Friday, July 24, 2009

Life Blog - A Sound Bite World

Is it just me being cranky or has our whole society opted for the sound bite way of living. "Don't bore me with the details, just summarize life' - condense everything down to a few snappy quotes and to heck with thought and deeper meaning. Don't savor the moment, race onto the next one. I read that Buddhist philosophy is centered on the moment and space that you are in and western philosophy centered on what’s next. The example given was of a Buddhist and an American walking across a lawn to a meeting. "What are you doing" someone asked. The Buddhist replied that he was standing on grass, feeling the grass under his feet. The American responded that he was heading for a meeting and then lunch.

It seems that more often than not people are impatient. As I traveled this year so many times individuals pushed to the front of lines; waiting for luggage in Johannesburg airport I watched a woman berating a man for the delay – clearly he had no control over the situation; in the grocery store yesterday the woman in front of me tutted and eye rolled as the young cashier fumbled to get a new tape into the cash register. And don’t get me started on traffic!

My grandsons, intelligent young kids have little staying power. It’s finish one thing and ‘what’s next’ – an almost frantic search for the next thing to do and then the interest level wanes. I guess kids are programmed in thirty-minute units – one class then the next; one activity then the next. Zoom, crash, screech of the video game way of life. Genny and I talked about this yesterday – the instant gratification society that we live in. No slow, careful process to an end goal with all the delightful byways to entice along the way but a headlong rush to have been there, done that.

I catch myself falling into the same way of thinking and doing. Why do I take my morning coffee to go? Why don’t I sit and watch the world go by for a while – nothing is pressing me to hurry. That’s something I can change in my own life. I’m planning a road trip for September and my initial thinking was straight line a to b. Then I asked myself ‘why?” – no reason. So now the map is out again and I’m going to take the coastal route and dally at places that take my fancy.

I awoke at 5 a.m. this morning and made myself tea. I stood out on the deck and watched the morning mist hovering over the surface of the pond and five great Blue herons, statue still, taking in the morning. I got dressed and walked down the lane to the tunes of a breaking dawn. I saw a Great Horned owl heading home to bed and a group of female Elk with young ones stirring under a huge oak where they had spent the night. I was fully awake to each moment and I came home energized and appreciative of the world around me.

My former husband's grandmother lived well into her nineties - she was a tiny woman, an immigrant from Finland. We all addressed her as "Aiti" the Finnish for Mother. I asked her one day what she was doing. We were on the porch of her house. "I just sit and breath" she said. A lesson we can all learn.

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  1. I can greatly appreciate your inner center; it is (to my way of thinking) serene, accepting yet really powerful. You are one of the lucky ones... not influenced by the mania of the outside world, yet apparently able to navigate your way through the fray. Now if you could only bottle your essence and give it to the world...

  2. High praise, thank you but I'm far from there! One can only hope that everyday brings another step in the right direction.


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