Archive for the ‘Pace’ Category

#3 – Nothing = Something

As suggested by fellow bloggers SuziCate, Ron and Penny, over the past 120 hours (that’s five consecutive days, round-the-clock), I’ve simply gone with the flow and let life happen.  Except for a scheduled Memorial Day cookout at my house with the in-laws, I made no plans…and just did things as they presented themselves. 

I felt as free as a bird…

IMG_4295Dove.  Not the soap.  Not the ice cream bar.

…and it was glorious! 

I took a 24-mile bike ride, finished a book, hung out with neighbors and friends, went out for ice cream, bathed my cat (she didn’t like it)….and  just a whole bunch of nothing that added up to something big…called me time.

If you haven’t had some you time in a while…or if you are so stressed that it’s almost straight jacket and rubber room time….

Mental Health Sign

…take it as a sign to look at your calendar, block out a few hours, an entire day, or a few days as time for Nothing = Something.

I used to think that doing nothing was simply a waste of time.  I would sit in a state of physical idleness while thinking about the 1,00o other things I could or should be doing instead.  This mental battle between what I was doing (nothing) and what I should be doing (something) was very unsettling.

Then, along came my vow to beat the Feeling of UN.  After five days of me time, I am now a believer in the mental health value of taking time for nothing.

When I look at my calendar, my schedule usually looks packed.  Work, family obligations, housework, lavish parties (okay, I’m dreaming about the parties).  We all wish there was more time in our lives to relax and do nothing.  But, when we get a moment to do absolutely nothing, our minds are on other things or we distract ourselves by watching TV, checking our e-mail, browsing the internet, or doing chores.  We don’t enjoy time spent in nothingness.

Instead of writing a few more paragraphs and compelling you to read them, do this….

Close your eyes for what feels like a full minute…and do nothing.

Did it feel like you wasted your time?

Q: The Quintessential Quest for Quakers

The below picture is NOT of Quakers.  It’s of Amish.   Not the same, but Amish doesn’t start with Q and most Quakers can’t be picked out of a crowd based on their dress.  My bad.  Being original with Q was difficult! 


Here in Pennsylvania, there are many small towns and countryside communities that are populated by Amish.  Tourists and visitors seem to be fascinated by them…and I sort of am, too. 

As many of the comments on yesterday’s post confirmed, we’re living at a time when people are completely overwhelmed with choice.  Combine that with rapidly advancing technology that allows us to have this conversation via blog, yet never see our neighbors face-to-face, and life can seem to wiz by at noisy, swift, disconnected pace.

You might wonder…would a different, more simple lifestyle make me less stressed?… happier?…more appreciative?  Would it put my mind at peace?

The Amish represent simplicity and old-fashioned living.  Their communities are tight, with neighbor helping neighbor.  Family members share the same values, beliefs, and morals.  They don’t worry about the latest fashion trends, gas prices, or whether the Internet is down for maintenance.  Heck, they don’t even have to be concerned about gas prices.

If you’re looking for a simpler, less complicated life, there’s no need to trade in your car for a horse and buggy.  You don’t have to make our own clothes or milk your own cow.  Instead, simply take the time to question the pace of your life.  Is it too fast?   Are your days filled with meaning, or are they just consumed by a bunch of noise?

Is your life moving by at lightening speed?  What can you do to slow things down?

A State of Ignorant Bliss

Do you ever feel like we live in a fast-paced world of digital gluttony?  I do.  Just last week I had a not-so-romantic dinner date with my laptop followed by a dessert course with an iPod Touch.  Then there was the nightcap with Mr. Blackberry.

Sometimes a person simply needs to get away.  To unplug.  To relax.  To tune out.  To leave their electronic gadgets behind.  To experience freedom from the umbilical cord to virtual reality. 

Over this past week I did just that.  Everything with an on/off switch was powered down.  I packed a suitcase and flew to a far away land…


I sat in places like this…

made connections with creatures that I can’t friend on Facebook…

…and experienced life from a completely unconnected perspective. 

When asked how I felt on the last day of the trip, my response was I’m in a state of ignorant bliss.”

If you were born before 1980, then you can probably remember back to when there was no Google…just 14-volume encyclopedia sets and public library card catalogues.   You can remember when there were no 3-D Street Views…just the world outside your window.  You also remember when there wasn’t a constant symphony of buzzes, beeps, and pings going off all around you…just the sound of leaves crunching beneath your footsteps and birds chirping overhead. 

In the world today where we are all so connected, I have to wonder…are we losing the most meaningful connections of all? 

How important is technology in your everyday relationships?  Do you ever feel like escaping from cyber-space?

Summer Spook

Today we turn the page of our calendars to September.  It’s been such a beautiful summer!  Wherever you live, I hope that your summer has been as sun-shiny as mine.  Here in western Pennsylvania, the temps have been HOT, so I was able to mix up my exercise routine the past few months by adding in some swimming.  Not laps.  Laps kill me.  Let’s just call it water aerobics for one. 

Here, the nights are starting to get cooler.  The air is crisper.  The humidity is gone.  Fall is just weeks away.  The last holiday weekend is almost here.  I know it’s only Wednesday, but I’m thinking about the long weekend already.  Do you blame me? 

My family always has a cookout on Labor Day.  So, I went to the store looking for picnic supplies.  Plastic cups, plates, the usual.  I was thinking about a red, white, and blue American theme.  Nice touch, huh

But nooooooo, what I got was nearly attacked in the isle by this


I know the stores need to stock for holidays, but why the rush?  Seeing decorations for a holiday that’s still 8 weeks away gets my mind churning and planning for the next two seasons.  Where are my winter boots?  Did I dry clean my ski jacket last year?  Which family member is on the hook for hosting Thanksgiving dinner?  Aughh!

Needless to say, there wasn’t a single picnic supply to be found in the store.  I went home with a two-foot straw pumpkin for my dining room table.  Good grief.

I tend to think ahead, but only about important things…like, financial planning, career advancement, and personal goals.  Planning far ahead for things that I know can easily be done on short-notice (like holiday decorating) makes my head spin and to-do list overly long. 

What things do you plan for far in advance?  Do you have your Halloween costume selected yet, or your outdoor gear ready for this weekend? 

If you liked this post, you may also like Today’s Attitude.

Hello Monday

I woke up this morning to sunshine, a cat pawing at my pillow, and the realization that it was Monday, meaning…work. 

Ahhh, Monday, that one day of the week that can mean the beginning of a smooth sailing five days or the kind of Manic Monday that The Bangles sang about.  I never liked that song but now it will be stuck in my head all day… ♪♫

Have to catch an early train
Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an air-o-plane
I still couldn’t make it on time…

I only have a 5 minute drive to work, but yes, I’ll admit, I like to sleep in, even on workdays.  I love those “having a sweet dream that no alarm clock dare disrupt” kind of mornings. 

Daily Pondering – Is being late for things just bad time management, or part of who I am?

Do you like to get-up-and-go, or do you take it slow?  How does time management affect your day?

Sleeping In © Francois Etienne Du Plessis