You Can’t Hurry Love/ Why Practice

These days, as I ready myself to sit, I gaze out the window of my studio at a tremendously tall Doug Fir tree about a block away. My part of town has lots of them, but this one commands my attention through each season, every day. This particular tree has a way of drawing my gaze all the way out to the edges of its form. Perhaps if I were more diligent about wearing my glasses, I could see smaller increments of tree than I do now, but the effect the tree has on me is strong nonetheless.

Yesterday I watched as the wind danced with the tree. Limbs and branches took to the sky like Martha Graham. Opening, flinging, cascading, rising, falling. So much life to behold in this one space and time.

And this observation changed me.

And I am thankful for having taken the time.

At times, it seems appropriate to call it “the luxury of time”, but to be honest, it is hard work to force myself to sit.

I could be doing something more productive, like folding clothes or mopping while my child naps.

But what is more productive than developing a sensitivity to the present? To what is actually happening? To what is REAL rather than stewing in worry about some imagined catastrophe?

Finding my seat is hard work. Sitting itself is not always light and easy (oh boy). But the alternative is no longer an option for me.

When I am rushing (in thought, perhaps in deed), I am removed from what is real. I conjure all sorts of irrational thoughts. I project. In those moments, I may look like I’m getting things done. But does it really count if my mind is somewhere else? Sure it’s fine to mentally check out when standing in line at the Post Office, but what about when I am spending time in the backyard with my daughter? Where is the line? And how do we get to a point where we are totally present when we absolutely want to be?

Practice. Practice when it’s easy. Practice when it’s hard. Keep coming back and things will start to sort themselves out.

You can’t hurry love. No just have to wait.

— Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland

Portland-area readers, please join me for a 6 week exploration of Meditation for Brand-New Beginners. April 14-May 19 at Heart Fire Yoga on Sunday nights from 7:15 to 8:15pm. $55 for series, or $10 drop-in. Sign-up here.

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