Last week a dear friend of mine, who co-owns a resort in the mountains of western North Carolina, shared the following personal story with me in an email. I asked Millie if I could share her email in my blog, to provoke thought among my friends and followers. She was honored that I liked her story enough to share it. So here it is……..
There is a wonderful saying that I live by: “When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive.” Not long ago I was showing some of our rooms to a beautiful man who was passing the area and was curious about our place with the red doors. I began telling him all about the progress we have been doing since we bought the motel less than a year ago. He asked how I got everything done so quickly and I responded immediately with pride, “I am great at multitasking.” He paused and stood in one of the doorways and said, “You can’t be great at one thing if you are multitasking. You are just doing things half way.” I didn’t agree. But, I wasn’t going to disagree either. A part of me understood what he meant. I had an “Aha Moment” that stood out as we continued down the rest of the rooms. He was right. I hadn’t been giving 100% of my time and effort. As much as I pride myself in overachieving in just about everything, I was giving less and less each time while trying to do so much at the same time. Like a Latin robot, I was just fueling the energizer bunny to get as much done quickly so I could go on to the next task.
He was a teacher at that moment. I was ready to learn. The thing about doing so much is that we get lost in the doing. We forget that the process is much more satisfying than the finished project. I learned a few other things that day just by being in the moment with this man. He might never know what he taught me in a few hours of deep conversation. He was just a guest and I was there to learn. I remember sitting by the pond on our red chairs and watching the fish jump out of the water to catch the bugs. There was silence between this stranger and myself. Then he continued talking about how people feel the need to fill the silence between each other. I agreed. As I looked out to the mountains in front, the water dancing to the gentle breeze, and the wind caressing my skin, I decided then and there that I was going to start being fully in the moment. I wasn’t going to kill myself to multitask just to check another thing off my To-Do List. The only thing to do was to start living each moment. I’ve read enough books on the theory of living in the now to write my own book. I have lived it to the best of my ability. Until that day when I realized that I wasn’t living completely in the now. I had been living in the “right now I need to do this and that.”
The thing about strangers and learning is that we are receptive when it comes to those who don’t know us. We tend to listen because there is no attachment. If we stop for a few minutes we realize that this person is presently interested in us. We seem to evolve because of that unknown and familiar factor of comfort. It is in that moment of learning that our spirit soars. That’s why I truly believe that I learn from every single person that I come in contact with on a daily basis. Those things that rub me the wrong way are probably things that I am projecting in myself. It’s in those moments that I step back and ask myself what needs adjusting? What am I rejecting that needs to be accepted in me? Each person is a teacher. Even nature teaches us how to live fully and unexpectedly. We are in a continuous huge classroom we call life. What you take from it is up to you. I plan on learning to slow down even more, if that’s possible after all these months. I have mastered the art of relaxing to a whole new level in spite of being busy with our business. And, that is the best lesson the mountains have taught me. Peace is an inner strength that requires nothing but letting go.
7/26/11 Millie A. Mestril
Here are my own thoughts on the matter….
Funny, as much as Millie is learning to relax and live in the now up in the mountains, unemployment — especially since I decided not to go back to the UI office to apply for another 13 weeks of it — has been having the same effect on me. That freakin’ place drove me up a wall – dozens of people working there who didn’t have a clue about what they were supposed to be doing and even more people trying to find work in an environment where there are no jobs, myself included. So, I said ENOUGH of this crap. I’m stressing myself out over something I have no control over. It’s just not worth it. I had worked most of my adult life up to that point, and it was time for ME to take a break, learn to relax, and stop long enough to “smell the flowers” as the saying goes. For me, the “aha moments” come when I watch my dogs, really watch them. Dogs, like all animals in nature except us humans, live in the now naturally. They only get stuck in the past when they live with humans who are stuck in the past. I have learned to accept the fact that I am doing now what I’m supposed to be doing at this stage of my life.