Inspiration comes from unlikely places, and at just the right time. Several months ago, my mother gave me a clipping from Spirit, the magazine of Southwest Airlines. I tucked it away and just re-discovered it. The article is called "Not So Fast" and appeared in the April 2013 issue.
Here's the teaser paragraph:
Push notifications, pinging smartphones, and pressing deadlines. If you think it's time to slow things down, you're not the only one.
The author (David Hochman) came up with a handy acronym, SLOW, to help guide his attempt to decelerate his life. As you can imagine, there's a Sabbath sensibility to the whole thing:
S = savor. Instead of viewing time as a commodity, or as a container to cram full of as much activity as possible, Hochman invites us to enjoy the passage of time, to breathe through the moment, to notice what's going on---even if what's going on is hectic or even stressful. A level of thoughtful awareness can work wonders on even the busiest day.
L = listen to your inner clock. This relates to what I've written before about puttering as a Sabbath activity. Yes, we are sometimes at the mercy of someone else's timeframe. Other times we put pressures on ourselves when we don't really have to. We need stretches of time in which we are free to be guided by the Spirit, however we understand Spirit. My girls are in swim practice until 10:00 each morning, followed by day camp (which actually starts at 8:30). I often find myself goading them into hurrying to shower and change so we can get there as soon as possible. I finally realized---they're already late. What difference does it make if they show up at 10:20 or 10:30? My inner clock was totally out of whack.
O = others before technology. Hochman writes, "No texting under the dinner table, no checking email at night or before breakfast, no TV when we could be talking, and, horror of horrors, no Facebook or Twitter, period. Those time-sucks were draining more precious than I cared to admit." I try (with varying success) to set aside "sacred spaces" that are smartphone-free, even though I wonder about the breakfast table. (Check out Ted's comment on that post, that talks about "process priority" as it relates to people and phones. Good stuff there. Uncle Ted is always right.)
W = will it matter a year from now? A wonderful question that provides a reality check for all manner of thing. Peter Mayer, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, talks about cultivating a "million year mind." Oh how I struggle with this! More like monkey-mind. Thinking about a year from now is a good start. So much of the stuff we get het up about just... doesn't... matter.
How are you livin' S.L.O.W. right now?