These past weeks have been a blur of frisbee tournaments, music shows, prom, graduation, teenage schedules and emotion. In between have been my attempts to slow down, notice, come back to center. I have been struck by the Herculean effort it has required of me to honor what matters most in the midst of an overwhelming schedule and pace.
This speaks to a common malady of our times; too much going on. Too busy. We rush and we chase. We slide into home just in the nick of time. We overload our schedules with have to’s and couldn’t possibly not do’s. Some of what fills our time we argue is a requirement of living. Maybe. And some of it is driven by the fear of missing out on something and the anxiety of not doing enough. And then of course is the sea we are swimming in, for all around us we are encouraged and often required to be overloaded by our places of work and the institutions we are associated with. We are in a pickle of our own making. And in this marinade we are letting go of what matters most.
In the flurry of these past weeks, I have noticed some things I was “forced” to let go of. I see that when I am already overwhelmed, something as insignificant as ants showing up in my kitchen makes me feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown at the thought of having one more thing to do. I see that precious food gets lost in my refrigerator, going to waste and putting me in violation of things I hold dear. I see myself shoving and throwing things into the basement, creating a big mess and losing track of resources which means that I wind up buying things I do not need. I see my body holding more tension and sleeping less well. I see myself eating on the go and eating foods that do not nourish me. I see myself buying take-out and convenience foods adding to the destruction of the earth and our good health. I see a pile of creative ideas shoved into a closet along with homemade medicinals; both left untended on a shelf. I see myself less tuned in to the subtleties of my own rhythms and the energies of those around me. And I see how the things that support a good life become dogged have-to’s and inconveniences.
We are moving too fast and doing too much, and every one of our speedy choices sets off a chain reaction of events. A rippling effect that moves out of the center of every choice we make. In our overwhelm, we lose track of what we truly value and what makes for a good life. Do you have any idea whether your stated values are in line with how you are living? Do you have a way of catching up with yourself? Something that helps you to know? Without these practices we are at the mercy and tyranny of a world gone mad with ever increasing speed and never ending lists of things to do.