Thursday, October 25, 2012
Life is busy. How we respond to that busyness is what will define if we are truly living life, or if it is just carrying us away, losing us in the shuffle. What good does that busy schedule do you if all it results in is fatigue and no recollection whatsoever of what your day, week, month consisted of ~ just a blur? Many of the reasons that we moved to the Midwest, and then to the homestead involved wanting to slow down, live in a way that we could appreciate each moment. This goal certainly doesn't exempt us from getting carried away with busy schedules, but it does give us something that grounds us.
Last week when I stopped at a local coffee shop, they had a framed copy of the following article on the wall. It is from a monthly feature called "Ten Things" in The Nation magazine. It was published originally in December of 2010. There are tons of great links embedded in the article, if you'd like to read them you can here. What things are you incorporating into your life to slow down and live in the present?
"1 Say no to fast food and join the Slow Food movement instead. Fast food cares nothing for the health of your body or the environment, and the taste doesn't begin to compare to home-cooked and comfort food. Try new cookbooks.
2 Slow down to the speed limit when driving. Driving at the speed limit saves gas, increases safety and can reduce adrenaline-fueled road rage. Everyone's cursed the driver who weaves through traffic at high speeds for the sake of arriving at a destination a few minutes sooner. Is a gain measured in minutes really worth the risk of a serious accident?
3 Slow down your conversation. Don't cut people off in your haste to get your two cents in. Listen—really listen—to what others are saying, instead of using the time to compose your rebuttal. Stop to think before saying (or posting or texting) something you may regret later.
4 Be slow to judge. There's no good reason others should think, act or dress just like you. Honor diversity.
5 Tune in, not out. On the outside, it appears that the world holds 7 billion people of different beliefs, skin colors, religions and levels of education. Look inside, and discover that we're all the same species, all of us related, all of us in the same boat. Why persist in rocking it so vigorously? Reduce time spent on social networking sites and take more time tuning in to the real world around you.
6 Not so fast—do you really need a new [fill in the blank]? There will always be something that's bigger, better or more fashionable than what you've got, but down that road lies the biggest garbage dump you can imagine. It's called the earth.
7 According to the American Heart Association, one out of every three adult Americans has high blood pressure. Research indicates that time spent relaxing or meditating can reduce blood pressure. Wouldn't you rather meditate than medicate? As François de La Rochefoucauld said, "When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere."
8 One of the most delightful (and insightful) ways to slow down is to take the time to read poetry daily. "And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow," wrote William Butler Yeats in "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."
9 Take time to consider the children. How does your next action affect the world they'll inherit? It's easy to act out of habit or because everyone else is doing it. By taking the time to notice what you're actually doing, you'll be able to decide if you really want to be doing it at all.
10 Don't rush through life. Be aware of moments you can picture yourself later reminiscing about fondly, and then realize that you're actually living them right now. What's the future got that the present doesn't, except more wrinkles and gray hair?"
conceived by Walter Mosley, with research by Rae Gomes
"Ten Things" is a monthly feature. Readers who wish to propose ideas for it should e-mail NationTenThings@gmail.com.