Thursday, April 23, 2009


One of my brilliant, Type-A clients admitted recently that he has realized a paradoxical truth. If he doesn't rest and take care of himself, he doesn't have enough energy to live the Type-A life. So he comes for regular bodywork, does yoga, gets enough sleep. Only through self care is he able to go from zero to sixty in two seconds flat. My client finds instant acceleration absolutely thrilling. In his opinion, Type-A is the only way to live. I should say that this guy is not hostile, aggressive or insecure at all (qualities often ascribed to Type-A's). But he definitely lives his life at full throttle, well, except on the massage table and yoga mat.

I love seeing the world through his eyes since I am so NOT a Type-A person. But - what am I? Wikipedia describes Type-B as "patient, relaxed, and easy-going." I'm not that either, except right after a massage or after seeing the Sufi acupuncturist. Wikipedia says, "There is also a Type-AB mixed profile for people who cannot be clearly categorized." I don't think I'm Type-AB either. I'm passionate but don't tilt full speed at life. What type is that?

The only reason I'm thinking about it is because this week, for a change, I didn't try to do everything during my days off. I've been listening to music, just sitting on my couch and zoning out. Ordinarily I never do that unless I'm sick. We Washingtonians, even me, the non-Type-A, move too fast, do too much. We try to never stop for anything, not ever, until we're frazzled and anxious, or ill.

Sometimes I wonder what we're thinking. Why the big rush? Why is everything so urgent? What does our frenzied behavior do for us? Any thoughts?

Crazy weather day yesterday. When I took this pic (that's my purple umbrella in the lower right corner) the sky was mostly clear with some big puffy clouds, but it was pouring rain. Huh?


Natalie said...

Wonderful photos. :D

For me, rushing around often helps me avoid the painful stuff lurking beneath.......

R.L. Bourges said...

Natalie sums it up for me too.

Glad you enjoyed the quiet time and the photos are gorgeous indeed.

debra said...

And I think that when we've been rushing and we stop, it takes a while to see that we've come home. To place our feet firmly on the ground and feel the connection to the Earth, and to let all the negativity turn into compost and feed her.
We live in a culture of bits and bytes that is immediate. Sometimes I think it is good to wait. Simply wait.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh Natalie, you are so right! DUH!! Thank you!

Kathi said...

More beautiful photos! Thanks for slowing down to take pictures!

Val said...

hi Reya - i have been catching up and unable to comment for a bit. hope the hayfever is better?
feel like i could do with some rejuvination meself lately :-) Type A sounds exhausting...not sure what i am... depends on so many things x

Tess Kincaid said...

I'm a complete B. Married to an A. It works, though. We balance.

Joanne said...

It does seem sometimes that people's rushing is a choice to not stop and see something amiss.

Elizabeth said...

Dear Ms.Reya
The art of doing very little indeed is very underestimated.
America is full of multi-tasking people rushing about RUSHING.
When I was a teacher people used to ask me what I was going to do 'this weekend'
and I would say
people pay good money to de-stress themselves.
I could help them for nothing.
Ditch cell phone
and I-pod
emulate a cat

people fight to get a parking space near the door at the gym (DUH!!!)

W.H.DAVIES said it best:
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

So now you have my thoughts on the matter.

I am also LAZY
but that is something else......

ellen abbott said...

I guess I'm a type A in some ways, some ways not. I don't rush around, I'm not stressed out but I am always doing something. I find it hard to sit still for more than 30 minutes or so then boredom creeps in. I do like to read but I can only do that for about 30 minutes or so (unless it's one of my sleepless nights) and then I have to get up and walk around at least. There is always so much to be done, to do, not just work but fun stuff.

There are times though when my body will not cooperate, demands to be still even though my mind will not. Then I succumb to stillness for a few days.

My spouse, on the other hand, does as little as possible. He calculates in advance the fewest number of movements (OK that might be an exaggeration). He says turtles live a long time and they are slow so that's his role model. I find his lifestyle to be very boring.

Cyndy said...

I thrive on frenzy. I find it exhilarating. I think sometimes I procrastinate just so that I can feel this sensation. But I also try to balance it with relaxing activities like going to the beach or taking long walks somewhere that's quiet.

Amy said...

I don't know if I qualify as Type-A. Those people I think of as being very successful and driven and ambitious. I just feel the constant pull to "get things done" and done well. I like order and can only think clearly and feel truly at ease when my surroundings are clean and neatly organized.

It's also become a realization that having nothing to do can be a real pleasure. Sometimes I find my self not recoginzing those moments when they appear, but I'm working on it!

