Monday, August 26, 2013

SLOW DOWN CHALLENGE | DAY 1 : NOTICE

Last Friday I posted a photo on my Facebook page challenging people to pause and look at their world with a childlike reverence. God must have been knocking on the door of my heart to slow the heck down...AGAIN! 

I fall into these ha-I-got-it-under-control moments when I fool myself into believing everything I'm doing is fine. I'm meditating, exercising, praying, reading the word, finding solitude, and using essential oils to reach my idyllic place. 

Then I'm told I'm a monster when I've got writing deadlines. I admit, I get freakish and stressed. Please tell me I'm not the only writer who turns into a beast while in the midst of writing? 

Last week Rylee's constant lament was "GRAMMA! Why do you always have to write?! You need to quit all of that RIGHT NOW!" 

It's my third month writing for the social justice team for The Good Men Project (you can find my latest article here) and I'll admit the added responsibility has disturbed the semi-chaotic flow of my life. But here's the thing, writing is all I've ever wanted to do since I learned how to read and write. 

Writing words, reading words, and constructing words into coherent sentences gives me an acute sense of existence (and purpose). I was a fool to believe the people closest to me would understand. 

When I write I put my entire being into it---blood, sweat, tears, angst, heart, soul, determination---E V E R Y T H I N G. It's impossible for me to bust out an article the way I do a blog post because there's extensive research and fact checking involved. But those closest to me act like I could just pull an article out of my a$$ and voila, written piece completed! I wish! 

Also, I've learned to be close-lipped about it to others because their attitude is "Hey, you agreed to this it's your fault you're busy and overwhelmed." Or, "Oh, so you got suckered into it." 

Of course I had to make adjustments to my life. To make room for my writing I stepped down from church ministry because I felt it was something I had to do. Now, I only book 2 photography sessions per month as opposed to cramming as many sessions as I can on the weekends. I've also been firm with my friends about not having the extra time for socializing because what little free time I have goes to my family. 

Which brings me to the slowing down part...

I catch myself in this pattern often and I need to press pause long enough to notice, really notice, what's in front of me. I miss so many details of my day because of it and THAT, my friends, is a tragedy. 

Call it serendipity or coincidence but today I noticed on my Twitter feed that Jeff Goins was having a Slow Down Challenge.  I scrolled down quickly hoping to ignore it but my heart beat faster. It was time to press the pause button.  

So here I am. 

For today's challenge I walked to the beach on my lunch break which I haven't done in over a year. Summer is almost over and I regularly run/walk during my lunch break but didn't venture farther to enjoy the beach for 10 minutes like I used to. 

I noticed the warm breeze on my face making my skin tingle as I walked down the hill . I noticed the yellow weed flowers growing in the middle of a heap of dirt causing the dingy sidewalk to burst with color. 

When I walked across the sand toward the jetty noticed people laying out trying to savor the last days of summer. (I used to ignore these people because I was in a hurry to get back to work.) While noticing how blue the sky was my eyes caught the lifeguard escaping the heat in the shadow of the lifeguard station. (Again, I never paid attention to the lifeguard station in my previous lunchtime jaunts to the beach.) 

Most of all I noticed the kids running along the jetty with their buckets and makeshift crab catchers made out of twine and plastic forks. (See photo above.) I even made eye contact with one of the kids and smiled at him whereas before I'd be so overprotective of my lunch hour I'd ignore them. 

Day 1 isn't over yet and I plan on noticing what others are overlooking.