There is a saying in Spanish, to be in a hurry, “tengo prisa” In America, everyone seems to be in a hurry. People rush from one place to the other. I am this way, too. My motto has always been “walk and talk”. I multi-task. I cannot sit and have a leisurely conversation, except for with my therapist. Even then, I fidget.
Buddhists speak of being in the moment, of mindfulness. With mindfulness, one is aware of everything at that moment. At Plum Village in France (the teaching center of famed Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh), if the phone rings, one arises slowly, mindfully walking towards it, wishing blessings upon the caller. This was told to my mother by a friend who had visited there. Meanwhile, we wondered, is the person on the other end of the phone fuming, knowing that someone is slowly and mindfully approaching to answer, but taking their own sweet damned time?
What’s your hurry?
Typically, we cram a full day in around a job that lasts at least 8 hours. Add the commute, it’s 9 or ten hours. Then there are children to feed, houses to clean, errands to run, dogs to walk. Not to mention some of the pleasures of life: for me, riding a horse, taking a yoga class, writing for a few hours. Then, in the happiest of times, there is also having deep conversations with a partner, making love. How in the world do we ever fit all of these things into a day? I cannot see any way to do it well in a normal life. We want to have it all, so we hurry. Tengo prisa.
But now, as I travel freely (not always contentedly), no tengo prisa. It is a hard adjustment. I feel rushed, as if the ghost of my former life is urging me on, hurry up and get there! Where? Does it matter? Next, next, next. There is little mindfulness in this approach.
Yesterday, as I was lost again on the way back from my Spanish class, here in beautiful San Sebastian (it would be the second of four times in that particular day), I caught myself being anxious. I stopped and thought about it. What, indeed, was my hurry? I had nowhere to be. I had no one to report to. No timetable. My back and shoulders hurt from carrying my tote, heavy with my computer, some books, and a bottle of wine. I was tired. I was hot. So I rested in the shade, and leisurely examined the map. I got “home” eventually. On the way, instead of feeling hurried and lost, I thought of myself as deliciously lost. What a wonderful way to examine a new place. Delicious losted-ness.
I think I’ll try that approach for a while. Perhaps Thich Nhat Hanh would approve.