So going back to Thich Nhat Hanh’s question, it helps to constantly ask yourself : “What am I doing?”
For me, right now I am typing. Later the answer will be “I am turning on the faucet”, “I am brushing my son’s teeth”, “I am holding a shirt while folding clothes”, “I am walking down the stairs.” Throughout a day I do hundreds, thousands of things. By actually immersing myself in the present awareness of each moment life becomes infinitely richer.
Focusing on “what am I doing” is the complete opposite of multi-tasking - it’s radical monotasking.
"I think I’m trying to stay focused on the making and how it feels to make something and focusing on that as a way of grounding it has been a solution to just a hard way of living a life. The goal always has to be on the work and what I’m feeling in the making of it because anything beyond that is just going to melt my brain."
"I have a very strong memory of running track in middle school, which I was not very good at. I just remember there was something about running a race and you’re on the oval of the track and you get to the other side of the track and everybody is on the bandstand on the other side and it’s just you and your panting breath. There’s not even anyone around running, like by this point it’s pretty clear that you’re going to get third place and that’s fine.
I think that feeling, that memory, is so strong and it’s something I go back to all the time. There’s just a gap between the people who are interested in your work and you, and the process is not letting yourself be too desperate to get back to the other side of the track. You just kind of have to go deep and let that be comfortable."
"To me, I love what I do so intensely that I never want to hate it. Like it’s such a fear of mine that I wake up one day feeling miserable about making work, so I’m very protective about that space. I’m very protective of the joy. It’s not negotiable to me."
I always say that I’ll go first. . . . That means if I’m checking out at the store, I’ll say hello first. If I’m coming across somebody and make eye contact, I’ll smile first. [I wish] people would experiment with that in their life a little bit: Be first, because—not all times, but most times—it comes in your favor. The response is pretty amazing. . . .
I was at the park the other day with the kids. Oh, my God. Hurricane Harbor [water park]. It’s like hell. There were these two women a little bit older than me. We couldn’t be more different, right? And I walked by them, and I just looked at them and smiled. The smile came to their face so instantly. They’re ready, but you have to go first, because now we’re being trained in this world [to opt out]—nobody’s going first anymore.