Today I am not rushing.  Even as I write this, I feel the old familiar desire to speed up and check things off my “to do” list before I pick the kiddos up from school.  I look around me – the sliding glass door in our kitchen that leads to the backyard has handprints all over it.  I look at the work on my desk to do.  Our Christmas tree lays on our deck.  An elderly family member could use a card.  I have a workshop to finish planning.  The other day, our son looked at the floor of our minivan with clementine peel scraps, crusty pasta curls, “special rocks” collected by our daughter, and said, “Mom, we gotta clean this out.”

But today, I am not rushing.  I am slowing down as I type.  I’m slowing down as I drive.  I’m not rushing my three year old in and out of the car.  I’m not looking around and noticing what’s left undone (ok, sort of!) or out of order.  I’m not filling my time with another commitment or task.

Some things will be left undone.  Some things won’t ever get tended to.  Some dreams and plans and work will take longer (much longer) than years ago.  Maybe the Barefoot Barn shop won’t be up for another few years.  Maybe the book I dream of writing will happen many years from now.  The dishes will stay in the sink a bit longer.  The  Christmas table runner will not get ironed.  We may not even take a family photo before Christmas (and send it out!).

Today I am not rushing.  I am lingering.

Sitting with my daughter and playing with the Nativity playset.  Calling my mom.  Slowing down to save energy for when my son comes home from school. Looking at my husband when he comes home today.  Writing to a few individual people who are on my heart.  Intentionally pausing.

Today I am not rushing.  I am lingering.

I want to get up and check email, go on Facebook, straighten the kitchen, create a workshop for January….I feel the urge to stay busy, but I see how that leads me to being highly distracted by what doesn’t matter.

These little moments lingering in the imperfect, the “undone,” the messy aren’t obstacles.  My two little ones asking for “warm milk in a bottle, please” or “how do you spell…….?” or “mom, will you sleep with me tonight?” aren’t distractions keeping me from getting things done – “real” and “important” things.  They are Gems.  Gems that remind me of what is most important.  Gems that make me exhale, open, and soften.  Gems that turn off the “fight, flight or freeze” and turn on “rest and digest.”  Gems that soothe and heal taunt nerves.

It takes effort.  It takes mindful attention.  Why?  We live in a culture of hurry, worry, and busy.  The greatest addiction of our times is this hurrying.  It keeps our nervous system amped up.  It narrows our attention – we get really myopic in our thinking.  It keeps us believing in a world of scarcity, creating separation and…loneliness.  It takes us further and further away from our hearts and doing what matters most.  With all our fancy apps and gadgets, we are actually LESS efficient.

Many years ago, my mom gave me a book of poetry by Hafiz.  One line has accompanied me on the days when I want to get more done, when I get so serious, when I get so lost in the mistaken belief that I am not doing or being enough: “One regret, dear world, that I am not willing to have when I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough.” 

There will be many things left undone.  Today and in my lifetime. When I remind myself to slow down and not rush, what is most important becomes clearer.  When I choose to linger instead of hurrying, I see all these opportunities in our everyday life to kiss this world.

* Dear readers, I am glad you are here today.  Will you join in me in slowing down?  Can you spend one moment lingering instead of hurrying?  Maybe looking at your partner when you both arrive home for the day, gently touching your son’s cheek, looking at your daughter as she tells you a story, and letting go of “doing it all?”


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