blossoms

blossoms.jpg
Spring has sprung here in San Francisco!, Canon Digital Rebel

I read this quote today:

You have a saying, “to kill two birds with one stone.”
But our way is to kill just one bird with one stone.
– Suzuki Roshi

I’ve been looking at my relationship to time these days. I somehow never think I have enough of it, always racing to the next thing, never quite sinking into the moment. My friend Gene {who ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand this year} said to me, “Even when we are eating a bite of food, we are not present while we are chewing. We hardly even the taste what we have in our mouths because we are already looking for the next bite to stab.”

Yikes. That is true.

So I have been watching myself these days, noticing when I RUN LIKE HELL for the bus, or run up and down the stairs in my house, or race for the phone or check my email while catching up with said person on the phone, and just generally not paying attention. We call ourselves multi-taskers like this is some wonderful new skill we’ve learned, when really it’s another way we’ve mastered of being out of the moment, of not experiencing our lives fully. Maybe we should try killing just one bird every once in a while.

I know we know this.

We nod our heads and say, Yes, yes. But we are humans and we are Americans and we are programmed this way. We like our zippy red cars and our T1 connection and our burger our way. We want it fast. We want it now. We don’t like to wait.

My friend Sasha told me about a friend of hers who lives in NYC and refuses to run for the subway. Even when he sees his train pulling in as he is paying his fare, he has promised himself that he will never dash for a subway car.

As I trotted down Mission St. last week, a bit late for an appointment, I thought of him and slowed down. I watched the 33, my bus, the one that NEVER comes, pull into the stop a half a block ahead of me. I forced myself to slow to a regular clip and sure enough the bus pulled away in front of me. I used my mantra, “There is nowhere to get to. Everything is perfect.”

And you know what? As I sat and waited for another bus, my dear friend Sasha saw me and pulled up in her car to give me a ride. It was SO much better than the bus and in the end, I arrived to my appointment on time.

Everything is perfect.

“You yourself are time-your body, your mind, the objects around you. Plunge into the river of time and swim, instead of standing on the banks and noting the course of the currents.”
– Philip Kapleau

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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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35 Comments

  1. Sara

    Andrea, What powerful words! Thank you for sharing. The quotes and your own thoughts are always inspirational.

  2. jessica

    your post reminds of a reading in a cookbook i love *tomato blessings & radish teachings* … the author tells us to rememember, “when cut the carrots, cut the carrots. when you cut the onions, cut the onions.”
    whenever i’m chopping veggies, i remind myself to be mindful of the knife slicing through the carrots, the crunch of the carrot, the contrast of the orange against the glint of the blade, the sound an errant piece of carrot makes as it hits the floor … chopping veggies can be very meditative and is my favorite cooking activity.
    thank you sharing. i needed the reminder. 🙂

  3. AlisonG

    What a great reminder of how to be “in the now”.
    Last week I ran for a bus and boarded just in the nick of time, only to realize that I had gotten on the right route going the wrong way. If I had just taken my time, I would have arrived home sooner!

  4. Theresa

    I recently find it hard to remember that the journey IS the destination. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Leonie

    Amen to that sista. I love these buddhist flavoured posts of yours 🙂

  6. Marilyn

    Great post. I just posted this morning that I wished I had more TIME right now. As if it’s something we can buy in bulk at Costco…or surf the Sunday newspaper circulars to see who has it on sale and how much of it we can afford. It’s staggering to think that I *still* forget that there is no such thing as ‘more’ time…it’s just a matter of how I use the time that exists…(unless we think about time being nothing more than an illusion…and at that point my head starts hurting from thinking too much…) I stopped running for buses and trains years ago…I wish I could say it’s because I grew enlightened…but really it was just that after a certain age I couldn’t handle the indignity of chasing after public transit… 🙂

  7. carrster

    That was awesome! I have to try to remember to slow down more often. Such a great cosmic reminder to be picked up too!
    I’m SO jealous of blooming flowers in SF. We are still in the thick of winter (NE Minnesota) and I long for green grass and sprouts poking through. Maybe by the end of May…*sigh* Thanks for the picture…a beautiful reminder that spring IS coming.

