jenn

    Okay–!

  31. Andrea

    I’m in! I read the Dr. Phil weight loss book, and one of his things was don’t do anything else while you’re eating. For me, that was far harder than changing my eating habits! It’s like, dude, I always eat my fast-food cheeseburger when I’m checking my afternoon e-mail! Fully present, here I come!

  32. bruce

    I very much enjoy your photos and your funky green coat 🙂
    Doesn’t it go like if you really are present then the need to get so much done subsides. Just like when your body makes you ill so you *STOP*, you spend 3 days say on your back – and realise that those 3 days of things weren’t so necessary after all. Motor mind motoring.
    BTW: hello

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