Re: The Pause that Refreshes (was Re: ART: What Art Is)

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 14:30:22 MDT

>From:, Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000

>I LOVED your post. It echoes something I've come to appreciate in the last
>couple of years, especially the last few months; that is that consciously
>cultivating behavior aimed at a SLOWER pace has substantial benefits in many
>aspects of my life.

Hmmm... slowing? I would rather say that the slowing is a by-product of a
higher level of awareness (if the slowing occurs, but there are times I'm
still performing the same number of tasks, only I'm more aware of the
processes and probably more efficient).

>In particular, I've come to appreciate working in the
>garden around our house as I never had before.

My favorite part of gardening is the smell and feel of the soil.

>One sign of this
>is that I've begun to learn plant names, something that I never could manage
>to do before. Making myself a part of the life cycle of the plants

Have you kept cut flowers long after they finished blooming and lie
wilted in their vases? Sometimes I do that with roses, in order to pay
attention to their end-state beauty and notice their full cycle.
Everything has its own cycle of time.

>in our
>garden has taught me to appreciate a time scale I never really FELT before:
>I've come to accept that some things can't be hurried, but by slowing the
>tempo of my perceptions and expectations and carefully paying attention to
>the small signs of slow change in the developing plants I husband, I've been
>able to tap into a reservoir of insight and calm I never knew before.

In general, when I'm not working, (science is not easy for me, even
though it's my main "job"), I'm attracted to tasks that put
me in a Zen state ("flow") of mind. Cooking- especially those preparations
that require many steps and a concentration, gardening, playing music,
or painting or forms of careful body movement (aikido, yoga, feldenkrais).
These are all tasks that require a care and attention and have their
own pace and time and can heighten one's awareness; I'm sure that
folks can think of many others.

Major life changes (moves, divorce, marriage, family death) can force
one to reevaluate all aspects of one's life too, leading to a heightened
sense of awareness, a shift in one's time-sense.

One of the biggest events that has forced (and continues to force)
my awareness into a more focussed state, as well as teaching me
more patience,is my current life and regular travels. I live in a country
(Germany) where I'm not fluent in the language or customs yet. My previous
country (USA) now appears as a foreign culture to me, even though I know
the language. I have culture shock in each direction when I travel to and
from the US. I carry a sense of being a misplaced person, not really
belonging anywhere, but at the same time, I carry a strong sense of
being a human of this planet, forgetting about country borders.

In addition, I've spent significant time in 8 other countries
in the last two years. My travels and life in these new environments
have a tendency to make me dizzy but I've learned that if I tune
into my new worlds by opening my eyes, ears and keenly observe, then
I find the travelling and different lives to be not so disorienting.
I always soak up as much of the new culture around me as I can, and
ask questions and keep an open mind and so "foreigners" are
almost universally helpful. Because I've observed new ways
of living one's life, in every aspect of one's life, I'm continually
forced to reevaluate the ways that I learned in my "previous" life.
And then keep the new ways that suit me.

My moves brought about a kind of forced "changing perceptions and
expectations and carefully paying attention", and I'm not sure that
I would recommend this "method" (it's a steep learning curve),
but I've learned to appreciate the new perspectives.


Amara Graps email:
Computational Physics vita: finger
Multiplex Answers URL:
"It works better if you plug it in." -- Sattinger's Law

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