⟨ Object ⟩

Penguin Jug by Takara Kinoshita

Storage for the Most Important Thing

Words / 夏侯露茜
Illustration / Furze Chan

讀一行襌師的《正念的奇蹟》,最先給我靈光乍現的,並非襌師訓言,而是在第一章談及跟友人艾倫的一席話。二人在巴黎聚舊,寒暄過後,一行襌師問艾倫:「很多人說,有了家庭便不再感到那麼孤單,同時也有更多安全感,是真的嗎?」艾倫點頭,然後補充:「我發現了一個擁有更多時間的方法。過去我總會把時間瓜分,其中一部分留給兒子,一部分給妻子,另一部分給小女兒,再有一部分用來做家務,餘下的才是屬於自己,可以用來閱讀、寫作、做研究或是散步。可是,現在我正嘗試不再這樣瓜分時間了。跟妻兒一起也屬自己的時光,即使是替兒子補習功課亦然,跟他相處的時光也就是屬於我自己的時光。最棒的是,這樣子我便可以擁有無限時間了!」

若要以最誠實的目光回看將近兩年的育兒生活,我會坦白告訴你,跟蔦悠一起再甜蜜快樂,也有為了失去只屬於自己的光陰而感到沮喪。曾經聽過一位母親感嘆,別人看見的你,就只是孩子的母親,再也不是你自己了。也許是出於惶恐使然,在沒能夠擠出一丁點創作空閒的當兒,我會為蔦悠好好準備繪畫或是捏泥膠工具,看他起勁地揮動笨拙手指的當兒,懸在半空的不安感,稍稍灰飛煙滅。

一行襌師在書末也有提及一篇托爾斯泰的短篇故事:為了替三道難題尋求答案,一位國王不惜假扮農民到深山探訪隱士,並且問他:「何時才是做任何事情的最理想時機?與誰人合作才最重要?在任何時候,最重要的事情又是什麼?」國王經歷連串考驗,隱士最終給予的答案是:「最重要的時刻,就只有現在;當下才是我們能夠掌控的唯一時刻。最重要的人,永遠就是在你跟前、與你一起的那位,試問誰會知道將來你還會不會跟其他人交往?至於最需要追求的,莫過於讓身邊的人快樂,因為那才是對生命的終究追求。」

這個由木下宝製作的企鵝琉璃瓶,有一段日子因爲捨不得用的緣故,只擱在案頭,看上去孤零零,怪可憐的。直至那一天,一向只曉得把泥膠亂丟的蔦悠,竟神奇地模仿著我捏了一隻歪歪斜斜的小鴨子,我才驚覺,創作的空閒,從來也在。現在用了企鵝琉璃瓶充當這雙泥膠鴨子的保存容器,置在當眼處,是要隨時提醒自己,跟蔦悠一起的任何時光,也是只屬於自己的快樂時光。


In The Miracle of Mindfulness, what at first enlightened me most, was not the teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh, but a conversation between him and his friend Allen which was mentioned in Chapter 1. While the two of them met in Paris, Thich Nhat Hanh asked Allen, “A lot of people say that if you have a family you’re less lonely and have more security. is that true?” Allen nodded and said, “I’ve discovered a way to have a lot more time. In the past, I used to look at my time as if it were divided into several parts. One part I reserved for Joey, another part for Sue, another part to help with Ana, another part for household work. The time left over I considered my own. I could read, write, do research, go for walks. But now I try not to divide time into parts anymore. I consider my time with Joey and Sue as my own time. When I help Joey with his homework, I try to find ways of seeing his time as my own time…The time for him becomes my own time. The same with Sue. The remarkable thing is that now I have unlimited time for myself!”

If I have to be honest and look back at my almost two-year-old motherhood, I would frankly tell you that no matter how sweet and happy I feel when I am with my son Julian, at times I still would become frustrated for no longer having time for myself. I once heard a mother exclaim, when people look at you, they will only see you as the mother of your child, and not you alone anymore. Perhaps, out of fear, whenever I feel like I could not squeeze out any time to do creative work for myself, I would prepare tools for Julian to paint or play with playdough. When I watch how his enthusiastic little fingers move awkwardly, the uneasiness I feel would temporarily go away.

At the end of the book, Thich Nhat Hanh has also mentioned a short story written by Tolstoy: in order to seek answers for three unresolved questions, one emperor disguised himself as a simple peasant and went to see a hermit who lived in the mountains. The emperor asked the hermit, “When is the best time to do each thing? Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?” After the emperor had gone through a series of trials, the hermit finally gave his answer, “Remember that there is only one important time and that is now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. the most important person is always the person you are with, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future? The most important pursuit is making the person standing at your side happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life.”

For a while, I was reluctant to use this penguin jug made by Takara Kinoshita, so I placed it on my desk for viewing pleasure instead, but it ended up looking rather lonely and sad. Then came one day when Julian miraculously imitated me to make a duck out of the playdough instead of throwing it onto the floor, and I realised the time for doing creative work has always been there. Since then, I have been using this jug to store these two playdough ducks. Whenever I look at them, they will remind me that any moment being with Julian will always be my very own happy moment.