Sometimes life seems to move too fast. It’s difficult to be present and I feel inadequate; too distracted and impulsive to be in the moment the way I want to be. It brings the character of Ricky Fitts to mind (or writer, Alan Ball) in the film ‘American Beauty’:
‘It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.’
Sanskrit philosophers wrote about presence thousands of years ago, but I like the immediacy of Alan Ball’s take on it – a plastic bag in the wind, which brings us into the here and now, and our anxiety producing world of rapid change and competition.
Below is a short video I took of waves from the Mallaig-Eigg ferry, accompanied by music from my friend Atzi Muramatsu, who moved from Japan to the UK some years ago. When I first heard this piece I was reminded of the rhythm of boats, waves, and the anticipation of journeys.
More music by Atzi here https://soundcloud.com/atzi-1
Presence is something I am working on daily. A constant reminder to return to the moment rather than being weighed down by never ending mind chatter. Beautiful waves beautiful music.
Thanks Linda, likewise. Also being distracted is a useless state for painting! I’m glad you like the waves and music. A friend of mine actually learned Sanskrit and translated a book about Zen and presence, it was one of the best translations I’d read as it simply explained the concepts in a way that wasn’t judgmental – I often find that translations of Zen make me feel agitated!