The Art of Slowing: Not Just on Vacation

November 18, 2010

Lately I have been practicing slowing.

Let me explain.  You may have noticed my absence from this blog for a couple of weeks.  It was an accident, to be honest.  I planned on doing a blog entry before my Caribbean vacation.  But before I left, things were just so crazy and busy, both in my personal and work life.  I cried out, “I need a vacation!” countless times that week.

Well, I got my wish.  Blessedly, the time had finally come for my vacation.  7 days on a Caribbean cruise with 35 friends.  Seriously.  No email, no phone — completely cut off from everything.  It was GLORIOUS!  And just what I needed.  I read books, I painted, I ate, I explored, I relaxed, I marveled, I enjoyed life.

I came to realize that my life is so full of activities.  I’m always rushing from one thing to the next.  I rush to work. I rush around at work. I rush home from work so I can rush to another event.  Then maybe I rush from that event to a different one.  And then I rush home and try to turn my brain off with mindless television so I can fall asleep and continue the cycle the next day.  Last week, I didn’t carry a cell phone.  I didn’t wear a watch.  Of course, this isn’t exactly practical for everyday life.  But still, I recognize how much my life is ruled by a clock.

So what is this “slowing” business, you may be wondering?  John Ortberg talks about it in a chapter of his fantastic book about spiritual disciplines The Life You’ve Always Wanted.  (Go read it right now if you haven’t already.)  Ortberg talks about hurry sickness.  We are haunted by the fear that there are not enough hours in the day to do all we need to do.  We are stressed any time we have to wait.  So maybe I don’t need to say yes to every activity.  I want more time to do things in my life that I actually enjoy and to invest time in the people I love.  Perhaps I don’t need to check my cell phone and email constantly.  Maybe I can just enjoy the briskness in the air of the changing seasons, a good book, and a pumpkin spice latte.  Simple things.

I believe I was made to glorify God.  How can I glorify the Lord if I am not enjoying life?  The Lord put me on this earth with the beauty of creation and the opportunity to know others.  I wanted to take advantage of all I am given.  Not just on vacation.

What do you do to practice “slowing”?


One Response to “The Art of Slowing: Not Just on Vacation”

  1. I am working on this myself. It is crucial that we learn to slow down and take life at a slower pace, even if that means saying No to some things, activities or people. Your body can only handle that pace for so long, eventually, you will burn out. I did.

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