I was already slowing down my pace. Embracing how slow and methodical and meaningful my pace is.
Sitting in another Grand Rapids coffee shop, a year after doing the same thing reading a book on a very similar topic, a few things were finally clicking about me and my ability to do important work when I am really…
…Void of distraction.
…Away from instant messaging pings.
…Distant from hurried busy work that only gets in the way of doing my actual job.
This trip to Grand Rapids, with these realizations hitting me like a ton of soothing bricks, inside a pristine, minimalist designed coffee shop with clean lines and soothing accents all around, was just two months ago.
The book that was doing this to me this time was The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. In the book, a focus emerges about how what we value the most should rise above anything else that is fighting for our time, our energy, or attention.
But it must be a deliberate action of holding those values high. A deliberate fight.
I was there in that coffee shop once again embracing the slow life. The slow pace, where the greatest work is done.
The things clicking I started embracing more were:
- I write all my scholarly and creative work from a place of slowness and tuning out of the world except for the topic I am writing about.
- I make music after listening to tons of music. And the best music ideas come to me in hour 2 of playing, not right from the top.
- Poetry I share comes to me swiftly when I am deliberately slowing down, suspending everything we all get trapped into flooding our minds over.
So only two months ago,
TWO MONTHS AGO,
I began the process once again (as I had started it a year prior), in taking a massive self inventory about what matters more than anything else in my life, removing the rest, and amplifying my highest held values at a pace I work best at.
Removing things that are ‘good’ in order to keep only the great.
Removing even some of the great for the top three greats (if you have more than three greats).
Basically, over the past two months, I was removing things that don’t matter to me as much as the things that are on my ‘great’ list. I was attempting to forcefully remove distractions, negative people, downer perspectives, filler recreations, things I don’t want to spend as much time on as other things, etc.
I was doing this two months ago.
So here we all are. Slowed down.
And that’s not bad.
I invite us all in this moment of time to embrace the slower pace, and not to confuse it with being less productive.
This involves a radical shift in your relationship with time and your capacity to tell really good opportunities no. To tell really good friends no. To tell really good volunteer work no.
This involves focus. Allowing yourself the chance to become obsessive over the only few things you value than all others.
The fact I was engaged in a deep embrace of a slower pace of life prior to our social distancing is something I can’t hoard selfishly. I want to encourage and pass along more as I continue on in this state of self examination, to offer up what I’ve learned.
Which is what writing is all about. It is what it’s always been about for me. Finding solutions to the problems I face, and then sharing it. Giving it as gifts.
We are slowing down and readjusting to what will be several new normals. But this doesn’t mean we are going to abandon every single thing we were carrying around in the back of our heads as the things that we value more than anything but never had the time for. We have it now.
It was a choice previously. Now, it is something you still can choose, but the time is more ready than ever before to do so.
And we can continue to have this opportunity as we reshape a culture that was built on grind and hustle. We can rebuild with a pace the soul was built on, a slow pace focused on our values.
We are too fast now.” – So Long Forgotten, Light is a Metaphor