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

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jun 09 2000 - 09:27:59 MDT

Amara Graps wrote:
> >From:, Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000
> >Amara:
> >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).

I keep a slower pace in order to pay more attention, make fewer mistakes. Doing
it slowly, properly, saves more time in the end than going back and redoing it
(less expensive too).

> >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.

I'm the same way. Dirt definitely has some intrinsically satisfying thing about
it. The zen of dirt, the dirtness of dirt. Digging your own holes without mom
and dad getting pissed off I'm sure adds something to the mix. The messier the
better too. Building a meditation pond by hand, or grooming a stream to flow
through a garden or yard in an aesthetic manner while at the same time
maximizing native habitat is an interesting challenge.

> >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

I've always had trouble with nomenclature. Communicating an artificial name has
always seemed so unnecessary to me. I guess I'm more of a primitivist.

> 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 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.

I really enjoy cooking, especially on impulse or by improvisation. That Samurai
Chef show I really enjoy watching, because its very much my own style: pick a
main ingredient and improvise what you can with the materials at hand. Such
skills come in handy up at the cabin when you haven't been into town for two
weeks. You come up with some interesting recipes that are surprisingly good...

> 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.

I've always been an alien here, in most places, though I haven't done much
foreign travel since I was in the Air Force. The cultural dissonance between
myself and the world around me has merely led to more introspection and self

Mike Lorrey

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