The picture with your lovely purple umbrella in the corner made me smile.

Michelle Stiles said...

I love the new layout. It looks great!
I find myself attempting to describe myself as a mix between A & B, I am really neither but a mix a of the two. I am my own special mix I guess!
Guilt, I think dives most of crazy and driven to run ourselves into the ground.
My favorite saying from my favorite peron, "Guilt, I gave that up a long time ago, it just wasn't working out for me."

Tessa said...

Blue sky and rain = Monkey's Wedding. Apparently.

I must be Type-A, I think. My axiom is if you don't live on the edge, you're taking up too much room! I'll probably come to a grinding halt like an old jalopy one of these fine days....

Love the first photo particularly - that's masterful, Reya.

Angela said...

I am clearly with Elizabeth, and I even know that poem by heart, because it suits me so! Is that a type zzz then? I am happy if I can get a nice break, and after I had it I am fully there again. What`s wrong with that? And guilt? No, that doesn`t work for me either (good saying!)! Reya, where do you always get your good questions?

Unknown said...

love, love, love the photos.

I'm like you Reya. Uncategorizable. I love to sit and do nothing. But I also love to fly down the face of overhead waves leashless on 9 foot pieces of foam and fiberglass, and organize my life maniacally to be able to do so at any given time. Balance is key!

Jen said...

You have inspired me to not rush around today. I feel like I am always doing so many things at once I wonder if I really actually get anything done fully.

Reya Mellicker said...

Angela you are one of the healthiest people I know about. You are direct unafraid, and positive almost always. I salute you. I honor you. I want some of that kool-aid!

As for my questions, well, my goodness my mind never stops with the questions. I am very curious.

Tom said...

Yea, i know...i am probably more type B, but guilty always that i don't get more done...oh well! Really like the bumpy sky picture!

Unknown said...

Rushing & obsessing & the like (as several other commentors have pointed out) is a way of avoiding, at least for me. I'm all over the charts as far as this goes, but in general I find that these types of categories always present only part of the picture.

Speaking of pictures, these were especially great even by your standards.

ShirleyAnn said...

I get done what needs to be done, but I have no problem taking a whole day and doing absolutely nothing. This drives my husband crazy.

Ronda Laveen said...

Ahh, I see blogger sent my comment somewhere in the multi-verse but not here. Kwik post ere getting the boot from internet again. Again. Again. Again and again. Ohmmmm, Ohmmm. Type-A, here. But a very calm, easy going high-driver. I'll have plenty of time to rest when I'm dead. I want it ALL.

Loved the link to Intangible Arts. What an incredible project! Now, why didn't I think of that.

Over and Out.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ronda you are so cool!

Thanks for the compliments re: the pics. These are the same pics I take every spring. DC is such a beautiful city; there's no way you can take a bad pic at this time of year. Really!

Bogey said...

For the past 7-8 years, I was putting in about 65-70 hours a week on average. Didn' t really give it a second thought. Now I'm down to about 45 hours and I actually get to see the sun set....and isn't that what it's all about.

Don Parker said...

Friends have said I'm so laid back I'm a Type Z personality. Hope that means they think I'm Zen-like.

Nancy said...

These photos are amazing. I credit you with a piqued interest in photography.

I can't live fast anymore. I just don't want to, I guess.

lettuce said...

well sometimes the frenzied behaviour stops us thinking and/or feeling...

I'm so glad to hear that wikipedia llows for mixed type persons who can't be categorised

A Cuban In London said...

As someone who lives in a city where people run, I appreciate the slower pace in which I live my life now. I cycle to work, or walk sometimes, live in the outskirts of London and therefore don't have to commute. It's like that song by Billy Joel, 'Vienna'.

'Slow down, you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out
You've got so much to do and
Only so many hours in a day'

Greetings from London.

Bee said...

There is something marvellously disconcerting about rain when the sun is shining. (My grandmother used to say that "the devil was beating his wife." Have you ever heard that?)

Having just returned from Houston, I was very much struck by how FRENETIC life seems there. All of my friends were constantly driving to and fro, with meals on the run, and the feeling of a ticking clock. I enjoyed it at first, but then I couldn't wait to get back to my (much) quieter life in England. Maybe we keep busy to avoid thinking or feeling; maybe it gives us a sense of accomplishment. All I know is that I appreciate the "B" side of things more and more these days.

bARE-eYED sUN said...

we're VERY happy that we stopped by your blog. good advice, good photos; what else would we want?

thank you, :-)