I've been in the process of making some life altering decisions for the past few months. Each time I think I've got it all figured out something comes up that makes me rethink everything and I find myself starting over. Needless to say it's left me feeling very, very frustrated. I've had a couple of conversations recently that have given me much to think about and have me leaning more and more in one direction than I have for awhile now. And then today I came across this article that a friend had posted on facebook and I had a bit of an aha moment. While there are a lot of factors at play and it's in no way a black and white choice, I've realized that, in many ways, this issue is at the heart of my decision making.
I love living in Washington, DC. It's vibrant and colorful and filled to overflowing with opportunities to be enriched through food and culture and art and politics and knowledge and life. But it's a busy place. And the people I associate with are a busy people. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but I think, like the author of the article, I am a basically lazy person. It's not that I don't want to do important and productive things, because I do. And I'm a hard worker. But at my core I long for a slower pace of life, time to breathe and connect with people and sometimes just do nothing. And that is at odds with the life I'm currently trying to live.
There's a peer pressure (as was more eloquently stated in the article) to be 'doing' all the time. If your calendar isn't packed then you are obviously failing as a person. Why aren't more people clamoring for your company or skills? Why are you not taking advantage of all that life has to offer? You are missing out on hundreds, thousands of opportunities at any given moment. Have you no conscience?!
Part of me needs to be fed with the energy and diversity and experience found in a city but my deepest soul needs respite and quietude and downtime and I find that I don't have the chance to fully appreciate and absorb the experiences I have when I'm multi-tasking, mentally going over my lengthy to do list and rushing from place to place, event to event.
And in case the stress alone isn't enough there's science to prove that we are doing damage to ourselves when we fail to give ourselves time to do nothing. I read the book Last Child in the Woods a few years ago when it came out and it talks about the detrimental position we are putting our children in by not giving them unstructured time, specifically in nature. Again, as was more eloquently stated in the article, how many of history's great discoveries and creations were birthed in those moments of 'idle dreaming'? Our minds and bodies are not programmed to be deprived of those moments.
Eastern religions/societies are much better at this than we in the west
tend to be. Zen and nirvana and all that. And while I'd made a
resolution to start a daily meditation regime I have yet to actually do
anything about it. So, as I continue to try to make decisions and find peace in my existence I will be striving at the same time to recommit myself to meditating, to breathing, to recreating myself more as a human being than as a human doing, even for just a few minutes each day. Join me, won't you?
Here's a bit of inspiration for you. Breathe deeply and imagine yourself here. Since most of us are suffocating under gray skies and feet of snow at the moment this is almost guaranteed to be an improvement. (See, the sun does still exist!) Feel better yet?