Go With The Slow

By Stacy Fassberg

Written by Sabina Pettitt

Imagine my surprise when this was the cover story in the last Costco Connection magazine. (For those of you who may not know, Costco is a BIG BOX store – meaning you can buy larger quantities of everyday items for less money.) So very commercial and not exactly where you would expect to find a lead article about mindfulness and meditation and time outs and the necessity for them in our crazy “speeded up”, “non-stop” world.

Personally, I know lots about busy-ness. My beloved has often called me “hurry for nothing”- meaning that I take on way too much and there is no space for the unexpected. And when the unexpected does occur I have little resources to complete the tasks at hand as well as deal with whatever extra piece has shown up – e.g. illness of a family member or even something simpler and less emotional like one project hitting an obstacle so not being completed on schedule. While we joke that this is just how I “came wired from the factory”, the reality is that even I have learned that ‘calm and coherence’ and focusing on one task at a time are my allies. Moreover I am absolutely certain that without a 35+ year meditation practice I might not even be here.

No doubt my professional practice has helped me to cultivate that state of presence. When I first started to see patients I felt so privileged to be included in the life story and journey of another human being. I treated every patient as if they were the Buddha and this quality of attention, no doubt, brought out the Buddha in me.

In “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind”, Deepak Chopra says that people who are always running out of time actually die younger than people who are calmer and more “present” in their daily lives. Moreover he says that the greatest gift each of us can give to another human being is the gift of our “presence”= total undivided attention – whether they are our children, our spouses or our colleagues and friends. These days I’m even getting this message at puppy school. I am completely aware that when I am present with Baba, he is my dream dog. When my mind is going 100 miles an hour with ‘future-ing’ and ‘past-ing’, he acts out. A couple of weeks ago we were in the park and I found the first Indian Pipes. Baba sat respectfully while I thanked the plants for showing up. I remember thinking how awesome these little saprophytes are and how the debate between science and religion (as to how things got where they are in time and space) is just so irrelevant when you are just able to be in the moment with Indian Pipe.

And how blessed am I to work with the plant spirits! As I write these words about mindfulness and presence, I can hear them chuckling because they already know and practice presence. They just show up and manifest the fullest potential of their seed in whatever circumstance they find themselves.

Written by Sabina Pettitt