the little pleasures

The older we get, the faster the time rushes by. It’s simple mathematics, really… a week becomes a smaller fraction of our lives, the longer we’ve lived, and that’s what changes our perception of time going by. If you remember waiting impatiently for an important date to arrive when a child… for the end of school and summer vacation, or for a trip or a birthday… it always seemed like it took a long time to get there. And in contrast, as we grow older, we barely turn around, and the week is done… and it’s another weekend.

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cats don’t smile, Tomasino

This week was like that, with memorial day, and another holiday… can it be that we are approaching another Sabbath? What happened to the week? The other day, a friend mentioned something about making plans for retirement. And I shared my experience with her, that my plans came to naught. I had developed such work habits by the time I retired, that instead of finding myself with nothing to do… as I had thought would happen… my life is still full of the same things that were always part of it; work, anxiety, the joy of accomplishments, and even the last minute rush, as certain events approach.

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these pics from behind my home

There’s great beauty in every season. And this winter, I enjoyed some really beautiful photography of mist and fog… conditions that once were reason enough for me not to take my camera on a walk. I keep learning. But the beauties of this spring, are just intoxicating. The grass behind the house is as tall as bushes, and there are flowers everywhere I look. I walk along the path with a smile, and Nechama rolls around on the grass and on the earth… cats don’t smile, you know.

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I remember regretting that my father wasn’t a farmer, or a blacksmith, so I could watch him work. I thought that if it had been that way, I might have learned the secrets of work. But my father worked with his head, and that is the sort of work you can’t follow from the outside. I thought that I’d missed out on something rather important.

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the beauty of a thorn

But later in life, I realized that I had gotten some pretty good examples of proper work habits… even for those who do intellectual work. It came to me, as I started to examine my own behavior, when overwhelmed by work, and finding it hard to keep up with all my commitments. I realized that that there was an illusory easiness about working with the mind. One thinks that there are as many hours available, as there are hours in the day. And then I remembered my father saying, I’ve got a problem… and he’d go off for a walk. Sometimes he’d stop everything, and listen to music for an hour. At the time, it seemed strange behavior.

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Now I know that those simple pleasures are necessary to keep the mind relaxed, to absorb the things that we learn, and to let the ideas flow, so that we can come up with solutions to what seems unsolvable at first. I’ve learned that free time is often the most important part of the day. That is when I have my most productive moments. Not when I’m wracking my mind to find a solution to a problem, but when I’m taking a walk, with nothing to do but look at the flowers, and the little oddities of the streets.

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How much better it is to maintain a sense of balance through the day, than to work at maximum pace all the time, so as to afford a great vacation, or a night on the town, when we really need it, because we’re so worn out with constant work! It is those little pleasures that accompany us through life, that constantly renew our strength, and allow us to take pleasure in our work. Today with multi tasking, and absorbing music or a lecture through earphones, while we are doing something else… it is easy to lose touch with quiet… to find ourselves limited by routine thinking, and uninspired moves. This goes along with my previous post on moderation.

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We do need some great moments in life, and to experience thrills that remain in our memories as landmarks. But it’s a mistake to want every moment to be a peak experience. We wouldn’t want to miss out on the simple pleasures of life.

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36 responses to “the little pleasures

  1. In all my life, I never forgot and forget it… It was so beautiful and also I watched the film too it was based on it. How much I cried when I read and watched the film…. It was “Tomasina”… When I read you now, I remembered again this book…
    I think we are same about our running life… How can I express I don’t know but you have already expressed so beautifully…. The excitement, love and our passions are same from the beginning till now… especially the love of learning is great… Everyday something is being added to our life experience… I loved how you expressed and also how you captured all these beautiful moments… Thank you dear Shimon, all these simple pleasures of life make our happiness too… Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

    • Thank you very much, Nia… and how nice that this brought back good memories for you. What you say is so true, we get additions to our life, as time goes by… and this makes life richer all the time.

  2. Beautiful photography! And yes, time accelerates with technology and age, it seems…I was without a computer for three days this week: what silence and expansion it offered my days! I’m thinking of giving myself a tech-abstinence day every week…

    Thank you, Shimon.

    • I know just what you’re saying about a little time off from computers. Actually, I have a little one that goes with me everywhere… but I too, try to take a little time off, even from the things I love… to meditate, and remember my inner self. Thank you so much for your comment, Catherine.

  3. Some lovely pictures Shimon and some very wise words. I have so often found the solution to a problem by removing myself from it and playing piano or taking a walk. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Several thoughts came to mind. The first about time. During our youth, time seemed slower because we constantly were waiting for something. As working adults, time is past because we do things with deadlines and then move on to the next.

    I’m also reminded of my father, you worked very hard during my youth. I was just out of challenge with my first job. After mentioning that I was going to also work at the nearby golf course for extr money, he responded, “You have all your life to work.”

    Shimon, thank you for the wisdom and images.

    • True, Frank; what you say about youth. And I’m glad that I reminded you of your interchanges with your father too. That was good advice that he gave you. Thank you for your comment.

  5. Balance is so crucial. I contract fine art frames for a dealer and anytime you rush at the end it never goes well and you end up spending way more time than if you had just took your time. Rush never works when building frames from scratch or putting fine art in a frame. I’ve never seen a rush job go well. Not once.

