"Gehlek Rinpoche has pointed out that there are actually two forms of laziness — one in which we are sluggish and procrastinating, and another in which we keep ourselves so busy that our world becomes completely gap-less. Within that speed we shut down our awareness of ourselves and our environment."
This sentiment was brought to my attention via David Nichtern (NYC-based meditation teacher) over the weekend and our teaching community has been buzzing about it since I passed it on. Take the two definitions of laziness into account as you start off your work week. I would suspect many of you are living "lazy" lives of the second variety. I am contemplating making some changes in my own flow based on this new wisdom. It really woke me up!
I share this wake-up call because I imagine it could be worthwhile for many friends and colleagues. How do you relate to the second definition of laziness? Does it surprise you to look at your life and realize you may not be accomplishing what you think you are? Would allowing yourself some "gaps" be a wiser path for you?
- TaraMarie Perri
It had been a long time since MindBodyBrew went “off the grid” (the “grid” being NYC and my office, in this case) so I spent the last few days in the Adirondacks with close friends at their home on Lake Champlain. I always enjoy the change in my routine that naturally occurs there. Instead of racing to my computer upon waking, I am greeted by a sweet dog and a 3-year old smiling face framed by blonde curls who happily calls my name, or this time around presents me with a beautiful Valentine handmade with love. How wonderful is it to greet the day with your own personal fan club? My kitchen savvy friends brew up a mean cappuccino with proper foam and a home-baked slice of orange bread or special French toast. Then it is time to discuss our activities for the day. Shall it be a hike or cross-country skiing or a visit to the farm? Puzzles or books or drawing? Over the course of a few days, we do it all! Going to pick up the farm share at Essex Farm is an integral part of the week that I always enjoy. Farm-to-table for real!
Life meets living. Living is life.
Time seems to stand still when I am there. Even my mandatory workload seems enjoyable in the midst of enjoying natural surroundings and outdoor excursions. I am alert. I sleep well. I eat well. Even though the decompression effects from the city can be difficult to experience, I sense my inner balance recalibrating.
On this recent visit, I took a quiet walk on my own in the deep woods for winter reflection. The conditions were perfect. A blanket of snow had just fallen and it was not too cold for a walk. After following the trail for a bit, I dusted off the end of a friendly tree trunk and sat for a meditation. Swirling wind tunes made their way to me through the trees and every swirl tucked me into a simple, clear focus. Many life-changing revelations came to me on this particular walk, which I will take away for further investigation. But one question came up over and over again – a question I thought might be interesting to pose to our readers.
I may know what my life is right now but how have I been living it?
“Living” is in the present. “Life” is a timeline from past to future. “Living” allows room for being. One’s “life” can only come about by doing. “Life” is just a word but “living” is a verb of action.
This ADK-Style souvenir will have to come home with me. Do you have any thoughts on these two words? What do they mean to you? How are they different?
*This blog post was made possible by my wonderful friends, especially my young Valentine, Felix, and the chickens he visits at Essex Farm. Thank you for showing me a little more about living ADK-style!"
*Photo by Miguel Coias
I have always wished for a living situation whereby I could have a home in multiple locations around the world so I could jet out of NYC for a change of perspective or to sample an alternative slice of life. Spending time immersed in a different speed, flow, and terrain can be nourishing to body, mind, and creativity. Different than traveling, the idea of having a home in another place is a not just a romantic notion that many artists crave. Famous visual artists and writers have been doing this split-location living for years. Their bios often read: “Fabulous Artist lives and works in Cosmopolitan Worldly Location A and Rural Grounding Landscape B.” My short list to complement New York City: New York state’s Hudson Valley, London, Spain, Morocco, the northwest coast of Ireland, and anywhere in Italy.
For the last couple of years, I have been spending time away from my New York City life to teach, write, and research in an unexpected location. I was pleased to learn that Iowa City is not all corn and farming. In fact, Iowa City is often described as an oasis in the Midwest, liberal and artistic, home of the University of Iowa research community and the famous Writers’ Workshop.
You can imagine the differences in scenery without me outlining them here. I have found that one simple indicator for where I am comes from where I look. In NYC, I appreciate the majestic skyline that reminds me daily why I moved there 17 years ago to begin my dance career. I often look way up to see the sky above the towering buildings as I pound the pavement in my heels. In IC, like much of the Midwest, the sky and earth are separated by a smooth, uninterrupted horizon. I appreciate that you can simultaneously see both sky and earth just by looking ahead. Trees, rooftops, and wind energy towers punch out their negative shapes against sunset skies, and the moon and stars are clearly visible. For me, NYC is extroverted activity and effort. IC is staying grounded and establishing ease. The sky/earth relationship seems to dictate these energies.
My central home will always be NYC, but performing the “Artist’s Split” with the cooperation of Iowa City suits me just fine, and brings the balance I require for my life and work. London and Italy, you’re next! What will you bring into the mix?
We’re wondering…what is your Artist’s Split short list?