"Breathe, my dear."
Jens said he would drive me to the post office today so I can send off my boxes. They have been standing ready for several days, waiting for Jens to have time. I want them off my hands and off my mind.
This morning Jens said: Not today. Tomorrow, okay?
Then I went to the bank. And went to the bank again. And went to the bank again. And again. Every time, something else was missing.
Then I rushed to my lunch appointment. "你好像有曬黑，" said my colleague. "你越來越漂亮，" said my boss. "你看起來很累。你很累嗎？" said my other colleague. Yes, I'm tired. Just leave me alone. "你吃沙西米嗎？""他不吃沙西米." "你要吃手卷嗎？" Haven't you already ordered? I'll just eat what's on the table. Just leave me alone. "你吃不多。" "你一直都吃不胖嗎？" Leave me alone.
After lunch, I left - to go to the bank again.
Breathe, my dear.
In the morning, I observed my irritation, my impatience, and told myself: "有耐心地對待你不放鬆的身體。" Breathe in and see your irritation. Breathe out and smile to your body.
It worked, at first. Until the fourth time I had to leave the bank yet again to get yet another document. No more smiling to my body. Or to anyone else, for that matter. A frown took over my face, feelings of helplessness and irritation took hold of my mind and ran rampant until finally, I could go home. Lie on my bed. Breathe again.
Listen to a podcast, a conversation with Sylvia Boorstein. Calmed and comforted by her humor and wisdom.
She has her own mantra when life "challenges" her, and it goes like this:
"Sweetheart, you are in pain.
Relax, take a breath.
Let's pay attention to what is happening, then we'll figure out what to do."
At the end of the conversation, Sylvia Boorstein read this poem by Pablo Neruda:
"Keeping Quiet" by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
—from Extravagaria (translated by Alastair Reid, pp. 27-29, 1974)
I want to say to people: Stop talking so much. Just be quiet for a while, would you?
All around me I see people who keep moving, keep talking, even though they don't understand themselves.
And my pain comes from knowing that I don't understand and still, I can't seem to stop moving.