Determined To Do Less

This year, I am determined to be more unproductive. My goal is to do less and less – to move slower and slower until everything stops. I and the whole world will come to a sweet and silent stillness. And in this stillness, a great shout of joy will arise. We will all be free – free from the advice of ancient ages, free from the whining voices, free from the incessant objections of the responsible ones.

In this new world, it will be abundantly clear that the bare branches of the winter trees are our teachers. In their daily dance of moving here and there, we will see once again the true meaning of our life. In the wind song of their being, we will hear God’s unmistakable voice. We will follow what appears before us – what had once been difficult will now unfold with ease.

~ Hakuin Ekaku

 

I love this idea from Hakuin Ekaku of being determined to do less to do more. Being me, I’m on an endless quest for stimulation – my mind spins and cycles to the point where some days I feel like a pinball being batted around and never making it into the jackpot slot.

I cherish my still moments, my quiet times to center and breathe and just be. I know that it is precisely in those moments – usually early, before dawn, lit by candlelight and fueled by coffee, that I do my best thinking and find my best self. In these months of darkness and retreat, gazing out at the starkness of my backyard trees, watching the winter birds feast on seed and flit from bare branch to branch, I’m reminded that now is the time to think deeply, to listen, and not to miss the great joys that are right here, right now, in my life.

I’m determined to do less. What are you determined to do this year?

I found this poem on one of my favorite inspirational websites, First Sip.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Zen Living

Time moves forward, despite all my desperate attempts to hold onto what is right now. The trees outside my window spring forth with emerald tendrils, the golden acacia unfurls in spires of circular sunlight. Life, in all its extraordinary ordinariness, pushes forth. If I had great patience, I would stand still, and practice living in the moment. I would pause, breathe, and let the whirlwind of life pass over me.

When I feel overwhelmed, I turn towards nature and beautiful language. This exquisite poem is from Poetry (July 2001).

zen living

Zen Living

BY DICK ALLEN

Birdsongs that sound like the steady determined tapping
of a shoemaker’s hammer,
or of a sculptor making tiny ball-peen dents in a silver plate,
wake me this morning. Is it possible the world itself can be happy? The calico cat
stretches her long body out across the top of my computer monitor,
yawning, its little primitive head a cave of possibility.
And I’m ready again
to try and see accidents, the over and over patterns
of double-slit experiments a billionfold
repeated before me. If I had great patience,
I could try to count the poplar, birch and oak
leaves in their shifting welter outside my bedroom window
or the almost infinitesimal trails of thought that flash and flash
everywhere, as if decaying particles inside a bubble chamber,
windshield raindrops, lake ripples. However,
instead I go to fry some bacon, crack two eggs
into the cast-iron skillet that’s even older than this house,
and on the calendar (each month another oriental fan
where the climbing solitary is dwarfed . . . or on dark blue oceans
minuscular fishing boats bob beneath gigantic waves)
X out the days, including those I’ve forgotten.

If you love nature and want to spread some zen living to someone who needs it, Pro Flowers is offering a discount now – just click here: http://www.proflowers.com/discount-codes.aspx.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Zen Master, Please Help Me!

Future Past Present
Future Past Present (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see.

Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity.

The question is whether or not we are in touch with it.

We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.

Each time I read Thich Nhat Hahn’s writing I know it has come to me at the right moment. This is no exception.
I need to slow down.
Peace in the moment. That’s a hard concept for many women who, like me, try to manage a home, children, a job outside the home, time for a spouse, and any small scrap of a social life.  It’s hard to be peaceful, present  and in myself sometimes. I want to feel like every breath and step is full of joy and serenity, that counting the steps I take in life can simply bring me into a meditative state. More likely, I’m counting to see how fast I can go and how far I can get in a set amount of time!
My ‘busy’ life season is November through April. I feel like I’m moving in alternate realities, never present in one place long enough to get grounded. Early mornings every day of the week and weekend leave me tired, very much alive, and frequently frantic.
I need to be present.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)

Being in touch with the moment is something I strive for. Sometimes I feel it – that deep exhale as the soft breezes caress me, the warm covers enfold me, or the child’s arms envelop me. But more often than not, lately, I’m over-caffeinated, under rested and way too hyped out to simply sit and be present.

I need a Zen Master to come find me.

I need Thich Nhat Hahn to show me that really, peace is inside me.
I just need to know where to look.
I do know that I am alive, and I’m awake (barely).
I guess that puts me two-thirds of the way to peace, right?
Not that I’m counting or anything…

Zen Master, please help me.

What do you think? Be my Zen master?
How do you do at being peaceful, present, and awake in your life?
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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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