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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Living In The Slow Lane



I've never liked feeling rushed, and when I think back on my childhood I never remember being so.  I've witnessed parents impatiently pushing their children to "hurry up",  I've said that a time or two to my own children, but I don't remember either of my parents hurrying me along.  In fact, in most of my memories of my early childhood the days seemed as though they lasted forever, engaged in pleasant play with my dolls and books. Oh the endless hours I used to spend in books, how I would love to have that time again!

I don't know if it was because of my dad or my mom, but we were rarely late for anything. As I recall , we were usually early, and that is a trait I've carried into my adult life.  I think far ahead when I have appointments or other engagements and plan out my time so that I know exactly when I need to begin to get ready and what time I need to leave in order to arrive a comfortable 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule.  Now, before you go shaking your finger, I'm also not one of those pesky guests that arrives 30 minutes early to the the party, so don't fret!  I've even been known to sit in a parking lot a few blocks away or drive around and explore a neighborhood when my calculations were a bit off.  But for things like doctor's appointments or perhaps a movie, I always arrive at least 15 minutes early, sometimes earlier.  I don't mind passing the time reading a magazine or working on whatever I happen to have on my needles at the moment.  It's actually a welcomed diversion, an excuse even, to take a few minutes to do as I please.  I also detest traffic and being pushed along by hurried drivers. Yes, admittedly, I'm probably that person in front of you that you're tailgating and cursing on, I make no apologies, that is why the passing lane was invented so I encourage you to calm yourself down and make use of it! :)

Because I don't like to be hurried I've also developed a good sense for when I need to slow life down a bit.  Even though most people remark at my "strength", I'm going to be honest, most days I feel pretty fragile, especially over the past year. And so I handle myself tenderly at times and give myself a little grace. When life begins to feel like it is too much I don't have a problem with saying, "enough".  I'm nice about it, well, most of the time. Sometimes "life" is a little hard of hearing and didn't understand the first time, so I've had to be a little firm.  But for the most part I feel blessed to know myself so well that I intentionally create space in my day to live slow, to think deeply and to breathe.  

This is a snapshot of my bed that I took just this morning.  This is my "sacred space", where I begin and end each day, as we obviously all do, but this is my place to linger.  As most of you know, I moved back to Texas and into my mother's house last February.  So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a challenge to recreate a sense of "home" that once encompassed several rooms and was now condensed to one.  Since then my mom has graciously allowed me to move my furniture into the living room and dining room as well, but in the beginning all the worldly possessions that were most precious to me fit into this one small room.  A year later this is still where I spend most of my time and it has become my "safe place to fall", so to speak.

I manage my day by rising early, usually at least a good hour or two before anyone else.  I crave the quiet.  It may sound selfish, but I need time in the morning when I know that no one else has even stirred, because need and want are always proceeded by movement, and I need time when no one needs or wants anything from me, I think we all do?   I usually open the blinds first thing so I won't miss the sunrise, then I light a few candles before I settle in with my first cup of coffee and spend an hour or so engaged in reading.  It always follows a specific order, my bible and whatever devotional I am currently in, which at the moment is the 30 Days of Gratitude Prayer Guide which I am completing at the same time that I am re-reading, One Thousand Gifts.  This is always followed by the daily reading from Simple Abundance and on some days Romancing the Ordinary, which does not have a daily reading plan but does include a chapter for each month, so I just break it down so that I complete each chapter in that time frame, OCD that I am!  From there it's a toss up, some days I'll read a chapter from whatever book I'm currently working on, other day's I'll peruse through a favorite magazine, but I typically spend a good 45 minutes to an hour engaged in reading.  Since I've gone back to school I find this time and this reading in particular a prescription for my soul.  I think I would wilt if the only reading I engaged in all day was academic, but since that  does take up so much of my time these days, taking the time to engage in pleasurable reading first thing sets my soul aright. 

After I've finished reading is when I first check my social media accounts which is really only Facebook.  I have a Twitter account, though I seldom tweet, and an Instagram account that I rarely use. I really just prefer the platform Facebook provides, I find it easy to navigate and it seems a bit more interactive and personal to me. I also have a Tumblr account which I absolutely LOVE! Though you can post written entries and use it much as you would a blog, I use it more for collecting beautiful images and I've found some of the most inspiring quotes there as well.  Most of the time I browse through it at night, after the duties of the day are done and I'm able to return to this space and unwind.   I also check on a few favorite blogs at least a couple of times a week, and I typically  check my email as well.  And with regard to email, I was just thinking the other day that I need to unsubscribe from so many mailing lists! I receive far too many notifications from people and places I don't even know, but my guess is that at some point they must have offered something for free that I couldn't resist.  I really need to take some time one day and eliminate about 90% of those contacts because all that "stuff" makes my mind feel busy.  I have a Pinterest account, too, which I have a love/hate relationship with and have it on my to do list to purge as well.  I mean, what's the point of collecting a million recipes if you really only regularly use 2-3 of them?  I like the idea of having them there, but at the same time it all gets to be a bit too much.  Filling my mind with too much makes me feel hurried and overwhelmed. I need mental space to think and to dream and so I'm trying to become more mindful of the fact that every link I click, every thing I save is filling up space, like the 1,013 links I've saved on Facebook!  I'm almost embarrassed to post that number!  My intentions were good, and saving a link to a recipe has saved me more than once, but 1,013?  I meant to go back and read that post, I really did!  The problem is I never do, or there wouldn't be 1,013 things still waiting for me.   I need to add this to the list, "purge saved Facebook links".

And so, if you've stuck with me this far you may feel that you've just waisted fifteen minutes of your day reading about my life, but I hope not.  My prayer for this blog is that it is a place where you will find encouragement.  So if you're like me and like to live your life a little slower than most, of if you find that you're in a fragile place and need a little grace, too, then I encourage you to begin to make space in your days for solitude.  Maybe just start with twenty to thirty minutes, either in the morning or at night.  I make space at least once a day, typically every morning, but most days I'm blessed to be able to make it happen again at night as well.  But then, I'm currently not living with my spouse and my only child still remaining at home is 17.  I understand if you're married and have young children, I remember, it's harder to find the time.  But you can and I encourage you to do so.  One thing I have learned as a wife and mother and realize even now in caring for my aging mother, is that if I don't take time to care for myself I don't care for others as well as I should.  If I'm rushed or if it has been several days since I've been able to spend some time alone, I become impatient and short tempered and that's not good for anyone.  I know how early the needs of each day beckon and how quickly time passes, and the only way I've been able to slow it a bit is by being intentional about creating space in my days to breathe and I encourage you to do so as well. 

And with that, I hear movement in the house and duty beckons!  I'm thankful though, because I'm starting my day from a place of being refreshed!  I pray your day is blessed, as well!

Until then, take joy!
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2 comments:

  1. I crave quiet and slow. Our morning times sound similar. I feel the same about pinterest. I stopped FB in November and for "me" it has been so freeing. I also don't use Instagram or Twitter. My main online outlet is Blogging. I have chosen that for me when I simplified my online time. It was what I feel feeds me the most.

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    1. Were it not for some dear friends who now live far away, I would delete FB altogether. I have a love/hate relationship with it, but I've learned that you can kind of tell it what to do by filtering out posts that you don't want to see. I am always looking for ways to simplify and lessen my online time, though. It does have a tendency to pull you in! Thanks so much for sharing!

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