There are times when a word or phrase trips my switch and some spark of illumination lights up my imagination. My friend, Laurie Buchanan, furnished the last sparks with her words “practicing living”.
Living. Isn’t it amazing that something so basic can be so hard to describe in words? And being so simple and basic, how tempting it is for us to make it hard to do. It’s something I was mulling over last night, that Life is not so much an Event as it is a Journey taken step by step, as Laurie puts it “practicing” all the way. If this is the Journey and we are practicing, the Event must be sometime and somewhere in the Future. In this time people seem to want eveything to happen microwave fast, or at least at the speed of sound. You pick up your cell phone, speed dial a number and the pre-made casserole goes from freezer to micro-wave in about 30 seconds. There – supper is taken care of. Done. I am ever mindful of the speed of time and feel no need to cram as much as possible into my days. In fact, I find myself culling certain things that have become bothersome or simply non-essential to my peace of mind.
In Gardening I have discovered that I have developed a train of thought that allows subjects on and off in a leisurely fashion, no frantic or obsessive thinking allowed, no rushing to achieve results at record speed. It’s no surprise that so many Spiritual Orders find meditative gardens so useful. Like labyrinths, physical motion is required but frees the mind to consider other avenues of thought. I suppose I am thinking about the practice of patient living. I’ve never been a patient person by nature, now with one or another circumstance revising my take on life, I find that I’m really not in such a hurry. The deadline hasn’t changed, just my attitude on how fast I want to run to get there. Practicing patience is hard as any mother can tell you, especially under trying circumstances. So my green beans still aren’t ready to pick at 60 days instead of the 53 days promised on the seed packet. Will I go hungry or lose sleep? Certainly not. I should be able to adjust to the rhythm of Life instead of expecting Life to change it’s tune to accommodate me. It’s just so much more fun to take the slow train and see the sights than jump the fast jet and miss all the scenery. I reckon we’ll just keep practicing until we get it right and Graduate with Honors.