The relaxing, slow, casual pace of life that I’ve more-or-less enjoyed since September is likely coming to an end. Our Farm internships start Friday. I’m going to a part-time job at a horse farm on Wednesday. Thursday, I’ll be cleaning a house. Friday night, I’m flying to AR to pick up Stacey from college, hang out with Gail and Jon, drive back on Sunday. Monday, Stacey and I have to go early for her to catch up on scuba class. Not to mention the internship is in full swing . . .
If you’re the average bear, busy-iness and a fast-paced life are NOTHING for you. You’ve done it 5, 10, 35 years. And you’re probably pretty good at it. I, however, am worried I’ll forget. Forget 1) how to live well in a fast-paced life and B) what it feels like to bask in ‘slow.’
See, I like the slow. Well, at first, I HATED it. Loathed inventing things to do in a day. But now, I love it. My heart loves being slow. I don’t have anxiety. I’m not rushed. I wake up at a decent hour between 6 and 8 usually. I spend time with friends. And I bake breads, weed the garden, plant things, walk around the gardens. While in Indiana I loved cooing to the chickens, convincing all 7 to lay one egg each a day. 🙂 I like hearing what my mom or dad has planned, or needs to do. And doing it for them. Just because I can. But I do it slow. I don’t stress about sitting on the mower for 6 hours. I walk dooooown the looooooong driveway to the mailbox – instead of pulling over in my car as I hurry elsewhere. I take the dogs for a walk. I pet the dogs. And the cat. I workout more. I sit down to eat my lunch. I drink a second cup of tea. I say “Yes. I’d love to hang out with you.” Instead of, “I’ll have to check and see. I’d like to, but I’m soooo busy.”
Life is a lot slower. I’ve come to love that. I’ve come to need that. My heart and mind enjoy the space. Despite popular beliefs, I like the slow.
This slow. This liking of the slow is pretty counter-cultural. If you’re a Westerner, especially Middle-class person, like myself, you’ve probably bragged about how busy you are. Ahhhhh It’s been so buuuusy lately! and Where has all the time gone? or I’m exhausted! There’s never enough time in the day.
I’ve spent the last 8 months UNDOING the lie: Your worth comes from the work that you do. I had to step OUT of the ‘work’ situation to really let this sink in. And it’s not always been pretty. However, as I enter into this summer season, I can feel that the busy-iness is going to catch me. My hands are going to move faster as I pull weeds, pitch hay, scrub floors. My feet will pedal quickly as I hurriedly bike to work, trying to save those extra pennies and the planet as I go. I’ll pedal right past the flowers, neat toads, and changing trees. I can imagine that my heart will want to speed up. My mind will race. Efficiency Mode will kick in. I’ll drop into bed at night with a thousand things racing. . .
I sense the anxiety stepping on my toes already. But I want to fight it. Peacefully resist. Resist the hurry. I want to leave time to pedal slowly to work. I want to work hard, but not run into the corners because I’m trying to cut them. I want to make a list of things to do for the week and LIMIT MYSELF. Not because I like being lazy. But because I value being slower than the average bear. Because I’ll leave time for flowers and puppies, friends and long walks to the mailbox. There’ll be time for visiting my grandmas and not rushing away, reading Thomas Merton and writing a letter. I’ll go for long runs and take time for a cool-down walk, and find toads along the way. May I find that balance. The perfect, still balance of a body that moves and works hards, with a mind that’s peaceful and unrushed.
Let my heart be slow, my mind be clam, and my hands be fast.