A Spoiled Slow Learner (WW # 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Yes my intention was to write weekly this year to document all the lessons from Whispered Wednesdays. Yes that is still my intention but I’m finding that working on the balance between “should”, “must” and “can” is one of the things I’m learning from this whole “project”. And so here are the lessons from the last 6 Wednesdays in a nutshell:
Attempting to intentionally live more simply and mindfully in the United States is possible. Succeeding at it is really difficult. (Tweet that)
I don’t mean to suggest that it’s impossible. I am quite certain there are people who are succeeding at it. Every day I have more humble respect for those people and more realization of just how much of a mindless, multitasking, media-driven, me-centered life I live. For example:
– on WW #6, I got up read by candlelight, drank my coffee from my WW coffee cup, fixed my lunch for the day to meet the food requirements and promptly put on my make up and ran out the door. Didn’t even think about it until that afternoon.
– on WW #7, I got an email notification that my Christianity Today magazine was expired. Hit the “renew now” link without even thinking about it. No thought to the money, the process- nope just “renew” now please. This was after watching a one hour video on mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your life. Epic fail on that one.
– on WW#8, I COMPLETELY over-reacted to something that was a complete misunderstanding based on my lack of self-control and inability to WAIT 5 minutes to think things through at times. See above re epic fail.
– on WW #9, I had the chance to share with someone I didn’t know well what this whole project was about, and although I haven’t been hiding it or hesitant to talk about it at all really, for some reason I sort of avoided it. It wasn’t obvious and no one will ever know but me, but I missed a chance to possibly hear someone else’s take on life in the US fast lane.
– on WW #10 (this past week), I was one second away from hitting “download” for a new album on iTunes when I caught myself and stopped. Not a big deal, right? I can download it the next day (and I did 🙂 ) but in that second you wouldn’t BELIEVE the talk I had with myself about how it was just a music, and it wasn’t technically “buying” anything b/c my iTunes account is connected to my credit card and probably wouldn’t go through until the next day anyway…seriously. I’m an adult, right? BUT I didn’t buy it so I am counting that as a non-epic fail.
For the last two weeks I’ve been sick with that viral respiratory thing that seems to have attacked about 94% of the US population (thanks cruise) and have been forced to live “simply” (read: too tired to do anything but work, sleep, read). During that time I finished one of the best books I’ve ever read called Margin. There’s also this book called “The Bible” that talks a lot about living simply and getting rid of all the stuff that “hinders” real life. I’m also participating in Leo Babauta’s Seachange program (which I highly recommend) and our module this month is on “meditation” and mindfulness and how to easily incorporate that into your life. Those 3 things together have helped to balance some of the issues I’m talking about here.
While lying around the last two weeks I didn’t have a lot of choice about living simply and what I realized was this: The world didn’t fall apart. Sure there was stuff that didn’t get done. There are tons of things on last week’s “to do” list that are getting pushed right over to this week’s list, but you what else I did? If you know me, this is gonna shock you but: I let some things fall off my list! Like, thought about them, watched them fall off and said “well, ok, so there that goes.” For instance, I’ve apparently decided I’m not going to grow a big garden. Ok, well there’s a thing I’ve had on my list for oh, a decade or so that I’m just gonna let go of. I love my CSA, I’m a vegetarian and will continue to eat my vegetables, I just won’t grow them and that’s ok. I’ve always heard/known/understood that whole self-improvement rule of “learning to say no” and honestly have been pretty intentional about clearing some things out of my life in the last year or so, but never really understood it in the sense that I think I do now. There are a lot of things I love to do, like to do, would like to do, would like to like to do and could do. Many of them are not inherently good or bad of themselves and there is no real way to even prioritize some of them. But I can’t do everything I would like to do, and I can’t even do a lot of the things I would love to do, but I can do some of the things I want to do and let the others go. Maybe for now, maybe for ever. By doing that, I clear out room to really do those things that do stay on the list. To have some margin to rest, and to unexpectedly meet a friend who needs to talk for coffee or a run- to actually look them in the eyes with my phone left in the car and LISTEN to what they are saying. Time to do less multi-tasking and more mindful awareness of what I AM doing. Time to think about how blessed I am to be able to hit a button on my phone that connects to my money and pays for an album that I can listen to 2 minutes later while driving.
So, although this was somewhat jumbled, my goal is just to get my thoughts down, so I’m avoiding the temptation to judge myself on my writing skills (as compared to all those amazing writers above- check out my “cups I love to read” link), flashy blog special effects or lack of ability to stick to my weekly writing commitment. I’m putting into practice the things I learned from the books above (Margin, The Bible), and working on my commitment to simply live more simply.
What about you? Is this concept of living more intentionally and simply one that you think about? How does that look in your life? What are your struggles? Have you read the book “Margin”? If not, would you like to? I have 4 copies left and if you tell me why you want one and who you’ll pass it on to after you read it, it’s yours! (If more than 4 people request one I’ll do some sort of fair drawing, but my blog isn’t quite at the level that I’m too worried about that)- Ha!