Practicing the art of slowness

I don't know how to relax.

Like a lot of the male members of my family, I tend to constantly have an "agenda." I always have something I need to cross off my list. I have a hard time just sitting down and being. Plus, when I have so much I want to accomplish on my "very important" schedule, I get stressed out.

Ridiculous, I know. But it is true.

For example, after I get off work, I rush home so I can work out, make supper, do a little bit of gardening (even if it is just watering it), shower, eat supper, clean up supper, and then, maybe, I will have time to blog or read if I am lucky before I pack my lunch and get ready for bed. All of those things are supposed to be things I enjoy. I like the idea of running (and generally like working out even if running and I aren't very good friends), I love cooking, I love gardening, I love blogging. Why am I putting myself on some type of daily deadline? Things that are supposed to be fun are stressing me out!

This has got to end.

As you may know, I am deep into reading No Impact Man. (Dang, it is so challenging, motivating, and a really good story. I have so much to say about it, but for now I will try and limit myself). One of the things Collin writes is about how his simple lifestyle helped him slow down and find joy in his life. He sites a specific time when he was taking his daughter to the park. His daughter stopped to play with the chain on a fire hydrant. After awhile, Collin started to get impatient. Then, suddenly, he realized he was rushing to get to a place to have fun with his kid when his daughter was already having fun.

I am not the girl in the story who finds joy in the small moment. Nope. I am the adult who is rushing to the park. Even my "scheduled" relaxing time is often structured. I know when I want it to begin, when it will end, and what activity I will be doing, (which, sadly, is probably stuck to some type of screen).

I don't want to be like this.

So, I decided that I need to find ways to make room for the art of slowness in my life. I want to appreciate every single moment of spring. I want to watch the sun sink slowly in sky and let the natural digression of light help me know it's time for bed. I want to slow down and love the people around me.

It sounds nice right? But how do I start putting this into practice? Especially someone like me who is so schedule driven.

Here is what I've been doing.

Last week, a friend and I headed to Bethel College's "Jazz on the Green."  True, I had some secret motivation to make sure I got some pictures for yearbook (which I oversee). But, I went mostly to enjoy the evening, the music and the company. It was lovely.

Tonight, I invited another friend over who is moving soon to enjoy some tea on the deck. It was also lovely.

However, I think a big key here for me is to limit distractions in my life that hinder me from believing I have time to sit outside with friends and generally do nothing. So, I am going to try really hard not to be on Facebook in the evenings. I am also trying hard not to watch television. (True, it's easy to do this now since all my shows have ended for the season, but will be tricky again in a few weeks when So You Think You Can Dance comes on. (ah! I love that show)).  But this is about more than just trying to have more self-control. This is about not letting things, like Facebook, control my life. In reality, it is keeping me from enjoying the world around me. Shame.

Being intentional is always tricky. But I believe it's worth a shot.

So, y'all, let's take a collective breath and learn how to slow down.