Slow down, Take time

“Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath [in the pond], I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and the hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun’s falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been.” — Henry David Thoreau

After several years engaging in a number of committees, volunteer work and social justice causes, I took time off to just be.  My sister’s illness, then losing her reminded me again how short life is and the importance of taking time to appreciate every moment.

Living in a fast-paced, busy world we’re expected to do something constantly.  Otherwise, we’re seen as living frivolously without ambition or purpose.  I’ve been retired for some time now and have the good fortune of slowing down, taking time for simple pleasures like long walks in nature, watching hummingbirds sip flowers, sitting in silence.  When people ask me “what have you been up to?” I say: I’m just enjoying life.

Thoreau lived in the early 1800’s long before our multitasking, action-packed world.  He spent years living alone in the woods captivated by the beauty and simplicity of nature.  These experiences inspired his classic book: Walden.  Today I listened to Mitch Albom’s podcast on the pace of life, a segment he recorded when he interviewed Morrie Schwartz for his book: Tuesdays with Morrie in the mid-90’s. Morrie said that many people get caught in the high speed pace of life and often forget to find meaning in simple things.  His advice: “Take time to see what’s out our own windows.”