Plants (or people, plans, and projects) that are forced
A good friend has taken up a powerful new mantra for her life: “Just slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Take it smooth and easy.” Doesn’t that sound positively refreshing? To simply slow life down to a more natural, peaceful pace…
It seems my friend has been rushing about in too vigorous a way, pushing herself relentlessly from the inside to get this task done, that thing completed, the garden readied for winter, and on and on. Perhaps you can also relate to such a harried scenario or nagging inner voice. She has been driving herself to “gulp” down too much too quickly, literally and symbolically. So much so that her heart gave her a quick but effective wake up with an episode of the “flutteries” and the message to slow it down. The fact is there is no hurry.
It is all too easy to get into a stress-filled “production” mode, something I find myself getting trapped in too. There is a huge qualitative difference between how it feels to be in the process of focusing on one task at a time, properly attending to it with thoughtful regard, as opposed to revving the already racing engine inside (the inner voice and whip of the taskmaster) to get more and more done in less time by skimming through a multitude of jobs, chores, or projects. Sadly, a neighbor mentioned today how nice it would be to get together to visit, but she finds herself consumed with too busy doing rather than joyful “beingness,” something the Buddhists would call the state of nowness.
This no-contest difference between doing and being is the contrast of night with day in how it feels inwardly with our overly jangled nerves, tightened muscles, and short-tempered fuses—or not. The “doing” agenda is like lining up all our accomplishments, in hopes of some sort of external approval: see how much I’ve gotten done today? The state of beingness is quietly going about the rhythm of doing each act—in the moment—with care and presence. Non-essential activities and distractions never taint such a slow and easy tempo. Each task is valued in and of itself, thus not accorded a greater significance than any other. It is a gesture and vibration of love that moves peacefully into our smaller world and then energetically out to the larger world of life as an act of love.
Together with my husband’s helpful reminders to slow myself down mentally and eschew the terrible dis-ease of “time sickness,” another of my teachers for the restful relaxed pace of life is my beautiful white-flowered Phalaenopsis orchid (the so-called elegant Moth orchid). On its pleasing, arching flower stalk are blossoms in various stages of graceful bloom. Three flowers are fully open, while the next one in line up the stalk has moved from a tight little green ball toward opening ever so slightly as developing petals of the flower.
This leisurely process has been evolving over weeks, bit by bit, as the bud gradually readies itself to display its full grandeur, which will not arrive for another few weeks. Along the rest of the stalk are minute balls forming in various stages—my subsequent teachers of the art of unhurried slowness—all in the perfect timing of concentrated life force and ripeness. An orchid has its own natural, gentle rate of life and blossoming. And when left unhampered, it blesses life with its ease and exquisite bloom. But not a moment too soon!
Leonardo Da Vinci once observed that the smallest feline is a masterpiece. Would we even notice such a tiny gift in the fast lane of hurry, hurry, hurry? We each have a choice as to which god we shall serve: will it be the god of the driven fast life or the god of easy-does-it heart and mind health and harmony?
Live in the serene peace of laboratories and libraries.
My white orchid in the pink pot on the right
Text and last photo © by Zane Maser, 2010. The other two photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. All rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.
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