  8. Emily

    Thanks Andrea. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with ourselves. I like your mantra. I felt my shoulders relax just reading this post.
    Have a great day.

  9. EricaLucci

    It’s funny. Reading about you choosing not to run for the bus when it pulled in only a half block in front of you made me feel very, very anxious. I wasn’t comfortable with you not being concerned about missing the bus. Wow, that sure says something about my relationship with time. I’m not even comfortable with people around me slowing down!

  10. Todd H.

    What a wonderful entry.
    Along the lines of slowing down and living in the present moment, I read in a book about Buddhism that enlightenment is the path, not the destination. I do not meditate to become enlightened, I meditate because that’s what enlightened people do. You do not need to be “there” to be happy, because “there” is already “here.”
    Anyway, love the pictures.
    All the best,
    T.H.

  11. Amanda

    Wow, I was just speaking with my husband tonight about my tendency to rush all the time. I am a social worker at a large inner city hospital and I often leave the day feeling like I skimmed over too many things or missed small details. I especially hate when I feel like I am not totally present for patients when meeting with them or families to discuss issues. I just said tonight before dinner that my new goal is to slow down and take my time. Your post was just perfect!
    Thanks for sharing…
    Amanda

  12. stef

    I tried this tonight on my way home…there is no rush. Everything will be there when I get there…just slow down. I saw so much more aware of everything around me.
    thank you for reminding us to take it easy and slow..

  13. Molly

    This is a very cool post, and a subject which I often ponder.
    It’s good to have such an eloquent reminder – you are so inspiring!

  14. Anu

    I really loved your post. It reminded me of “Island Time” in the caribbean. People usually drive around 15 mph and stop to chat with other drivers or people in the road. I often think of this as I am being tailgated once again for going only 5 miles over the speed limit.

  15. Jennifer

    This reminds me of all those people I hate that ‘brag’ about how much they are able to accomplish in a day – first of all, they never really accomplish as much as they say they do (especially when all they really do is skim the surface of their tasks), and they never really do it all on 3 hours of sleep. So why bother saying anything.
    I love the photo!! It’s spring here in Florida too, and I must admit, it’s one of my favorite times of the year – is my favorite time of the year. Crystal blue, crisp skies, just like your photo and the smells. Orange blossoms, sprouting flowers, everything….

  16. Laura

    What a great and powerful story Andrea!
    And good timing for me, also. I have been thinking lately about how people wish for time to pass so that something can come to them quickly. (My husband and I are buying a house, and closing is not for almost two months.) But when I sat with my cat purring on my lap last night, I thought that I would not wish for time to pass quickly, because it already does. It’ll come, and in the meantime I want to enjoy the anticipation, and my purring kitty on my lap.
    (And by the way, “buying a wonderful house, in a good area, with my husband” is on my “I will” list from earlier this year in your journal. 🙂

  17. Milly

    Wish it was spring here. I need to slow down, too. Yesterday I was driving home in a snow storm and couldn’t wait to get there, but it took me over two hours (usually only takes 25 minutes). So I told myself to relax and just go with the flow. There was nothing I could do to get home any faster, so I just crawled along slowly in my car and got home safely.

  18. Steph

    What a wonderful post today, Andrea!
    Just last night, I was just reading through Benjamin Hoff’s lovely “The Te of Piglet,” and he had quite a few thoughts on this subject as well. He relates a story of an impatient samurai waiting to recieve dinnner from a Zen master. He waits and waits and waits (growing angrier and hungrier by the minute) until finally the Zen master brings out the soup. When the samurai tastes it, he is “enchanted by the flavor” and declares it to be the best miso shiru he has ever tasted. He demands to know what the secret ingredient is. The Zen master replies: “It took time.”
    Another quote from the chapter (entitled “The Tigger Tendancy”), this by Kung Fu-tse: “Remember the saying of old: When one’s will is not distracted, one’s power is increased.”
    Have a wonderful, slowly-paced day today! I am going to try to do the same.

