Saturday, December 21, 2019

Entering a Season of Slow

winter oak tree with blue sky


Even before the holidays were upon us I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed.  For the past several months any time I was doing one thing I felt like there were 5 other things I should be doing. And overall, I just felt like I was getting very little done of value.

I think the poetic description I'm looking for is a chicken with its head cut off. 

There are seasons of life and for the past few years, I've been in a season of hustle and saying yes, and abundance. A couple of years ago my motto was "Let the opportunity reveal the path." I trusted that God or the universe was bringing the stuff my way that was meant for me. It's how I got my job.
This followed a season of rest, saying no, and striving towards minimalism.

Neither way is right. We can feel that way if we don't acknowledge that life has seasons. It seems like such a natural cue to take from nature. In winter we embrace the stark landscape and long dark nights. In summer we revel in more daylight to get things done and explosions of color. In spring and fall, we transition.

Your season may last a month, a literal season or several years.

I 've been thinking a lot about what I want for 2020. I had a birthday. One that is a speed limit. Life has thrown a curve to our son. Our daughter is expecting a baby. The end of the year lends itself to thoughtful assessment. Winter is a natural time to embrace the slow, tend to our hearts, and reflect. Here's what's become clear to me as some of the reasons for my overwhelm and scattered thinking.

After several years of thinking how I could make every moment productive, I need some time for quiet daydreaming.

It's time for another household purge. There's too much stuff. Also, the things I own must be better organized.

I'm spending too much time on social media. It's making my thinking fractured and keeping me distracted.

If you need more information about social media and how it is affecting and not affecting our lives here's an enlightening talk from Cal Newport. 

I'm not reading enough books. I used to routinely read four or five books at a time. Now I go weeks without reading anything. My introvert brain needs to recover by sitting with words on a page.

I need more silence. I do not constantly need to be listening to a podcast or audiobook. My mind feels overwhelmed because it is.

I'm not writing enough. Writing is how I sort out my thoughts and get those clanging ideas rattling around in my head out of my brain and give them someplace to live. It's the reason for this blog. So why have I been doing so little of it?

Should I have a year of slow living or do I just need a month of recovery and stillness?

I don't know if my season of slow will last all of the new year or if it will just be a January necessity. It may only last until spring awakens the spring cleaning-garden planting maniac that I usually am in March. We'll see.

That's the thing about slowing down, we don't have to have all the answers or any. We aren't becoming monks or hermits, but taking a while, however long it ends up being, to get a grip on some thoughtfulness and regain our footing.

How about you? Do you ever suffer from overwhelm and scattered thinking? What season are you in? A summer season of busy and hustle? A winter of stepping back to regroup? A spring transition gearing up to the new thing? Or a fall transition winding down from a season of busy?

XOXO Y'all.

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