slow down

Today, I’ve been thinking about convenient.  About how many things and concepts and practices exist in our lives to make things convenient.

I suppose it started last night.  Life has been pretty crazy lately, and sometime way after my bed time, when I couldn’t get my mind to shut down, I did something I haven’t done in a very long time.  I went and picked up a journal and started writing.  Not just any journal.  A fresh one, for some reason, one with blank sheets and open pages.  Not sure why that impulse struck me, or why I didn’t just start where I left off in my last journal.  I think part of me is becoming aware that we’re about to close one chapter of our lives and begin another.  In that moment, it felt cathartic to write fresh thoughts in a fresh journal.  And so I did.

And as I wrote, something remarkable happened.  I felt pieces of my heart flowing out of that pen in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  The thoughts and words just kept coming, and I just kept writing.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.  Because anymore, when there’s something in my head, it just seems so much easier to type it out.  To sit down with a pen in hand feels like a burden.  Until I actually did it last night.  And I remembered how good that feels, how connected I feel to my thoughts and words when I see them emerge in my own handwriting.   And it just made me stop to wonder why I ever stopped writing.  Why it felt like it would be too much work to do something that actually turned out to be pretty soul-restoring.  Which made me wonder how many other beautiful experiences we waste in the name of convenience, speed and ease.  I can think of a lot, without even trying.

Friendships.  I love Facebook, and it’s great for the purposes of keeping up with the people in your life to an extent, but let’s face it:   there’s nothing like that moment when you finally get to be face-to-face with a friend that you haven’t seen in ages; the catching up, the sharing laughter and life, the enjoyment of the same moments and the same space.  Nothing like it, and in the face of it, anything else feels like cheap imitation.

Written conversation.  My husband and I did a lot of writing to each other throughout the first several months of our friendship and relationship.  I have journals full of writings from him that I wouldn’t trade for any amount of money this world has to offer.  And so much of the beauty of it is in the time he took; in the fact that he made the effort to sit down and put his thoughts down for me to keep.

Eating.  I was reading an article with some studies that link our obesity epidemic to the fact that, unlike fifty years ago, we rarely sit down and just eat.  We’re always eating and doing five other things at once, never taking a second to slow down long enough to enjoy what we’re doing.  Tonight, I made a conscious effort to eat slowly, to put my fork down between bites and concentrate on actually experiencing the food: the textures, the flavors, the feeling.  Dinner took quite awhile, but LORD, it was good.

This week, I want to focus on being conscious of all the things I’m cheapening for the sake of convenience.  Slowing down and being aware might not be such a bad thing.  It feels pretty good, actually.

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