Maybe I could sense something in the air, but it was while wandering around this wonderful city that I started thinking about the words ‘Do your work and then step back’ by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.
From my point of view, albeit from only a few days there, everything gets done and works well in Portland.
There also seems to be this wonderful consciousness there that whatever you are doing, your intention is to do it well even if it takes a little longer and this includes everything from working on one of the infamous (and rather fabulous) food trucks to making coffee which is practically an art form there.
Yes, of course, there are the overly pretentious, hipster places as depicted in TV comedy Portlandia, but it’s even the ‘regular Joe’ coffee shops where there is a sense of pride in everyday work.
Community is very important there and after only a few days you really notice it. Portland has a downtown/centre, but the heart of the city is not there, it’s in the thriving centre of each local neighbourhood.
One of the barmen I met there said one night:
‘The slower you chill the ice, the fewer bubbles you get and you have clear ice’
or as I interpreted it:
‘The more slowly and mindfully you live your life, the fewer obstacles there are and so, the clearer things become.’
Being in Portland, Oregon reminded me of the benefits of being more conscious and mindful of things you do each day, however small they may seem. It doesn’t have to take time, just a momentary awareness and focus on what you’re doing. A kind of mindful meditation I guess.
It was lovely hanging out in Portland and I can see why people want to live there. It’s a quietly inspirational place that encourages you to do your own thing in your own way whatever that may be. Again, what’s not to like?