It’s been quiet here.
Well, it’s been quiet here on the blog. In my life it’s been a cacophony of power tools, packing tape, and less than happy children. We recently made it through the all-hands-on-deck phase of getting our home finished and everything moved. I’ve been grouting, caulking, sanding, and painting. Packing and unpacking. All important and very necessary —- but that meant no time for running or writing. Two of my favorite outlets. When I’m too busy for those two, I usually find myself with a one-way ticket on the express train to Crazy Town.
I wanted to slow down. But this wasn’t a time for slowing down. It was a time for getting a house done and our family settled, and deadlines were looming.
Like I said, it was all hands on deck.
Put your head down. Get the work done.
We all have those seasons right?
In these seasons, the title of my friend Shawn Fink’s book, Savoring Slow*, sounds simultaneously alluring and impossible. In these head-down-work-done seasons it was tempting to think that the habits she outlines are habits I would just have to work on getting to “later”. (*affiliate link)
Take the first habit, for example. Wake Up.
Waking up wasn’t my problem. My husband and I went through a few weeks of essentially doing shiftwork to get projects done on the house. We would tuck boys into bed and I would try to catch up on things like laundry or packing, and he would head over to the house and work into the wee morning hours. Then shortly after he crawled into bed, I’d climb out and head over to work on the house as the early summer sun was just coming up, trying to get as much done as I could before the boys woke up and my husband’s work day started.
I wasn’t exactly thinking about how I could wake up. I was thinking about how I could get some sleep.
But the principles in Savoring Slow aren’t for that ever-distant “later” that we’re all waiting for. That day when the stars align, our calendars are empty, and we spend hours on end doing yoga and journaling. Savoring Slow starts now. Even when — no, especially when — life feels too busy.
The principle of Waking Up isn’t necessarily about sliding out of bed an hour earlier for your solo time and morning routine. That’s certainly a practice Shawn endorses, but it isn’t the crux of what Waking Up is all about.
When Shawn writes about Waking Up, she’s sharing the importance of being fully awake to the life around you. Being fully present. Being awed and inspired. In fact, she refers to it as being “Awesomely Awake”, and points out that when we crave a slower pace, it’s this presence and awareness we’re looking for.
In her book, Shawn writes:
- “Paying attention and being in the moment is really the only way I know how to slow time.”
- “It’s about devoting our full presence to the mundane and the common, and trying to crack open the beauty of it so we can remember it forever.”
- “When you find yourself drifting away and feeling more distracted, stop and remind yourself to wake up and notice the beauty.”
- “May you notice that life is right here, this moment and no other.”
Working with Shawn and learning about her philosophies saved my sanity in this crazy patch of life. She helped me to realize that while this season I was in was taxing, it wasn’t going to last forever. At the same time, however, that was no excuse for postponing slow habits for “later”.
I needed them now more than ever.
Maybe there wasn’t time for running or writing, I couldn’t find the hourlong blocks for these outlets that I would like. But there is always time to be Awesomely Awake. Instead of waiting for “later”, all the while compounding my frustration, I learned to breath in recharging opportunities in the moment. Even in the mundane.
I learned to take an extra five minutes after dropping the big boys at school to take the long way home with my little guy and drink in the beauty of the day with a few extra deep breaths. Five minutes. I could find five minutes.
I learned to pause and really soak in the soft sunlight as it broke through the skyline in the early morning hours. Even if I did it while caulking trim or scrubbing tile. I could find that moment.
I learned to smile and really feel joy while snuggling with my boys at night, rather than spend that moment worrying about the to-do list I would have to tackle once I turned off their light. I could take back that moment.
I learned that “later” will be better and “later” will be slower. But that I couldn’t wait for “later”. I could start to savor slow right then. Right when life felt the busiest.
Because that’s when I needed it most.
Savoring Slow is a mindset. It’s about choices and changes as well, of course, but it isn’t a perfect lifestyle for those who have already arrived at “later”. It’s for the people who feel too busy for it.
It’s for the people who are ready to Wake Up and experience life more fully in every season of life.
In the past week or so I’ve felt the pace begin to slow back down. I’m finally writing today, and I’ve even found time lately to get some runs in. Even then, Shawn’s guidance to Wake Up helped me get more out of those moments than I did before.
Because Savoring Slow is always just right for wherever your right now is.
Read more from bloggers who are learning to Savor Slow by checking out Shawn’s book tour here. And be sure to pick up your copy of Shawn’s book in paperback or on your favorite device with this affiliate link:
The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow: Simplify, Embrace the Chaos and Discover an Abundance of Time at Home