03/16/2017

Finding Peace

Meditation Mount in Ojai, California

It’s been over 3 months since I’ve made use of any sort of social media platform.  That sentence is the first thought I’ve given it since I decided to give it up.  It’s strange to think that a year ago this Lent, giving up social media was a real struggle for me, I was addicted.  It makes me wonder, how did I have time for the mindless scrolling, the carefully curated posting, the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality? I’m not sure.

What I know is that this was just one of many stepping stones on the journey to create more space in my life – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I ponder what my grandfather’s generation might have been like at my age, would they have been as addicted to productivity as I have been? Would they feel guilty for not having every second of every day scheduled and executed to perfection?

I imagine before the Age of Technology, life was a lot more simple.  You wrote letters and waited for a response. You went to work, had a lunch break, and came home at the end of the day, thankful to have a job and to be able to put food on the table. You knew your neighbors and helped them when you could. You appreciated and cared for the people close to you. You didn’t have many friends, but you had a few really good friends. There was a lot of empty space, a lot of “boredom” as our generation would call it, but “doing nothing” might have been called “keeping holy the Sabbath” or “enjoying life.” A less than perfectly done job might have meant a job done well enough. I imagine a gentle rhythm to life: rising with the sun and going to bed with the moon, a peaceful image that contrasts my reality: rising with an offensively loud iPhone alarm and going to bed with Instagram.

The question I’ve been asking myself is: Can I create this idyllic life?

Is it even possible?  Can I really leave my iPhone at home tonight? What if something happens and I need it?

My curiosity along with something deep in my soul keeps drawing me to reconnect with myself, with nature, and with the small things: taking the long way home (even when I’m impatient and just. wanna. get.. HOME!), cutting back on my social commitments (even if I feel unpopular or antisocial), getting enough rest, being okay with a more open schedule… all centered around the theme: stop rushing from one thing to the next. Slow down. Breathe.

Maybe it’s okay to press pause in a fast forward world.

Maybe feeling peaceful doesn’t equate to laziness.

Maybe stepping back from being highly productive is the path to a deep, soul nourishing contentment.

Whatever it is that you are clinging to most tightly, whether it’s feeling like you need to achieve great success, work the longest hours, have the perfect home, wear the trendiest clothes: release it. Hold it in your palm, openly, rather than in a closed white-knuckled fist. What’s weighing you down? What can you let go of today?

Allow yourself permission not to get so tangled up in the web of “shoulds” and the unnecessary pressure on yourself to perform.

And watch your life take flight.

 

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.

~ Saint Francis de Sales

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