As you read this, we’re on our way to Northern California for a week of training with Russell Delman – the start of the 3rd year of our 3-year Embodied Life Mentorship with him. We’re so excited for another opportunity to delve into this work with a wonderful group of people, and to learn more which we can bring back to share with you!
We just returned from gorgeous Costa Rica and a wonderful retreat center in a beautiful wilderness.
It was almost a place out of time – outside of the normal busy and hurried approach to time which seems to be the new normal in our culture.
I heard a story told by the wonderful Tara Brach which has been haunting me in a good way. She spoke of a research study done with seminary students in which an actor was hired to portray someone who was recently mugged and left beat-up on the roadside, needing help. The actor was in an alley the students would walk past on their way to give a sermon on “the good samaritan.”
What they found was staggering to me.
The twist was that half the students were told to rush because they were late and half were told to take their time as they were early.
Even among adults devoting their lives to spiritual study and on their way to speak about being a good samaritan (!!) when in a hurry, only 10% of them stopped to help the mugged man. Those who felt they had more time? 63% stopped to offer assistance.
It makes me so wary of my own tendency to hurry, rush, or feel “There’s not enough time!”
This mindset not only stresses me out, hurries my breathing, raises my shoulders, tightens my whole body – but what might I be missing in the world when I’m oriented in this way?
How many invisible ways might a hurried lifestyle be doing harm?
Truly, it’s sobering.
I’ve long loved this line from Donna Farhi’s wonderful book Bringing Yoga to Life:
“The degree to which you do not believe you have time to spend even ten minutes sitting quietly is the degree to which you desperately need to spend ten minutes sitting quietly.
If we did nothing else in our spiritual practice but reduce our accelerated pace the world would be transformed overnight.
When we find ourselves hurrying or pressing others out of our way, we might ask ourselves exactly where we are going in such a rush.
What are we running away from, and what are we running toward?
Pause for a moment.
Sit down and relax.
Take a deep breath in and out…
The moment opens itself for you. Will you step in?”
Ahhh….. shall we step in?
Or are we too busy to drop into our life?
I aspire to bring more of the timeless openness I reveled in during our Begin Again retreat in Costa Rica into my everyday. Especially when I’m operating under the harmful illusion that I don’t have time. :)
I’m lucky to live with Carl for so many reasons, but one I’m appreciating right now is that he doesn’t rush.
That used to be so maddening to me (after all there’s important things to rush around about!!) and now I appreciate it so deeply as a precious gift.
I have written on one of my bulletin boards in my office this note:
“One thing at a time.
I have plenty of time.”
I love when I really get that.
I’m aspiring this year to more single-tasking, fully present participation in the world.
And I’m also aspiring to be gentle and forgiving with myself when I forget, which will probably happen a thousand times a day.
I wish for you too the liberation from “hurry” and the spaciousness of the present moment.
As Thích Nhất Hạnh said so beautifully,
“I am inviting you to go deeper, to learn and to practice so that you become someone who has a great capacity for being solid, calm, and without fear, because our society needs people like you who have these qualities, and your children, our children, need people like you, in order to go on, in order to become solid, and calm, and without fear.”
May it be so.
May our courage to step outside the rush and open fully into the spaciousness of the moment
and through us all the others in our lives.
May we be generous with our forgiveness for all the ways we falter,
and may the life-giving seeds within us be nourished by our care
and blossom into a future rich in love.
With my dearest wishes,