The other day I was having dinner and watching An Pan Man with my two daughters, who we are raising bilingually. (An Pan Man is an anthropomorphized pastry hero who helps out his other pastry related characters in their struggles against their “nemesis” Vaikin-man. — Yeah, that’s all part of the charm of Japanese characters.) As I was watching my daughters watching the television, I was starting to get stressed out by the fact that I wasn’t understanding a lot of the Japanese. After all of these years, shouldn’t I understand what my daughters already understand? (Though I was making a big assumption that they understood everything.) “Shouldn’t I already be there?” I thought.
For a minute I channeled Steve Chandler, who has written, “Stay out of your future.” The past is done. The future hasn’t happened yet. The only moment that you can be in is the moment you are in now. The trick is to stay awake in that moment. It’s the only moment we have. When I remembered that, I decided to just listen to the cartoon calmly rather than listen to my self-talk about not being worthy or accomplished. If I could string more moments like that together, I would be a lot more fluent. (Check out what AJATT has to say on surfing the line between patience and impatience.) Each present moment helps create a little archipelago where life, idea, and skills can flourish.
In real-life I can be a hot mess, but on this blog I get to be the wise samurai man. Put this in your pipeline and surf it:
- Stay present. Breathe.
- When you aren’t “present” don’t beat yourself up. Are you going to waste a present moment by beating yourself up for not staying in the present?
- Don’t flagellate yourself for not practicing, just practice. Be aware. Practice badly, but just practice. You will refine your practice when you stop beating yourself up.
- Don’t try to create a whole continent of being present. Be pleased with your little islands of present moments until you’ve made your ever expanding Hawaii of skill, fun, and contribution.
Surf the present moments. Fall. Get up again. Look at the waves. Look at the sun. Every day is a new day. Hang ten. (Whatever that means.) 🙂