    My contract for frames has taught me more than anything I’ve ever done how crucial a peaceful relaxed mind is to productivity. Rushing a carving just doesn’t work. Gouge too deep and wood starts splintering. Etc.

    We have thistle here, what we call the pink flower you photographed, and it is my favorite flower to photo. They are so full of character.

    Very beautiful pictures. I love the second one down. It is amazing how many times these are photographed but not exposed properly as you have here. It is so easy to over expose them.

    Great post. It is amazing how taking a little time out can spur creativity. I guess the old saying “Haste makes waste!” is true! 🙂

    • You’ve added something very important to this post, BoJo…I had the same experiences when I started out in business. Sometimes, I tried to do things in a rush… sometimes, I tried to save a bit of money… and I soon found out, that it was quality that I really wanted, and that demanded a different attitude. So glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you.

  6. It’s so true that time goes faster the older we get! I always wondered about that and your comment on mathematics helped put it into perspective. Nice post and lovely photos.

  7. These are lovely pictures, Shimon. Your words have inspired me as well–I have just returned from two days of storytelling and teaching in Eastern Washington, and after seeing my husband and daughter off to work and school, I was going to dive right back into work. I think I will tend to my garden instead.

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Naomi. Story telling is work like mine, in many ways, and sometimes, we forget that we’re working… because it is so gratifying to have such work in this life. Gardening can be a wonderful sort of meditation as well. Thank you so much for your comment.

  8. Much to ponder here, Shimon. My most productive thinking happens while at the community pool doing my laps. My take on time being so slow when we were little is because everything was new, and anything new we examine with greater intent and absorption. Even now, when I go to a new place–like when I went to Israel–those ten days felt like a month because I was staring keenly at everyone and everything, listening closely, smelling, tasting, examining, exploring. I went to bed so tired out and needing to sleep, yet still wanting to watch the activity arolund the night-lit walls of the Old City. As children we had no repository of ‘the usual’, or ‘how it is’–we were alert and experiencing every waking minute in all its fullness. It seems time rushes by only when I think I’ve already lived it. Many thanks for a thought-provoking post, and lovely photos.

    • Thank you so much for your input, Lance. I appreciate what you’re saying. I used to go swimming once, but that was quite some time back. But I do have some wonderful moments, occasionally, in the shower. I have had some true inspirations there. I love what you said about the usual. For just that reason, I try to see the world around me with new eyes, as much as possible.

  9. Wonderful photos – I especially like the first two – of your cat and the dandelion. Shimon, isn’t it the way; we do so much only to later learn that we’d have been so much more productive if we’d just stopped to ‘smell the roses’. I’m learning this as I go along but it is a challenge. I am grateful for the 90 minutes I spend at yoga daily as I am forced to stop… slow down… meditate… And then the day starts up again! But I am clearer for it. It doesn’t come easily to me though, it takes practice. It’s a fascinating journey that you write about with such ease.

    • I’m very glad you enjoyed the post, Marina. Thank you too, for supplying the name of the dandelion… I forget that name over and over again. Yoga is a wonderful way to appreciate the very life we live. Thanks very much for your comment.

  10. Good morning Shimon, the pauses between the rush, the quiet, my persoanl favourites. I think your father gave you a great lead there. I find gardening very, how shall I say it, medatitive – I can either sit back and listen to the birds or watch the wind, or as you say empty my mind and work through an issue or come up with a hopefully bright idea.

    • You’re so right, Claire… I think that gardening is a very beautiful avenue of meditation… it is coming together with nature. Thank you very much for your comment.

  11. I love the wild flowers, a lot of truth in your post.

  12. I loved this photo essay the first time I read it, ShimonZ, and the second time is even sweeter. Technically, it’s your pacing that I love— you have a wonderful way of pausing between thoughts, and the images reflect that natural gait.

    The meaning here, though, really struck close to home. It has taken me a long time to understand the necessity for rest and reflection. My born tendency is to work from morning to night. This is not healthy. I had to learn how to pace myself the hard way, and I am still learning new aspects of this lesson.

    Thank you for for this moment. I am really amazed by your writing and your photography, both— and I am learning not only from what you say (which is quietly profound), but the way you say it (which is quietly profound).

    • Thank you very much, Courtenay. I know that you too are used to working with your head… and so you know how difficult it is, to put the pen down, and say, now it’s time for a break. I find I’m often ‘saved’ by friends coming over for tea.

  13. Wise sentiments and gorgeous pictures to boot -thank you!
    anne

  14. I am happy that you included weeds and thorns in your pictures. The older I get, the more I appreciate them. The whole world is full of wonder and beauty, even the weeds and the thorns. I want to “see” the world everyday, and as you said, it takes time, unrushed time.

    I always appreciate the tender way you share your truth.

  15. wise words and beautiful pictures !

    yours
    apu

  16. Thank you for sharing, Shimon. The prose and pictures are lovely, as always.

  17. The changes in the perception of time are so very true…

  18. it’s true that cats don’t smile..but I have noticed mine seems to frown at times when annoyed with me 😉

    • I agree… I too have noticed my cats frowning… in fact many a time… and when you think about it, a good purr is just as delightful as a smile… maybe even more so.

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