Slow Down, Will Ya?



I stand on the edge of a precipice today.  I am on the verge of an admission that I may not ever recover from, friends.  I...am about to admit (brace yourselves)...that I was wrong.  I know, I know.  I will give you all a moment to collect yourselves.  It is shocking and disheartening, to say the least.  I, myself, am trying to process all of it.  I know you are all asking how this has happened.  How could I have allowed something like this to transpire?  I blame it all on my husband. 

When he and I started dating, he was living in Atlanta.  My first visit to his apartment was a surprise, to say the least.  I walked into shelves and shelves of books and pottery, dozens of framed works of art on the walls, clean and orderly closets, even a clean bathroom; evidence of a thoughtful life well lived.  What I did not find was the most disturbing to me. 

My first morning there, I questioned where the coffee maker was so that I might make some (and thus not choke anyone out.  Mornings aren't my forte).  He then explained to me that there was no coffee maker.  While trying not to hyperventilate that early in the morning, I then asked if he had a microwave and I would at least make some tea.  He also explained that there was no microwave either.  Speechless, perilously close to melt down, trying hard not to be "that girl" so early in our relationship, I was silent.  He quickly replied, "Baby if you will just watch some news or check your email and I'll make you some coffee".  Skeptically, I did and what he made me might be described as "nectar of the gods" by those fellow coffee lovers.  He brewed and steeped fresh ground coffee in a French press and I have never looked back (about the coffee or him).  As a matter of fact, you will not find a coffee maker in our house to this very day.   

After I gathered myself (and my second cup), I asked him why he had none of these appliances in his house.  I mean, you can get a coffee maker for $20 and how does anyone live without a microwave?  He told me that he had made a conscious effort to live slow.  While I didn't understand that fully then, I have a better understanding of it now.  I poo-pooed him as just one of those artist types rejecting "the man" and the modern world.  He was on to something though, folks, I will admit. 


My life has been lived in overdrive most of the time.  I pride myself on processing and functioning faster than the average bear.  I have been pretty satisfied with myself for being able to juggle things that, were one ball to fall, the whole thing would come tumbling down but because of my sense of urgency, I could keep them all going.  I had a coffee maker because who can possibly afford the time of a four minute steep after boiling water, for heaven's sake?  I had a microwave because I could not possibly be shackled by popcorn popping on the stove.  Who has five minutes when I can do it in 2:30?  And it's been all good until the last few years.  I find now that I don't really want that pace all the time.  It is exhausting.  It is certainly counter intuitive to my spirit.  It is unhealthy (in some cases) and it has consumed me for quite a while.

I have spent some time these last weeks in a funk of whatever making and the only thing that alleviates it is when I can really just slow down and be still in a moment.  No plans for a Saturday night?  That would've certainly been cause for panic before (turn up the noise so I don't have to listen to what is missing from my spirit).  Piddling around a kitchen for a few hours is pretty fantastic (sip of wine, "I think more arugula in the garden this season.  And lots more lettuce", stir the leeks, feel the coil loosen a little).  The first blissful moment of a sip of coffee that has taken some time and ritual to prepare is pretty close to heaven in the morning (thank you, baby Jesus and Sumatrans for coffee). 

The process of  doing things "slow" has as much satisfaction as the result for me these days.  The Slow Food movement is one we are totally on board with here.  I think that is where it started for us.  Not sure how to make it all work together yet, but I will be using my powers for good instead of evil in that area of my life.  It, inevitably, means demanding the time and saying no to more things that I don't want to do, thus dealing with the guilt of not being elsewhere (that is it's own dragon, though).  Obviously one of my lessons in this life is to quit ignoring that tug of my spirit to be still.  It seems I blog about it all the time.  The art is in the balance of it all, I know.  At some point, we will stop sacrificing ourselves for "the life", whatever that means to each house. 

My hope is that our choices on Payne Street will be more about quality and less about quantity this year (fingers crossed, hope against hope).  Enough is enough already.  That spirit tug isn't going away until I start paying more attention.  The irritability won't subside until I turn my attention where it belongs, the funk will continue until something changes, "the beatings will continue until morale improves", no?  Wish me luck friends.  I will be sending slow love to your houses.  Maybe we can get there together or at least be more forgiving when we say no to each other.       

                  

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2 comments

  1. I love this. I have recently discovered the pleasure of driving the car in silence. Even though I love music, I don't want my kids to grow up believing they need to have someone else's thoughts put into their heads at every moment.

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  2. I love this and what an inspiration you can be to so many of us. I too have realized the older I get the more I love and value a few minutes of quiet each day. It does a mind, heart, body and spirit good. Please keep us posted on your progress and I will try to slow things down in the country as well.

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