"A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man's life as in a book."
- Henry David Thoreau
I don't think that we set out to create chaos. Not on purpose, at least.
But if we don't check ourselves from time to time, it is very likely that we will find our own speedometers trying to keep pace with that of a culture whose gait, too often, is sprinting.
The tension to keep moving is palpable and pulsing. It is expected and exalted. Sometimes, it is even alluring and attractive.
But that does not mean that it should be fed.
You feed things that you want to grow.
And so I must constantly decide, what do I want to grow in my life?
I'll tell you, first, what I don't want to grow:
...fear, anger, the need to compare, idleness, bitterness, feelings of superiority, judgment, shallowness, a growing list of accomplishments with nothing but exhaustion and weariness to show for it, ugly words, confusion, clutter, distrust, empty dreams, never following through on things...
But the only way to keep these things from taking root and becoming established is for me to create some breathing space. Some lee-way. Room to move.
And the way to do that is to envelop our times of planned activity with a cocoon of calm.
Just as the white space that surrounds the text on a book's page helps to more clearly frame that which we are reading, so must we give room for our lives to speak.
What a tragedy it would be if, years down the line, I stopped to look back over the story of my life, only to find the text bleeding all over, eclipsing the light from the pages, masking the narrative.
And so, again, I must ask: how then shall we live?
First, we must breathe. Deeply. Breathe in the moments. Actually draw them in. because, just as with wine, are lives "develop flavor and blossom" when allowed to breathe.
Then, we must allow what is happening, right here and right now, to engage, bemuse and fascinate us. This is it. These moments are what make a life. Embrace them. Accept them. Keep them.
And then, we must consciously choose to stop. Whether it is in order to more fully live in the moment...like when the first snowflakes of the season begin to fall as you are walking to the mailbox and you pause, throw your head up to heaven and stick your tongue out in praise...
or whether it is to build a buffer from one activity to the next, make the choice to stop.
Pull the weeds of busyness and harried living from the sacred space of your life and
The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it. ~Author Unknown