darkemeralds: detail of beaded purse, caption One Bead At a Time (beadwork)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
Thomas Sterner, in The Practicing Mind (which I've just read at the recommendation of [personal profile] verilyvexed), tells an almost magical story of slowing down time. Two opposing forces had converged in his life: his philosophical decision to live more mindfully, and a period of impossible scheduling demands in his business.

He disregards the screaming, panicky voices in his head that urge him to hurry; he takes off his watch, and he tells himself quietly that if he can't make his next scheduled appointment, he can call the client. He reminds himself that his commitment to slowing down--to mindfulness--is important to his health and his family. He disciplines himself to make every movement deliberate and careful, and as slow as possible.

In the end, he gets all his work done in forty percent less time than normal. He says that maybe time actually slows down.

So I decided to try it. I was running a little late this morning and really didn't want to walk into our 9:00 staff meeting at 9:05. I did what Sterner did: I told myself not to panic. I laid out my tools (in this case, makeup brushes and stuff), considered each one, used it, put it away...I made my bed neatly...I did up my clothes, paying attention to each button and zipper...I'd misplaced my phone and had to patiently change a setting on my laptop so I could Google Voice myself and locate-ring it.

I ignored the clock. Once I left the house, I rode without haste, noticing the morning and my leg muscles and the nice whirring sound my bike tires make on the street. I stopped patiently at every red light. I attended to making graceful, smooth turns and braking safely on the downhill. I was aware of all the traffic, and none of it bothered me.

I got to my office seven minutes early, and was among the first in the meeting room, cool and unhurried.

It was amazing.

While there may indeed be a kind of magic in mindfulness, I noticed two practical things that would explain a lot of the effect: moving slowly from one task gave me time to consider how best to do the next one, so I made fewer mistakes. And calming my mind resulted in fewer wasted motions and better memory--nothing forgotten or mislaid.

Besides the practical outcome of getting to work in good time, I feel so much better than I would have if I'd rushed. The blood-pressure difference was palpable. And it's fun! It feels a bit like cheating, which makes it extremely gratifying and sneaky.

Chop Wood, Draw Water

17/5/11 18:42 (UTC)
executrix: (lady soul)
Posted by [personal profile] executrix
Festina lente! (I kept typing "festuna" which I guess is the kind of fish you eat with lentils rather than white beans.)

And the *opposite* of mindfulness is "There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over."

Re: Chop Wood, Draw Water

17/5/11 21:10 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] runningwater
This is very, very interesting. I'm going to see if the library has that book.

Re: Chop Wood, Draw Water

18/5/11 05:42 (UTC)
lamentables: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lamentables
'more haste, less speed' is the warning I heard a lot as a child, and the thing that popped into my head when I read your post

Re: Chop Wood, Draw Water

18/5/11 06:13 (UTC)
lamentables: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lamentables
Not sure if you're reading that in the same way it was used. (I couldn't work out how to punctuate it.) The meaning, at least in my family, was that the more you are derailed by haste, the slower you will be to complete any given task. I still mutter it to myself sometimes in the kind of situation you describe, where the flailing around trying to be fast is the thing that takes up time.

(no subject)

18/5/11 12:54 (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
That's amazing! Definitely trying this.

(no subject)

18/5/11 15:08 (UTC)
ranunculus: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] ranunculus
I've been thinking about this post since you made it. It is a very nice way to state something I've been struggling with in getting to work. Over the last month I've realized that I go into panic mode every time I -leave- for work. Deliberately calming myself at that point really helps.

(no subject)

18/5/11 19:08 (UTC)
without_me: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] without_me
May I share this story with friends/colleagues at work? I don't know whether it will be feasible to implement within the work environment, but it certainly seems worth striving for.

(no subject)

18/5/11 19:54 (UTC)
without_me: (Jensen hay from babyofthegroup)
Posted by [personal profile] without_me
Thank you! I will definitely look at the book, as well. But you're a real person, talking about a real experience--as opposed to some nebulous author, HA!

(no subject)

18/5/11 21:32 (UTC)
vampirefan: made by me (all purpose)
Posted by [personal profile] vampirefan
when i read what you said in another comment about someone at work being slow slow but still getting things done? that totally made me think about my dad.

my dad has worked various factory jobs, has been a cta bus driver and retired from a steel warehouse where he worked an overhead crane. he has always told us (his kids) that he would get to work early so he doesn't have to rush getting ready to start on time. additionally, he always seemed to have stories about how his managers would tell him he was too slow try to rush and threaten his job, yet my dad rarely (and i would almost say never) made mistakes and always got his work done.

i gotta run.. i'll come back and finish this thought...

(no subject)

19/5/11 02:04 (UTC)
vampirefan: made by me (all purpose)
Posted by [personal profile] vampirefan
it's so true! people who act busy or make a lot of noise when they do stuff, get noticed.

also, to finish my earlier thought...

my dad has also kept pretty detailed logs of his workday.

for example, when he worked at the steel company (where he retired from) he had maybe 2 or 3 different templates where he would log his job. he had me make them and he'd make copies.

he would log the date and then log however many moves of material he made with the crane. or if he was bundling stuff he'd keep track of how many bundles he made... or if he was driving a particular crane/forklift/etc. he would record how many things he moved... he wanted to remember what he did that day. (he would also keep step by step instructions for how to do things.) he figured, if those irritating/demanding managers ever wanted to say he wasn't doing his work, he would be able to tell them exactly what he did.

the most chilling story he told us: a manager kept telling him that he had to work faster - as usual. my dad kept saying, i'm not gonna rush. i want to be safe. a coworker of my dad's was always rushing. huffing and puffing, being stressed and worried. he was very near retirement... i'm talking months away. one day, he was rushing to finish putting some ginourmous metal coils (it was metal strips, many feet wide, all rolled up into a giant coil, thousands of pounds) in place...my impression was that they would move the coils apart to pick the correct strips (there were different thicknesses) and then move the coils back when they were done. well, because he was in a rush, the guy forgot to put down the stopper they used to prevent the coils from rolling once they were in place. the coil started rolling slowly and the guy could see it was going to go to far... he rushed forward to put down the stopper and tripped and fell. the coil kept going and crushed this poor man's head.

my father was freaked out, but more than ever, stood his ground.


darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)

December 2018

234 5 6 7 8
91011121314 15

Most Popular Tags

Page generated 25/4/19 16:04

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags