Tag Archives: thich nhat hahn

Attitude of Gratitude — Day 10 : Arriving Home

The last few days have been incredibly social for me. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my staff and my colleague from Boston, and finding the time to write a real post has been challenging. It just goes to show the ebb and flow of life, and inevitably things will slow down significantly come April when I have a full fledged schedule and things are a bit more routine.

The fact that my usual routines such as going to the gym, meditating and doing yoga have fallen by the wayside this past week are not of concern. It is crucial that I take the time to nest and invest. I need to know the area, I need to know my colleagues, I need to buy throw pillows for my couch–all essential in the nesting process.

This evening, I invited my team over for dinner and cooked a hearty vegetarian meal. It was nice to sit around a table and entertain. It made my apartment fill with energy, and it felt natural to cook and chat and share. As I make this place feel more like my own, I realize how important is to me to have a home and to share it with the people around me.

The more I invest in this place, the more successful I will be in this job. Thus, I want to put my heart and soul into making this apartment feel like home as well as making Long Island feel like home. The impending future of my career may actually be tied to the throw pillows on my couch, and the spices in my spice rack and the pictures hanging on my walls. The more I have invested, the more I will give. If I can give as much positive energy as possible, I will manifest a very positive experience for everyone involved.

They say that home is where the heart is, and let’s be real, I’ve left my heart in many homes. My heart lives in Vermont, San Francisco, Burkina Faso, France, Morocco, and Spain. I never could have imagined that my heart would invest itself in this new opportunity here on Long Island, but that’s the beauty of life. We never know, and we can only imagine.

So here in this moment, I am imagining my heart (and my home) being full of positive growing experiences, and I’m truly grateful for this lovely space to call my home.

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Attitude of Gratitude — Day 8 : Taking the Time, Savoring the Moment

When I cook myself dinner I usually tend to want the whole meal to miraculously appear before me so I can get my eat on as fast as possible. As a result of my impatience,  I cut corners and toss a whole bunch of vegetables into some oil on the wok, mix in some spices and stir.  The end result is a mildly satisfactory meal, as the zucchini usually over cook or the garlic burns from having to sit on the heat long enough for the squash to soften. Tonight, however, as I cooked, I reflected on a valuable lesson I’ve been learning this year — take your time.

I thought back to a few moments in my life where I was encouraged to take my time. One of them was a day of mindfulness at Thich Nhat Hahn’s Blue Cliff Monastery in New York, the other was my journey along the Camino de Santiago. At the monastery we took our meals in silence, chewing our food slowly, enjoying every bite, savoring every flavor, and reflecting on the hard work and the chain of people it took to get that food onto our plates. A meal that I could have eaten in a few minutes took over an hour. The satisfaction that I got out of every bite was tripled, and I realized how full I became half way through a typical portion. I then thought back to the Camino, where everything from your physical being to your mental and emotional state crucially depended on your slow stride. I specifically remember one evening on the trail that I spent sleeping in a small church called San Nicolas. One of my fellow pilgrims offered up some advice in a form of a song from the musical Brother Sun, Sister Moon. He sang,

If you want your dream to be
Take your time, go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Heartfelt work grows purely
If you want to live life free
Take your time, go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Heartfelt work grows purely

I try to remember these lyrics when I catch myself rushing through things, and seeking  immediate results. I was reminded today, as I slowed myself down and took the time to brown my tofu and cook each vegetable properly, that each moment is a moment worth savoring. And that doing things slowly allows us to be fully present through the action. Not only does it enhance our over all satisfaction, but it also makes the end result more enjoyable as well. The practice of being present is difficult, and I, like many, have a tendency to want the quick route to perfection specifically with relationships, food, body image, work etc.

Thus, today I am grateful to myself for slowing down when my reflex was to speed up. I’m grateful to the beautiful meal that I enjoyed as a result, and I’m also grateful to all the people in my life who have encouraged me to challenge our societies norm regarding perfection and quick results. I will try to incorporate this value into my daily life as much as possible by practicing presence and gratitude for each beautiful moment.

In the words of Tich Nhat Hahn,

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”

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