Sunday, July 05, 2009

I'm Easy

Victoria tells me that I'm not supposed to say that.  Quoting the immortal Inigo Montoya, she tells me "I do not think it means what you think it means."  OK.  What I mean is, I'm comfortable with however things turn out.  "Should we see this movie or that one? I'm easy. "  That's what I mean.

Another version of "easy" is one I've noticed in the last two years. When the time is right, the next step is easy.  All the thrashing around and fretting that's come before was either unnecessary or resolves itself, and I step into the next thing.  I'm easy.  It's easy.  Whatever....

Traveling in Italy in high summer has made me think about another kind of easy -one about which I know nothing.  I was in a tiny village in wine country, in a hotel that was a medieval castle.  By hotel standards, it was small.  But the grounds are extensive.  And seriously, can you imagine the logistics behind turning a medieval stronghold into a hotel that meets modern standards for comfort and connection?  Oddly enough, the knights in their shining armour did not plan ahead for, say, Wifi connections and hot tubs.  Or indoor plumbing, for that matter.  So, the owners and the staff work really, really hard.  They must.

But I never saw them do it.  Not once.

If I wandered through the public rooms with that "must have coffee or I might die" look, someone was available to sit with me and have a cup and be companionable.  If they were working in the kitchen garden (roughly the size of my entire yard at home), they would work for a while, stop and rest, have a glass of fizzy water, and then work again for a little while. 

Even preparing the meals had a different sort of flow.  When I cook, I, by God, COOK.  I'm in the kitchen working hard, making lots of mess, and getting dinner on the table in record time.  I like that process well enough, actually.  But there's another way.  They start the bread rising, then go do something else -possibly even sit down for a minute.  Then they wander back into the kitchen (although I'm certain that the timing is probably quite clear to them, it looks like wandering or floating to me), and start the broth cooking that they will need for supper.  Then it's off to something else.

It turns out that I'm kind of a linear person.  I seriously never thought that.  I tend to bang away at one problem until it gives way, or I do.  And then I move on to the next one.  But maybe there's another way -and maybe it's about being easy.  In a good way.

I'm not sure how to do that, of course.  It's not multi-tasking, which is where I will take this if left unattended.  It's one-pointed attention, in the Quaker sense of paying full attention to whatever is in front of you because you know that the full picture is well-tended.   You can relax into this project because that one (whatever it is) isn't pounding at the door, needing attention because it's overdue and neglected and....  Well, you get the picture.

Once again, I need to think in circles and swirls.  I need to think like a dancer thinks -not just shapes in space, but the connections between them.  I need to think about flow.  And when the time is for relaxing, take that time with the certainty that I'll get up in a minute and work again.

This is a major mind-shift, but I think I might be on to something.


Sophie_vf said...

I really like this post, Andrea. I *think* I'm a non-linear multi-tasker, but in reality, I do bang hard away at something till it succumbs, making a big mess.

I love your description of the ease at which the day seems to flow at your castle retreat.

On the other hand, part of me thinks "well...there's just a whole lot *more* of them to do that work" :)

breadchick said...

And now you know the very secret to bread and, thus I think life, "Yeast is going to do what yeast is going to do, so go away and do something else. When you come back, the bread will be ready to bake."

Sounds like your trip was everything you were looking for it to be.