walking home from Yoga class one morning recently, I was writing a mental
list of all the work ahead of me for the next two weeks that needed
to be done so that I could go away on vacation for two weeks and relax.
I calculated that if I put in 12-hour days every day, I would be ready.
An image of two large blocks butting up against each other like stones
in a granite wall, one labeled work activity, the other vacation/play,
came to me. I thought, oh I wish I had some in-between time. I envision
in-between time as the time to sort socks, call a friend, talk to a
neighbor over the fence, try a new recipe just for the trying, not for
a big party preparation, organize old photos, or play with a child,
getting totally lost in the game.
home, I quickly took a shower so I could get started on my 12-hour workday.
I was watching (patiently? Impatiently?) the shampoo slowly ooze into
my waiting hand. It came to me that this was another of those in-between
times, but on a smaller scale, a kind of micro in-between. There are
so many of these for each of us every day; waiting for the red light
to change, waiting for the microwave to finish, waiting for the internet
connection, waiting at that copy machine and of course waiting in lines.
can choose how we react in these micro moments. We can be present, receptive
and breathe calmly, or tense up impatiently. If these are micro in-between
periods composed of moments, then the ones I described above could be
called macro in-betweens.
wonder if we were more present and less stressed in the micro in-betweens,
would we cultivate more of the macro in-betweens? My Yoga teacher starts
class by telling us "You are here. You have nothing else to do,
nowhere else to be but right here now doing your yoga practice."
What if we took on that attitude for each activity in our day? Stuart
Wilde has a phrase to describe that non-judgmental be in the present
attitude. He says if you are caught in the rain, "do rain".
in this New Year I plan to be present in the micro in-betweens and consciously
choose my activities and projects to include some macro in-between time,
or balance. Later that same morning, I opened to this passage in Stephen
Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching:
- He who stands
on tip toe doesn't stand firm
- He who rushes
ahead, doesn't go far,
- He who tries
to shine, dims his own light
- He who defines
himself can't know who he really is
- He who has power
over others can't empower himself
- He who clings
to his work will create nothing that endures
- If you want to
accord with the TAO,
- Just do your
job, then let go
For this New Year,
I wish you rich meaningful work,
wonderful times of vacation and relaxation, and marvelous micro and