Slowing Down

Slowing Down

IMG_0609
Photo credit: Susan Spaulding.

I remember a family vacation when my children were young. We were traveling from Oklahoma to Colorado and about three miles down the road, a small  voice from the backseat asked, “Are we there yet?” At the young age of five, my son had already learned to focus on the end result. Patience was not his virtue

This is expected of children; they don’t have a good concept of time or how long things take. They lack experience, which is the building block of judgement. Over time they learn basic truths about time, such as the school year is too long and summer is too short;

We adults know better, except when it comes to change. We understand change takes time but we don’t have the patience to see it through. Our five year old self questions how long it will take. We tire of the questions, so we give up.

How we view time is part of the problem. In Western cultures, time is viewed chronologically as a straight line.  It reminds me of a Gantt chart:  we plot our lives from birth to death, with milestones in between.  Other cultures view time as Kairos; things happen at the right or opportune moment. Time is circular, which means no more missed opportunities. Life will present what we need, when we need it.

One of my mentors, James Clear, says that when we decide to change we should not focus on the end result but rather on the process itself. For example, most of us focus on the scale when we attempt to lose weight and can become very disappointed when the scale doesn’t move. Instead, our focus should be on doing the things that will lead to weight loss: tracking what we eat, tracking our exercise, checking in daily with ourselves or others. If we place our focus on what we need to do, we will eventually get the results we desire.

DSCF9242
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

The ancient concept of detachment is one I have been trying to embrace, especially in my writing. In the past, when others did not find what I wrote excellent or inspiring, I would get discouraged. Now, I release my writing and ideas into the world and do my best to let go of how and when they are received. I’m not perfect at this but I strive to be better.

 

 

At five years old, my son (and I am sure myself) were impatient for life’s next great adventure to arrive. At 60, I am more content to take life a little slower and let the adventure unfold on its own. Life will give me what I need, when I need it.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit   

 

all photos are the property of Susan Spaulding and cannot be reproduced without permission.

 

 

 

Reflection

Reflection

It’s been over a year since my last post. In all honesty, I didn’t think I would return. I’m not sure why I stopped blogging, except maybe due to a lack of ideas and an unrealistic expectation that I needed to create something of value. I’m sure part of the reason was life “getting in the way.” Too much to do at work, too little time doing things I enjoyed. I had to pick-and-choose what activities I would spend my limited free time on. Blogging seemed like such a chore. I couldn’t compete with the big boys and girls. I’m too much of a perfectionist and I set myself up to fail.

What is different, you may ask.  I started The Artist Way (re-started is more apt) by Julia Cameron and have been working through the tasks. Things have started to change, slowly and every so delicately. I enrolled in a journaling course that started today. I guess I just feel like writing. Not for anyone else. Just for me.

I’m not sure what I hope to gain. Or maybe I should just say, I hope to gain. I hope to free myself of fear, eradicate my negative thoughts, let go of the things I cannot change. In a nutshell, I hope to sort myself out.  And some of that is going to end up on this page. Fair warning.

I am reminded of Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, a sad reflection on missed opportunity:

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back

1-IMG_0314

 

But here I am.