Saturday, July 20, 2013

slowing down adventure

iowa book

I had the incredibly good fortune to spend last weekend in Iowa with my dear and delightful sister-in-law at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival! We took Keeping a Spiritual Journal together and, appropriately, it was a weekend filled with simplicity and ease. The travel was pleasant, the company was excellent, delicious meals fell into place with seemingly no effort, the hotel was just what we needed - complete with treadmills for fire-y me, and the workshop was very sweet with lovely participants and an encouraging instructor. And as often happens when I step out of my day-to-day life, I was once again overwhelmed with the message to Slow Down.

Slow Down was the message of both trips to Squam and every retreat I've attended, so I wasn't too surprised when it started showing up on the pages of my journal over the weekend. I'm all about the synchronicity, so on Saturday night I was happy to run across a whole section of the instructor's class packet titled "Slowing Down" from an Eknath Easwaran book. Here's some inspiration in case this is a subject that resonates with you:

"People say that modern life has grown so complicated, so busy, so crowded that we have to hurry even to survive. We need not accept that idea. It is quite possible to live in the midst of a highly developed technological society and keep an easy, relaxed pace while doing a lot of hard work. We have a choice. We are not mere victims of our environment, and we don't have to go fast just because everybody else does and urges us to do it too."

Then I opened a book I'd purchased that afternoon, titled Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative. These days I'm a sucker for anything with the word Creative in it - I wonder why! Anyway, imagine my delight when I ran across this: "Take time to be bored. One time I heard a coworker say, 'When I get busy, I get stupid.' Ain't that the truth. Creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing."

A big part of slowing down for me is simplifying. The amazing thing to me is how full I pack my life with things that are just there, but I don't love or enjoy. So here are a few things I'm considering and in some cases have already started doing to help me fill my life with all the beautiful and inspiring things that I seem to never have time for or that I've been having problems fitting well into my regularly-scheduled life:

1. I've moved all the unread back issues of The Sun into the bathroom for brief moments of captive audience inspiration - I've already finished one issue and am making great progress in another. I know! You didn't expect me to start my list with bathroom reading, did you? Keeping it real.
2. I've started journaling in the first ten minutes when I arrive at work and I'm not yet on the clock. This is a great way to ease into the day at a slower, steady pace.
3. I'm making sure I take a real lunch break, so I can fill my emotional well as well as my stomach. I've got a stack of fun things to look at if I'm eating alone and sitting in the courtyard is an all-senses treat. I'm also blessed with wonderful friends and appreciate a visit with them.
4. I think I'm going to start alternating yoga class and meditation group instead of trying to do both each week, which is a strain on my evening time at home and my budget as a soon-to-be graduate student (mainly because I like to get take-out after the meditation group). Both are offered on Wednesday nights and I think alternating between the two mid-week will be delightful.
5. Trying to include something from our farm CSA in our dinner each evening. Today I made a marinade for the swordfish with the cilantro, which I normally forget to use, and will cook up some green beans and rainbow carrots. Yum!

So you can see that I'm just trying to more easily incorporate things I love, but which often get pushed to the side, in a more intentional way into my everyday world. I'll keep you posted on how it goes...

university ginkos