I was thinking last night that maybe we need to balance our life in thirds. 1/3 for Thinking, 1/3 for Doing and 1/3 for Not Doing. I think so much of our time is spent rushing around that we aren't spending the time to have thoughtful, or heaven forbid profound, thoughts. Even without being too intellectual about it, I think we are missing the time we need to process our own thoughts. We consume media, words, music, sounds, other peoples ideas at a rapid rate without giving ourselves the time to think what we think about it all - we just rush off to the next thing.
If it wasn't for book club I don't know if I, or any other woman, would really spend the time thinking about what we are reading. We just consume books like soda or candy - in they go with no real nourishment.
But it isn't just books it is all the things we do. We rush from one place to another, from one activity to another without really enjoying what we are doing. Just getting to the next thing and then the next thing. This rushing creates an anxiety that is shaking our core.
I remember when my daughter was little and we were rushing to Sunday School. We were late. As usual. I was yelling at her that I hated to be late. She was sitting there small and sad. And I felt terrible. What the hell was I doing rushing to church when I could have had a lovely morning with her and got there when I got there - or not, but there wouldn't have been that moment of pain for me and then for her? It wasn't until years later that I realized that rushing wasn't worth it. And it was she who taught me. We were in line at Walmart and using the automatic check out thing, all of which I hate. The items weren't scanning well and the person behind me was fidgeting. I was getting anxious and she said to just stop and slow down. It didn't matter that there were people behind us we could just do it at our own pace. It was a HUGE aha! moment for me. She was right. The person fidgeting would either wait or change lines. I could go at my own pace and not rush. I could feel ok about it. Life changing.
So, the idea that we could separate our lives into equal parts thinking/contemplating - doing - not doing is really appealing. Think about a life where you think about what you have read, where you actually listen to the radio, where you write about your experiences and reflect on them. What would that life look like? I'm not sure, but it is getting more and more interesting to me.
(Note, yes I know these are white, middle American problems. No need to remind me.)