  19. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  20. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  21. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  22. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  23. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  24. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  25. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  26. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  27. Anonymous

    Thanks for the wake-up call. I was munching on a slice of cheese, drinking water, looking forward to my after-walk shower, and thinking about the homework I have to do as I was reading this post!

  28. jenn

    Andrea,
    This post is great. It’s so funny living in the big city of phoenix how everyone is always rushing to get somewhere. everyone is always driving way over the speed limit and angry at you for not doing the same.
    Last week I was on my way home and feeling like my head would explode from all the stuff inside after the most stressful week I’ve ever had. I got stuck in traffic because of a train. As I sat in my car I was overwhelmed with emotions. It came to me this was the first time in two weeks of massive stress that I was actually allowing myself to sit, do nothing and just be. The train lasted 28 minutes. I just sat and did nothing allowing myself to feel whatever was taking place and as I drove the rest of the way home I was much more peaceful than I had been in weeks.
    We get so involved with things, with time, with going going going that we often miss the signs or the help the universe is sending us.
    Jenn

  29. Shelley Noble

    The word “Monotasking” is on my wall as a reminder of this theme.

  30. Liz

    A wonderful book I’m reading “Ordering your private world” by Gordon MacDonald, helped me get some very helpful new perspectives on time management!

  31. celisa

    you know how i’m teaching myself this very lesson…and in a way i guess you could even say i’m killing two birds with one stone, but in a positive way. instead of wanting flowers and plants right here and now…which is my way, i want everything i want NOW and have a hard time waiting for things to progress naturally. i am learning patience and realizing that the best thigns really are worth waiting for. i have decided to plant a vegetable garden and wildflower garden this spring. i have started the seeds indoors and every day i wake with excitement to run and see if anything has sprouted. i can’t even begin to describe the childlike pleasure i get in doing this task everyday now for three weeks. i have learned more than i ever thought i would from some seeds and dirt. funny how life works.

  32. Joy

    I don’t want to be [too] contrary, but after three years in a place where punctuality and keeping appointments mean nada, I’m kinda looking forward to rushing a bit.

  33. Joy

    After living for three years in a culture where “yes” means “maybe” and “appointment” is a fluid concept, I’m eager to return to the land of punctuality.
    Moderation in all things:::::

  34. Andrea

    The monotasking post made me laugh out loud – I love it. I don’t think I could tell you the last time I monontasked!
    Anyway…I take my kids to a terrific group of pediatricians, but over the last year or so, I’ve been asking consistently to see just one of them, because she actually take ths time to sit down, talk with the kids & me. She’s laid back, not in a hurry, even when there are a lot of patients, a lot to do, etc. Often the others, although they are also good doctors, make me feel uncomfortable because they’re rushed.
    OK, so let’s “fast-forward” to my life – pun intended! I’m the exact opposite – running around, multitasking like a freakin’ maniac, and of course, often getting little accomplished. This last week has been particularly hectic and stressful, because it seems that everything blew up – work, home, family, personal.
    I want to be like the unhurried doc, who takes the time, listens, and is fully present, instead of like the others, who spin around like I do, like the white tornado!
    I’ve just begun to realize what my frenzied behavior must be doing to those around me – kids, husband, friends, family, etc. At the very least, must make them feel uncomfortable.
    Time to SLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW DOOOOOOOOWWWWN! 🙂

  35. lisa

    I’ve been taking things easy and slow for the past 7 years now. To some people it is a crime. And a lot look at me as a freak. They think when you choose to be a fulltime stay home mom – you’ve undergone lobotomy. But I think it was one of the best decision I’ve made. Of course it wasn’t easy. In fact the whole process of deciding and choosing began long before I had her or even thought of having a baby and meeting my husband. It began when I was 30.
    You decision to stop yourself from runnign for bus 33 reminds me of The Little Prince watching why people were rushing on and fof trains in that book.
    It is sad that we no longer have the time closing our eyes and smelling the flowers and looking into the eyes of others when they speak.

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