How often do you just sit or stand and observe? It was something I was forced to do when I became disabled. For a year, I was in a wheelchair. Even now, though I can walk and stand independently (with the help of multiple appartuses), without much balance to steady me, I often find myself sitting or leaning while standing, and observing. It's amazing what you see when you can't run, or walk.
Even prior to becoming disabled, I was always a keen observer. Most writers probably are, as are most scientists. And I'm a little of both.
Though slowing down is often discouraged through socio-political messages, it's important to at least make a real attempt to do so. While work is certainly a factor, maintaining your home, your family, your social life--by making a time and space for observance, you are also making time and space for yourself.
We feel we must schedule every minute of every day. We feel that way because of all the "hypers" in our world. We are hyper-communicative, hyper-competitive, suffer hyper-masculinity, hyper-femininity, hyper-parenting, hyper-egos, hyper-celebrities, hyper-technology, even hyper-reality...in a nutshell, we live in a hyper-world. And all that hyper-ness only adds up to an increased spinning motion. We are literally running in the same circles over and over and over again, but at hyper-speed. And meds aren't the answer--because you will still be running--you'll just feel better about doing it. No, the real answer is observance. Relearning how to sit down and watch--not react, not speak, not tweet, not text, not check your email or voicemail--just watch, listen and of course, think.
It's true that once you master observance, you will learn things you may not be happy knowing, but at least it will provide a truthful context to your life. At least you won't suffer the jarring shock one day--when you are forced to slow down by age or disease--that you unwittingly wasted precious time, precious life. Believe it or not, Malcolm Gladwell's "power of context" is not just about tipping small business ideas into big corporate concepts, it's about tipping your life into something bigger than you currently imagine. But in order for you to do that, you have to stop. Everything. You have to sit down, and do nothing but observe.
Learning the art of observance will change your life. It will provide answers to questions you didn't know you had. It will bring you back to yourself when you may not have even known you were lost. So how do you begin?
Begin with half a weekend-day. Don't make plans. Don't touch your iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, or other personal communication device. Walk away from your computer. Leave the dishes in the sink. Grab a chair--any chair--and plunk yourself down. Do it outside. Look up and watch the clouds. Observe the nature in your vicinity, the people, the comings and goings. Try to do this once a month. And by the way, work is prohibited. Use those six hours to just sit and observe. Don't think of it as a waste of time, think of it as regaining your time. Time is a luxury that most of us take for granted. Real luxury isn't in the material items we buy for ourselves, it's in the gift of time--and not time to squander on things that don't matter--time to observe the world, to watch, to listen, to understand.
Observance...make it a habit. Living life to the fullest isn't about spinning your wheels, it's about living. When you're constantly on the move, that's not living--it's just a distraction. Be brave! Take time to look at your world in ways you are otherwise not permitted to see, to understand, to know.
Until next time, dearest readers....