Ah, nature! There is so much beauty surrounding me here at home. Wild turkeys roam the fields. Song birds call amongst themselves. Tree limbs reach into the sky space. To the west, the sunset outlines the mountains. I pause and take this in, settling into the simple rightness of nature. No need to close my eyes and visualize; the beauty is right here for me to experience.
Well, most of the time.
This morning I was reminded of other aspects of this locale. Cold. Rain. Ice lurking under puddles of manure soup. Me cringing from any contact with the dripping wet farm animals I love to touch.
A part of me takes this in as I do the beauty.
A part of me is grateful that I anticipated the slippery footing and struggled to secure the ice cleats over my barn boots.
A part of me carries on with the chores while a part of me rushes through them as quickly as possible, eager to be elsewhere, hurrying to be warm and dry inside the house.
This hurry is what causes trouble.
Hurry means I might stumble on a piece of frozen manure, or get tilted off balance by sheep crowding me as I carry hay. Hurry might mean the manure I’m shoveling falls to the ground not into the wheelbarrow. Sometimes it means I stand here in frustration, swearing at a bale of hay that refuses to be dislodged from the stack.
Common thread in these scenarios? Me. Me when I am inattentive. Me when I am unsettled. Me when I am misattuned to the actual conditions of my environment.
Inside again, warm and dry and safe from the dangers of the barn, I further ponder the nature of hurry and how it is a problem.
Hurry lures me out of this present moment, drawing me into a state of disconnection. It is well endowed with restlessness and discontent. It steals my attention from what is, and locks it into what-isn’t. These what-isn’t places are familiar and reliably reside in the past and the future.
I confess a certain infatuation with the past and the future. These two are infinitely entertaining. And permit me the satisfaction of choice. I can think about anything! Leisurely reminiscing or hope-infused fantasizing. Even when haunted by painful memories and perilous predictions, I am enchanted.
My cozy relationship with the past and future stems from the devoted practice of a self-improvement enthusiast, one who works diligently toward a future Self imagined as more whole, more capable, more confident, more loving, more productive, more worthy. This rambling around the past and the future seems a good enough use of my currently available life energy. Well, maybe a pretty lousy use of it, except perhaps when I’m weaving tales with my beloved Wordsmith Cap snug on my head.
The past and the future are rich for those of us in a love relationship with our memories and imaginations. A richness infused with images, narratives, emotions, and all the externally and internally oriented senses. We have this amazing capacity to create movies with our minds - and respond to them - without ever moving a muscle. These movies are what mesmerize me, bringing me through an unending series of experiential states, followed by an unending commentary in the quest for making meaning.
And what happens to this wealth of past and future when I don’t hurry? What happens then?
These mind movies morph and they evoke a different response. In some moments - very precious moments - the mind movies pause and I am simply being me.
Tears moisten my eyes now as I absorb the pinks and purples and oranges and grays that grace the western evening sky. Tears of release not loss flow as I shift from hurry to here. I rest from all that wandering through the past and the future, and settle into stillness.
These still moments are alive with something so potent and elusive. I find myself serenely experiencing through my senses. My heart beats, and my lungs breathe, and my eyes see, and my ears hear, and my nose smells, and my skin feels.
In the absence of hurry is this fullness of what is.