I shared a love story the other day about red lights. And about loving them.
Red lights as a form of pause and pleasure. As a door into presence. Presence that comes from deliberate, intentional stopping, and an adoring commitment to sweet slowness.
Slow and more slowness.
Watching a cup of water fill, slowly, over time.
It is funny that this was already on my mind because this morning I found myself at Fressen, which is a (German, obviously) bakery/cafe here in Portal Land.
It is a place that combines German food, German thoroughness, German social-awkwardness and the wonderful thing that is German hospitality with a calm slowness that is unbelievably slow.
It is not a slowness I associate with Germany, with the exception of my many happy memories of delightfully lazy five hour breakfasts that were the hallmark of underemployed artist culture in Berlin when I lived there.
It is a slowness I associate more with say, New Mexico.
Eight and a half minutes from the moment of ordering at the counter to the moment when the interaction finally turned to the part where I got to pay for my order.
The water dispenser there drips so slowly that it takes a full three minutes to get a glass of water. Nothing to do but surrender and breathe.
That water dispenser is like a yoga pose. Or the longest, sexiest red light.
You let the glass fill with water. And you breathe.
I watched myself wanting to do anything but wait for the water.
Wanting to pick up a newspaper, check my phone, take a photo, anything really.
And at the same time, the superpower I’m currently working with is “resting into miracles”. So I thought: what if I rest into this filling of the water glass?
A tiny meditation in letting things fill up again. Emptying and replenishing, the theme of my year.
What if this unthinkably slow water dispenser (seriously, dispense is not even the correct verb here) is a gift of ALL THE SLOW STEADY BREATHS I NEED.
Through living in silence, I’ve learned to get really comfortable with pauses and space with people. What if the next part is getting comfortable with three long, slow minutes of letting something fill? As if this water dispenser is on its own form of silent retreat.
What if this water dispenser is a well? Hydration is what I want. Worth waiting for. If I want it.
Another piece of truth: I can change what I want. Freedom.
I have not (yet?) read the book In Praise of Slowness.
Maybe because the title is so full of wisdom that I feel as though I get to absorb all I could ever need to know, just by letting those gorgeous words reverberate in the halls of my body-mind.
Praise. Slowness. In Praise. Of Slowness.
It holds the same truth as my other favorite and beautifully succinct phrase, the phrase that would be my tattoo if I wanted to cover myself in words more permanent than the ones I draw on my skin each day:
Worth Waiting For.
It is true for Guinness, and it is true for many, many, many things.
Another memory. I am also remembering that I didn’t read the book because of how Jens II always talked about it with such enthusiasm in his business-degree sort of way. As if it was strategy instead of truth.
Maybe one day. There is time. That’s the thing of it.
There is time. I praise this too.
A conversation between me and my uncle.
This is a photo of a conversation I had with my uncle, who is also my favorite person on earth.
This was the entirety of our discussion. We were both delighted by it.
The conversation was on the topic of how neither of us had taken a morning nap yet. Also on the topic of EVERYTHING.
All possible topics are covered in this note.
There is still time.
Svevo is the king of morning naps. Yes, plural.
Multiple morning naps can take place in Svevo’s morning. I love this about him. Of course, I do not see him on the days when he is teaching first grade, so I do not know what he does instead of morning naps on those days. I’m sure it is restful, charming, and playful, just like him.
The morning of our conversation, no nap had taken place.
We agreed: This is okay. Nothing is wrong. There is still time.
Some secret unsaid things inside this conversation:
- Napping is not a rule. Napping is pleasure. We can’t let ourselves get dogmatic about napping, that is silly.
- Not only will there be ample time for napping, but also there is time for lots of things. Like this interaction, twinkling at each other with eye-crinkle smiles, watching the flowers do their flower thing, all of it.
- If it happens, there was time for it.
- If it didn’t happen and it’s important, time will be found for it eventually.
- A morning nap is a delicious red light. Pause. Breathe. Percolate. Integrate.
- Sometimes not-a-nap can be its own red light too. Lots of things are pauses.
- There are so many forms of delicious red light!
Truth: There is not time for all the things I want.
There is not time for all the things I want. Like writing blog posts and running two businesses and all the things in my life right now.
There is not time for all the things I want. At least, not unless I change how I want.
And: There is time for all kinds of important things.
There is time to ask: If I can’t have time for all the things, what needs to go?
What needs to change in my kingdom? What needs to exit my kingdom?
There is time for recognizing: “Yeah, that bus was not my bus. I know it was not my bus because look: I am not on it.”
There is time for stopping a conversation, a meeting, an interaction and saying, “Hey, I need to pause and breathe for a minute.”
There is time for writing a secret word on the palm of your hand with your finger.
There is time to touch your heart and love it: HEART. It’s me. Hi.
There is time for five breaths of peacefulness.
Time for all kinds of important things. Time for praising all kinds of important things.
How we play here. You are invited.
This is that very rare thing that is safe space on the internet, and for that to work, we lovingly commit to not giving each other advice and not caretaking.
Within that, you can play any way you like. I am receptive to appreciation, wonder and delight, things you noticed or sparks sparked for you about red lights and related themes, ways you are going to play with this.
And I will always always always take flowers, because flowers make everything better.