10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
God Made Time, but Man Made Haste (Irish Proverb)
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I've really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why....
~Roger Murrah and Randy VanWarmer
I was just reminded in a book I’m reading of the story about Joshua Bell, a famous violinist, who agreed to perform incognito as a street musician in a Washington, D.C. subway station. For about forty-five minutes, he performed on his 300 year old Stradivarius, worth 3.5 million dollars, some of the greatest violin music ever composed. Only days before, patrons had paid at least $100 to hear a similar performance in Boston’s Symphony Hall.
As you can guess, most people hurried by, some dropping change in his case without breaking stride. Only seven people out of over a thousand paused to listen. I probably would have been one of the ones racing by, except when my son James was a young boy.
I lived in Paris from the time James was two until just before his fourth birthday. Before that, I lived in Bangkok, Thailand, and then in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. My years in the tropics had not prepared me for keeping a young child occupied during the cold, dark winter. James’s autism, although still undiagnosed at that point, made finding something to interest him even more challenging. I missed the ubiquitous lizards of West Africa. Chasing them around our large, walled-in yard kept James active and happy for most of his waking hours in the pleasant temperatures year round.
That first winter in Paris, I was hard pressed to find anything so engaging. But one thing captivated James – the street musicians in the Paris Metro stations. So we spent many afternoons riding the rails, following the sounds of music echoing through the tunnels until we found the source. There James would stand, enraptured by whatever music was being played, swaying with the rhythm, sometimes conducting, oblivious to the hectic hoards that otherwise might have made him anxious and agitated.
In time, we became familiar with which musicians would be at which stations. Our favorite was a group from Peru. Their Andean instruments and melodies could keep us enthralled for an hour, happy and warm underground, as bundled up crowds scurried from one train to another or up the escalators to the wintry streets above.
Were any of them famous? I have no idea. But their music haunts my memory of treasured times with James. Such beauty and joy...all for free if we just pause. So generous.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu
related posts: You Are Here; You Have To Be Present To Win; That Man Might Be Jesus
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I read and I think: "Be still and know that He is God." If we don't take time to smell the roses, or to listen to beautiful music, to just be in the moment, where is the joy in life?ReplyDelete
Thank you, Galen, for sharing this precious memory and reminding us to slow down and savor the moment.
Blessings to you!
Martha, That verse is one I often repeat during times of prayer and meditation. Blessings back to you.Delete
Yes, i think we miss many gifts when we're in a hurry. So important to stay focused and notice life around us. Thanks for this post.ReplyDelete
Myrna, I can never hurry enough to do all the things I think I need to do, so I might as well slow down and pay attention to what is happening all around me.Delete
Love this post! I waste so much time in the entire day, and am trying to fix that this year by being mindful of what I do, and eliminate the useless activities!
Kashmira, I kept track of my time once for a few days. I noted intervals of 15 minutes and wrote down what I was doing. I couldn't believe how often I got distracted. Multi-tasking was not a good plan for me!Delete
I've missed your posts! This is such a BEAUTIFUL memory you have shared of your days in Paris with your young son. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I will stop and look and listen.ReplyDelete
I've missed you, too! I'm going to hop right over now and see what's up with you on your blog. Happy New Year!Delete
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. What a reminder of how we rush around--I'm one of those who rushes--and how we so often think about what we need to do next, not what we're doing now.ReplyDelete
Tina, That's me, too. I'm going to try to enjoy more moments this year.Delete
A wonderful lesson. we should all slow down and hear the music in our life.ReplyDelete
Gail, James understood this as many children do. We forget, but then the children will remind us again.Delete
Great post. Love the Lao Tzu quote. A great reminder to savour each moment in life.ReplyDelete
Suzy, Yes, that quote is a good reminder for me right now.Delete
That's so true Galen!ReplyDelete
We ARE always in a hurry for doing things and rarely have the time to sit back and think or let everything go within.
This is such an apt quote - Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu - yet we hurry. Loved the story of your son, and sometimes if we have the time to stop by and listen and just be in the moment, half our worries vanish into thin air - isn't it?
Thanks for sharing. :)
Harleena, I learned a lot from James when he was a child. Or at least I could have. I was often too much in a hurry to pay attention. Looking back, though, I am learning in retrospect!Delete
I love those weird moments from when our kids are small. I was just thinking this morning about a memory from when I was about 3, as my youngest son turns 5 today and I know now he will start to move away from childish things and out into the world...learning to read, kindergarten, etc. It's so easy to rush about through life and miss all of the good stuff.ReplyDelete
Julie, There are a lot of weird moments with children, aren't there?! Five--that's a great age.Delete
This was a beautiful reminder to slow down, hear the music, smell the roses and realize that everything around us demands that we honor it for just "being". Oh if only we could jus spend more time "being" than "doing"!
Susan, So true. I have several appointments today, but I'm going to try to "be" through my busy day.Delete
Even here in Arizona, with the winter sun shining outside, I have a list of things to do today. I'd like to think I'll take some time to do just nothing, but I might not unless I turn off my computer and hide it from myself. So many distractions online!ReplyDelete
Linda, I hear you! I need one of those car alarm voices. "Move away from the computer. Move away from the computer." Ha! I'm going to move away now and go take a shower.Delete
I know it wasn't your intention, Galen, but what touched me deeply in this post was your loving attention to James' needs and how you remember those moments with so much joy! I wonder how James remembers them?ReplyDelete
About rushing, I agree - sometimes, even when there's no need to be busy, we find so much to be busy about.
