Slowing Down

Today has been a quintessential Stella Sunday… and I really needed that calm, timeless day to recharge my batteries. I have been rushing too much lately. So this morning, instead of trying to cook soup with clutter on my oh-too-small kitchen counter, I decided to wash AND dry the dishes first. What a difference it made to slow down and enjoy what I was doing instead of thinking ahead, planning my day, wanting to be somewhere or somehow that I was not.

The rushing thing is really troubling me. I’ve written about finding a resting place in every day here… and I’ve written more about being present here… and it seems that I need a new reminder every day. Some catchy words to wake me up.

I’m not alone in thinking that the pace has picked up in the last few years. But the more I contemplate the subject, the more confused I become. The shift has been gradual and complex. I’ve started teasing apart the layers.

Layer One: The obvious change is the internet and the availability of immediate everything which carries, hidden within it, the suggestion that I be equally available. While I can’t really accept all or nothing solutions like Julie Morgenstern says, “never check email in the morning”, some kind of boundaries are necessary. And it’s up to me to create them. Last week, I unsubscribed from the many, many email lists that I usually delete anyway (without reading) or file in my ACTION: Read folder (which I never really read because I don’t enjoy reading on my computer). With each unsubscribe, I felt increasing euphoria and now, my new emails are more manageable. But I’m still rushing.

Layer Two: I’ve gotten more efficient with my planning. I can actually move seamlessly between various work related projects without having to stop and regroup. But the truth is, regrouping is a nice break so that efficiency ends up feeling hurried and I end up feeling harried. Because I’m actually an all or nothing kind of gal. So I either make haste or I make excuses and there isn’t much middle ground so no matter how I try to equalize those poles, I am still the hare in the race: fast and furious or fast asleep! I would like to take full responsibility for this one and come up with a different plan. But can I radically alter my personality? Do I want to?

Layer Three: I’m also overeating. No, I don’t mean food, I mean sensory stimulation. I can go online to the library website and order all of the books and magazines that appear in my daily rounds and these library books add to the stack on the floor of magazines that I subscribe to and books that I own that I haven’t read yet. There are books about art that are full of inspiration, books about inner work with some great suggestions for slowing down, novels in progress that I read voraciously, tutorials on various creative projects that look fun to do, and if that doesn’t tire me out, there are blogs online, Pinterest, Facebook and that evil witch, internet shopping. I need to go on a diet.

Layer Four: In the midst of all of this activity, I still want to have an Etsy shop, write on this blog and take time for art daily. Oh, and did I mention that I would like to grow my own food and plant a flower cutting garden? I’m beginning to see a pattern here. It seems that I rather like all of my particular interests and don’t want to give up anything. Which brings me back to Layer One: The Endless Availability Thing. The cumulative total. I think the clever word for today should be Discernment. I’ll put that one on my mantel for now and try and remember to slow down and read it every morning.

Meanwhile, I’d really like to hear how you have been successful in not rushing. Or maybe you like rushing. Either way, tell me your thoughts because this conversation requires a village to evolve it.

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