Over the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on everything that is going on right now in the world. Reflecting on this new “normal” that has no end in sight (although I know it is coming!). I will admit, in the beginning, it was difficult. I found the uncertainty of it all a bit overwhelming. I wanted an end date to jot down in my planner that I could hurry up and get to.
I knew this mindset wasn’t one that I could sustain. I instead looked for all the opportunities in this unsavory situation (re: No Mistakes!). At first, I decided to fill my time with more things – more reading, more tangling, more baking, more projects. I vowed to "catch up" on everything that I didn't have "enough time" for previously. After a while though, I realized I didn’t need to fill every minute of every day with an activity. As my husband and I settled in to our new “routine,” I started to slow down quite a bit. The more I slowed down, the calmer I became. I found that all along it was not more time that I needed, it was less tasks and commitments.
Have you ever been rushed to finish a Zentangle tile? Maybe you were in a class that wasn’t quite long enough, or you thought you had more time when you sat down to tangle and all of a sudden you need to run an errand or be somewhere. When you are rushing through a tile, you miss some of the small parts of your practice that really make it whole. When you were finished, how did you feel? Were your strokes deliberate? Did you stop to breathe? To appreciate? Are you calm and relaxed or rushing on to the next thing?
During this time when I have been given the opportunity to slow down, I have pondered what I will take away from all of this. What will my new “normal” be when everything goes back to “normal.” I was collecting my thoughts to write a blog centered about the bijouism “Slow Down,” when I realized I already wrote about that last November. I realized though that I’ve learned a lot about slowing down since then. I’ve learned that slowing down has less to do with time and more to do with capacity.
When faced with more time, you don’t necessarily have to fill it with more things. Whether you have 20 minutes to tangle or two hours to tangle, your tile is still only a 3.5” inch square piece of paper. Instead, take the time to enjoy each deliberate stroke. To breathe. To appreciate. To enjoy the shading, to fill your tile with just the right amount of tangles to leave you calm, relaxed and centered.
A few days ago, we had a warm(ish) spring day with lots of sunshine. In the midst of all I wanted to get done that day, I said to myself “Oh! I have the time to go do some yoga outside.” I grabbed my mat and headed to my back deck. I rolled it out and began my practice. It was only a minute or two though before I found myself laying back on my mat, sun shining in my face, completely still for about 15 minutes. I listened to the bird’s chirp and the ducks swim in the reservoir that meets my yard. I noticed how quiet the sky was. I love near a small regional airport and the flight path goes directly over my house. I don’t tend to notice the planes anymore, but that day I noticed they weren’t there.
What I realized in that moment, and what I will take away from this entire experience, is that although I had the time to do yoga and I enjoy doing yoga, in that moment I didn’t have the capacity to do yoga. We often say that leaving some blank spaces on your tile actually makes it complete. Just because the space is there, does not mean we have to fill it.
Whether you are tangling or baking to cleaning, or simply laying in the sunshine, remember the wise words of Bijou – Slow down, appreciate, deliberate strokes, enjoy the shade (or sunshine)…
--- + ---
Thank you to everyone who commented on Anu Singh's family tree blog. We have randomly selected Kim G. to receive a new "No Mistakes" tool pouch!
We also randomly selected 4 more commenters from Rick's blog, Passion Gratitude and Family, to receive a print of the stained glass window:
- Christine Kortbein
- Ginger White
- Kim Kohler
If you see your name above, please send your snail mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org