Corinne, You got me curious, so I just called James and asked him what he remembered. He remembered listening to the musicians in the Metro stations. He said, "They didn't look like the musicians in the orchestra." He remembered the tunnels in the stations, too. We had a nice chat about other memories in Paris. Thank you for prompting me to talk to him about this!Delete
You're very welcome, Galen. ♥Delete
Galen: As you know, I don't believe in time. It is an arbitrary creation of man used to measure stress. I live the life I was blessed with as best I humanly can.ReplyDelete
JJ, Used to measure stress. I love that. Have you written a blog post about that? I'd love to read it if you will send me the link.Delete
Loved today's post, thanks for it with me. My thoughts are now to slow down pay attention to whats important.Listen to my surroundings more.
Mel, Those are my thoughts, too!Delete
What a life you have had, I didn't know you lived in all these places. I love hearing about the lives of the bloggers I read. I could picture veery sentence!ReplyDelete
Jodi, I've become such a homebody now, you would never believe that James and I both had accordion pages pasted in our passports to hold all the stamps!Delete
Wow, I'm rather jealous of all that traveling myself! I don't think I have the constitution for it, but all those adventures sound wonderful! I'll just live vicariously through you, if you don't mind. :)ReplyDelete
Jennifer, Living and traveling overseas was a wonderful part of my life, but since I moved to Portland, I have become quite a homebody. Not so sure that living vicariously through my present life would be so exciting!Delete
Very true Galen,ReplyDelete
It's interesting when we start to take notice we see things that we thought were never there in the places we are already used to. When we slow down we can find the beauty in those places.
Ben, There's nothing like hanging out with a small child to help us slow down and pay attention to the wondrous things all around us.Delete
Oh I do hear that old sweet song, Haste makes waste, oh yes it does!ReplyDelete
What a coincidence, Galen! Just yesterday, my wife was telling me about the story of the violinist. Evidently, there's a story going around Facebook about it. She said that almost the only people who stopped were children. All the adults were too busy getting somewhere else and usually hurried the children along if they tried to slow to listen.ReplyDelete
I think I'm some combination of hurry and slow-down-to-enjoy. Sometimes I'm hurrying from here and there, getting through one thing to get to something I want to do more. Other times, I stop and watch and enjoy and pause along the way.
I think hurrying from time to time is ok so long as it's not chronic, is safe and is not not a major source of stress. I especially hurry if I'm late somewhere. I really don't like keeping others waiting. I would rather get somewhere unshowered and unshaved (so long as I don't stink!) than make someone else spend their time waiting for me to enjoy my warm shower.
Anyway, gotta hurry up and get something for dinner! :)
Ken, I'm probably a combination these days, too, but back then, I didn't slow down for much. I was always hurrying to the next thing, always feeling behind. Now I am more likely to enjoy the moment. And I agree that sometimes hurrying is a good thing. Like you, I do not like to keep people waiting. Hope you had a good dinner!Delete
What a lovely story and I loved your time in Paris with James. I remember reading the story about the violist. It is so sad that we rush around so much we miss so many things. I think I will slow down a bit and enjoy all of the beautiful moments this wonderful world offers.ReplyDelete
Blessings to you!
LeAnn, The interesting thing about this story, of course, is that the violinist was famous. But there are other musicians who are not famous who still have beauty to share. Just like non-musicians and even non-people! So much beauty all around us.Delete
Galen - you share profound lessons in simple life stories:) and always amaze us! Two thing strike me here - stop and smell the roses. Go slow in life. Enjoy the simple things and the common everyday things that make you happy. And sometimes - more often - we should observe life unfolding and celebrate it (instead of reminiscing about it in the past, fearing it in the future or worrying about what could have been)ReplyDelete
Those train rides showed how much James was in the moment and how much he enjoyed the music in those moments. We should all strive to live like that. Always.
Vishnu, Even when I was with James listening to the music, I was probably distracted at least some of the time, thinking about what we were going to do next and planning ahead. What if I could have just followed his example? Now I try to.Delete
Beautiful! How much we miss when we are so caught up in the the hustle and bustle of the moment. It is like we are living in the alternate universe where we are so disconnected from those around us, including ourselves that we are like a lost soul trying to find their way.ReplyDelete
When we slow down to connect, whether it is with the soothing sounds of music, the warm summer breeze, or others around us, we enter another dimension where things are more peaceful and happy in the world!
Thanks for the post!
Angela, Your comment reminds me of the movie Wall-E, an animated movie that takes place in the future. I saw it because my kids wanted to, but I enjoyed it, too. In the movie, people are shuttled around in vehicles that look like a lounge chair. They wear glasses that stream a constant visual so they are completely unaware of everything around them. At one point in the movie (spoiler alert!) that take the glasses off and see all the people around them.Delete
You are right that we can connect with people or nature, or whatever opens our spirits and creates connection.
I've spent a fair amount of time in the NYC subway system where the acoustics are fabulous but the people rudely hurry past the humble musicians. Now I know it doesn't matter that so many pay no attention. The musicians are simply passing time until James and his mom--or two other seekers--stop to listen.
A beautiful story and reminder to always take time for your passion and if you don't know what that is, just move slowly until you figure it out.
Blessings to you!
Beth, It's true that the acoustics are amazing in those tunnels.Delete