A Slower Pace CHALLENGE…..results

While there seems to be some lurking, Facebook sharing, and post observing, I haven’t seen any comments or emails relating any of y’alls stories about this last weekend’s Amish living. So I am going to assume this is one of those cases where everyone is just waiting for someone to jump in the pool first to test the water — so here goes.

 In the Slower Pace CHALLENGE post, I said I was going to lead by example and go for giving up all three:

  • Television
  • Computer
  • Mobile devices

Well, I can assure you it was not easy but I was successful. I was very surprised how instinctual it was for me to grab my phone first thing when I woke up. Thankfully, I turned off the alarm and remembered my intentions, and then put it down and proceeded to get up out of bed. No reason to scroll through email accounts seeing what came in overnight. No reason to mosey through Facebook posts to see what has transpired in the last 8 hours. No reason to check the weather — all I gotta do is just look outside. Again, it still surprised me how that morning “catch up” habit was so, well…..habitual. On the plus side, I automatically gained 10-20 minutes just by not doing anything with my phone other than turn off the alarm.

While I did not have work to go to, my son and I did have plans to head out on the canoe. Unfortunately, the cloudy, drizzly weather was not conducive to an enjoyable canoe paddle so instead he and I headed in to town for the gun show. And because I did not have any TV, computer, or mobile activity to distract me, I was able to get in my cardio workout, make the bed, and clean our master bedroom all before he even woke up. This also completely threw my wife for a loop because I never make the bed. I attribute my very productive morning to the lack of distractions.

While at the show, my son and I enjoyed time together without the distraction of social media. The only time we used our phones was to text each other our location one time when we separated. My battery was also still above 90% — another unforeseen benefit.

The remainder of Saturday allowed time for a nap, a Chick-Fil-A dinner with friends, and a worship service. Granted, the dinner and worship would still have occurred had I not been Amish and electronics-less, but it was very nice none-the-less.

Sunday, like Saturday, started off with the phone alarm going off. I still had to fight the morning “catch up” habit, but it was much easier to get going. Church was the normal electronics desert, as it should be — no change there. And the rest of Sunday included some grocery shopping, tinkering in the garage, and hanging around as a family.

All in all, for me, the Slower Pace CHALLENGE was a success. Some takeaways:

  • The mobile phone and iPad tendencies were probably the hardest habits to break. When any of us have down time (waiting in line, waiting for someone, generally waiting), the first reaction is to grab for the phone to fill up the dead space.
  • There were a few times during the weekend when I wanted to look something up or access a piece of information. That part of electronics is beneficial. But will that 2 minute Google search turn into a 20 minute Facebook foray? Kinda like the $20 trip to Costco for TP and milk turns into $150.
  • I observed that I felt I had more time available — for my family, to get things done, or just to relax. It would be interesting to run this experiment during a weekday.
  • Coming back to it all — TV, computers, mobile — #1) it didn’t take me long to catch up and #2) I didn’t miss that much. That being said, I might just incorporate some of these findings into my every day life.

So there you go, folks. It’s not too late to comment on your experience.

Or, if you missed out last weekend, run your own A Slower Pace CHALLENGE and see how it changes you. And then drop me a note here.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A Slower Pace weekend…..

Did your weekend contain any Slower Pace activities? Or was it just like your week, except maybe minus job responsibilities? And with today’s face paced world and the noose of technology and communications, your weekend might be just a mirage because there are still on call phones, coverage schedules, and time/location shift work arrangements.

No matter what your weekend is — Saturday/Sunday or a non-traditional weekday cluster — it is important that you take time to recharge. While vacations are the big times to recharge and renew yourself, every weekend should be a time for a “mini-vacation” — time you can take for yourself to replenish the energy you spent over the last week. I encourage you to view weekends with that mindset, and not just as an opportunity to work harder for another boss or project.

I struggle with that same mindset so I have been trying to be more deliberate with my weekend activities. I have a couple of “YES” criteria when someone suggests an activity for the weekend. If the activity includes one of the components below, it has a much higher “YES” factor and will more likely make it onto my calendar.

Is the activity:

  • Outside?

  • Electronics free?

  • Family inclusive?

If any of those are “YES”, there is a likelihood I will be doing it.

Below is a snapshot from this weekend’s activity — canoeing. It met 2 1/2 components on that list — yes, I brought along my phone (for emergency purposes) and yes, I did pull it out to snap some pictures like the one below. But the majority of the time it HAD to be in the waterproof storage on the canoe so that worked out nicely.

CanoeingBallooning

If you cannot tell, that object in the sky in the middle of the picture is a hot air balloon that was landing in the field beside us. Five went by us and one was close enough for us to talk to them.

Canoes and hot air balloons — now THAT is A Slower Pace.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Milestones…..

Today is my son’s birthday. As a family, we are excited to celebrate it. Birthdays, like anniversaries and celebratory dates, are important because they are milestones in our path of life. They are natural spots that allow us to pause and reflect back on certain aspects of our journey. Think of them as “lookout points” on your Slower Pace hiking trail where you should pause, reflect, and look back upon your hike.

Soak in the view.

Catch your breath.

Realize how far you have come.

Enjoy your accomplishments.

lookoutpoint2

 

Why is it that during an actual hike we take advantage of these physical lookout points and scenic spots, but we don’t do the same in our hurried lives?

I encourage you to take a look at your calendar, identify the next milestone in your life, and make plans to pause, reflect, and enjoy the view.

And for my son — Happy Birthday, D! I love you!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Summer slowdown.….

With summer now officially here, it might be good to take advantage of the season and warmer weather and identify some Slower Pace activities for enjoyment and fulfillment. Below are some from my list:

  • buy some Bomb Pops (red, white, and blue popsicles) for the freezer to pull out on a really hot day
  • sit by the pool under the umbrella with a good book
  • take the kids to get some ice cream
  • take a walk outside right after a summer rainstorm
  • sit on the porch and watch the lightning bugs
  • get up early in the morning and just listen to the birds and watch the sun rise
  • take the family to a baseball game
  • lie on one of my wife’s quilts on a clear night and watch the stars

I’m sure y’all have some of your own. Please add them below in your comments.

What’s on your Slower Pace bucket list this summer?

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

The practice of stillness.….

On my drive home last night I listened to a very informative podcast (putting into practice one of my Slower Pace principles of dual use-ing time — to be discussed later in another post). This was a podcast by Michael Hyatt on stillness. He was promoting the practice of stillness — the act of just being still. Not praying, not contemplating, not meditating — just being still.

I know what you are thinking — because I was thinking the some of the same things.

  • I don’t have time for that.
  • That is not productive.
  • I can’t find a location or time of day where I won’t be interrupted.
  • I can’t sit still for more than a few minutes.

But as Michael continued promoting the practice, also admitting he was still a beginner, I was taken back to some times where I had unintentionally engaged in the art of stillness, interestingly most often on vacation. I can remember a time last October sitting on the beach just mesmerized by the waves, the salt air, and the sound of the surf. Another time was at a local camp sitting by the pond, tossing in pebbles, and watching the ripples enlarge outward. Surely you can imagine a time or two when you engaged in the same act of stillness.

Unfortunately for most of us, it is not frequent enough for us to #1) get good at it and #2) realize its full potential.

Over the next week, I want to challenge each of you to engage in the act of stillness for 10 minutes a day. I will do the same and loop back in a blog post. It is my hope that it can be used as another tool in our Slower Pace toolbox.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

 

P.S. – here is the link to Michael Hyatt’s blogpost and podcast – http://michaelhyatt.com/098-how-to-regain-interior-margin-through-the-practice-of-stillness-podcast.html