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Pump the brakes and drive slow

Life on the farm can get pretty hectic, especially during Spring. Last week I worked frantically on the fence in order to be fully prepared when Dick brought us the steers on Saturday. I would start with a full day of work at school, come home, change clothes, work until supper, eat, kiss the kids goodnight, and then go out and work again until 9 pm when the big light in the sky was just too far west to provide enough light for work. It was hectic, and it was exhausting.

This week, it was the Mushroom Inoculation workshop on Monday night, cleaning up the garage on Tuesday night, and the Laconia HS Open House on Wednesday night. Those were all great, but everything was busy, busy, busy! And then came Thursday afternoon...

I plopped myself down in the pasture to spend some time with Dime (left) and Five (right). I realized I hadn't spent any time near them since they came off the trailer on Saturday. Time to slow down, take in the last rays of the day's sunshine, relax a little in the overwhelming beauty of my surroundings. Man, I really do feel blessed.

Recently I listened to a TEDx talk on YouTube by Brene Brown, and she said something that relates to what I'm talking about in this post.

"We stay so busy that the truth of our lives can't catch up."

That was, to me, a powerful statement. This week I had kept myself too busy to appreciate the beauty right outside my door. The steers, the pasture, the sun and clouds and birds and trees... there was all this joy in my soul, and I wasn't even giving myself time to appreciate it.

Our world seems ever faster, ever busier. We distract ourselves with TV, social media, shopping, meetings, sports. Our world is quick sound bytes, 10-second ads, look here, look there... it's all so fast and fleeting, and we rarely take time to look at ourselves, look at our lives, in any deep and meaningful way. The new normal is chronic stress, medication, and anxiety. We've lost our connection with our inner selves. All of these distractions keep our attention at the surface. Are we afraid of what is deep within ourselves? Pain, sadness, loneliness? Inner power? Changes that need to be made? It can be pretty damn scary.

The solution we often settle on is the path of least resistance, avoidance. But that is a dangerous and unfulfilling route. Brene Brown continued on, later saying,

"You cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb the dark emotion, when we numb vulnerability and fear and shame of not being good enough, we by default numb joy."

That's hard to hear, but we owe it to ourselves to periodically cut loose from the hectic rushing and constant distractions. I hadn't had time all week to really, truly appreciate what I have. My mind desperately needed that space to rest and my soul needed that time to ponder my life.

All of us need that quiet, slow space from time to time. Our souls are full of emotions that stay safely tucked away underneath the distracted attention of our consciousness. Whether it's frustration, joy, pain, gratefulness, fear, or relief, we could all use more time and space to reach inside and pull those emotions out. Next time you're feeling too busy and stressed, give yourself some space. Find a way to pump the brakes and drive slow, Homie, and my peace be with you, or come to you, in your time of quiet.

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