Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It’s a little beyond me how I can feel so overextended, when the demands of what I do for a living are so blessedly light right now, but there it is.

I don’t make it to the end of the lists I create for myself. I get tangled in the desire to move on to the next thing, and the next—and lose the satisfaction of what’s before me in the moment. It doesn’t matter that virtually all the stuff on my agenda right now is there by my own choice, an imagined enrichment of my life: the garden work I want to get to, the hour at the gym, the writing project I’ve meant to focus on for weeks, planning the workshop I’ve looked forward for months to leading.

Of course, to fix this, I just need to speed up and get through what I’m doing now so I can focus on the next thing on the list. Just punch through my rising misgivings that running faster on the treadmill will get me nowhere. Right?

Uh, maybe not. Maybe the only way to stop is to stop. So I’ve taken lately to setting down what I’m doing and taking a hundred steps.

That’s it.

I go out to the garden; or to the street; or maybe as far as a wilder place nearby. As I shift my weight from one foot to the other, the only mantra I need, the only one that seems appropriate, is “Here.”

You’d be astounded how slowly you can walk when you notice every step. Balance is no longer a given; you have to attend to where your weight falls under your foot, and you may feel a little daunted, especially on sand or uneven ground, that you’re so unsteady when you’re not barrelling along. It takes time to repeat “Here” and mean it as you look around you. If you use a mala to keep count of your steps one bead at a time, it will slow you down even further.

By the time I’ve made it to my hundredth step, I’m pried loose, at least a little, from whatever it was that I thought was essential ten minutes ago. Maybe I decide to take another hundred steps, make another circuit of the mala. Maybe I can focus on who in my life I might want to pray for. Or maybe, just for a moment, I look up at the impossible blue of the sky, the impossible green of newly burgeoning foliage, or down at the darkness of moist earth, and see it for a miracle, before I go back to business as usual.

No comments:

Post a Comment