This soup is alive as any animal,
Tag Archives: slow down
(In this series of posts about radical self care and/through major life change, I am finally taking some time to find the words for what I’ve been dealing with over the last month, since the birth of my nephew. I am thinking about how and why we choose to survive and how much effort is involved, how and why we choose to take care of ourselves, and how to allow ourselves to walk with all that life throws at us with even a modicum of grace and celebration.)
I remember they said it would be hard. I scramble
I am back to this blog writing after a bit of a vacation — I’m sorry for the long absence. I went back east for about a week, and got to nestle and swim in the New England summer. During vacation I read a lot, swam in the Pacific, visited with friends and family, sunbathed, walked in the rain — I wrote, too, though not on the computer.
I don’t like to spend much time on the computer while I’m on vacation; I take myself offline, and though I keep my phone close at hand so I can take pictures, I avoid email and my social networking apps. Being away from the (perceived) demands of social media allows me to take a real break, to slow down, to pay a different kind of attention. I feel less scattered when I’m offline — though it can take a day or so for the quality of my awareness to recalibrate from easily distractable and multi-task-oriented toward something more focused and yet with a wider peripheral vision. I begin to walk more slowly. I turn away from the screens, letting my eyes open back to the real world that surrounds me.
Good morning – it’s slow here where I am, slow in my belly and bones, slow in the opening eyes, slow in the water boiling, slow in the release of night to sun. It’s Friday, when things should be moving toward break and weekend, but not for the self-employed. Where do you find breaktime? How does Friday slow itself to greet you? Are you rushing headlong into this day, just ready to just get it over with?
This week I am thinking a lot about workaholism and stress, I am thinking about the cultural messages I get as an American to work harder work harder — if you’re tired or anxious or there’s too much to do: work harder. Don’t stop. Push through the tired. Yes, you’re overwhelmed — just keep working. You can get through it. I am thinking about how I have internalized these messages: just keep going, Jen. You can do this. Don’t stop. You just gotta power through.
And how, when I’m overwhelmed, those sorts of messages just drive me right into shutdown. Everything in me slows down, whether I want it to or not. It’s as though my body knows something it doesn’t want to tell me. Or, no, wait: my body is telling me all the time: more and more and faster and faster isn’t better. Working harder isn’t the way to get more done. Working slower is.