In the last blog, I wrote about feeling lost in your own world and the idea of being disillusioned. When you are lost, be it in the woods or a new city, in your own mind or world, the first rule of survival is to calm down and get re-oriented, gain a lay of the land, and then begin your trek back to where you belong.
Our way there and back again began with learning what our family calls the art of slow. The first and best thing we did was slow down and truly live in the now. According to Laurence Gonzales, to be here now is the first rule of life. For the purposes of clarity, "Be here now" is not about geographical location but about mental presence in life circumstances and surroundings. Practicing the art of slow was our way of intentionally altering life practices to purposefully slow us down, so that we could, in fact and in presence, "Be here now."
The values of our culture are the self, speed and "tomorrow".
Self prioritizes notoriety and fame, often at the expense of others and for the glory of the individual. Those who believe the lie of the self will never know the value of you nor the value of now. Instead, they accept the deception that their worth and value are self-contained. The Bible, in the book of Romans, speaks to this.
In this way, we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around...Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of the body. (Romans 12:4-8, MSG)
Speed demands that we become someone we are not to achieve the glory of self at the expense of the now. In the name of speed, we exchange deep relationships for vast networks; we trade deep, healthy and textured lives for platforms. While I'm not decrying a public platform or networks, for these to be valuable they must be the result of healthy relationships and lives. When platforms and networks are merely for the sake of fame and achievement, they take precedence in our lives and belittle our humanity.
"Tomorrow" bypasses the ordinary joys of today in the hopes that tomorrow will be extraordinary. Tomorrow lives with the conviction that you will wake up tomorrow morning, next year and the next decade with a "better" life. The problem with living in tomorrow is that tomorrow is always tomorrow; it is never now. A few years ago, I helped teach through the book of Ecclesiastes. At the end of that book, there exists the call to tell a better story with the ordinary lives we already live. This call fuels our journey today. The idea that we need to be somebody more than we are and somewhere that we are not is poison. You are somebody and you live somewhere. The same is true for all of us. Live in that. A wise teacher once said, "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself." And Jesus wasn't the only one who knew this truth.
Life is what happens while you are busy making plans. - John Lennon
The art of slow is counterintuitive to the values of the self, speed and "tomorrow". By committing to the art of slow, we are made more human. The addictive practices of culture stand in the way of authenticity. It is not wasted irony that the pursuit of self, speed and "tomorrow" are purposed towards a better life. Similar to any addiction, the promises it makes are lies.
If the drugs are self, speed and "tomorrow", then the art of slow is the detox.