Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Simple Tools

Last week Kayla introduced us to the concept of practicing pauses - seizing those little easily-overlooked moments of rest that are sprinkled throughout our busy days. This week I'd like to discuss a few tools that help me (at least) to pause more efficiently, and maybe help you build your own "toolbox" of sorts.

Pausing is not something that I'm naturally inclined to do. Oh, I'll stop and smell the roses - and talk about them, and take a few pictures of them, and bask in their beauty, and consider plucking one but decide against it, and pull out my notebook to write a poem about them... ahem. But that's not really "pausing" - more like "loitering" or "lingering," or some other something that denotes a longer stay. I'm great at lingering. I'm a slow eater (I've improved my childhood average of 2 hours per meal to something considered more reasonable by those around me, but I'm still usually the last one finished). I fill a bath with the hottest water the tap will produce than soak until it goes cold. I'll happily spend an hour filling a single page of my journal, and my preparing-for-worship Sunday morning playlist is over four hours long. My mind works slowly and methodically, and I function best when I have the time and space to ponder.

But pondering isn't really something that I have time for. The point of life's circle that I'm currently on is abuzz with noise and activity, and anytime those two are simultaneously absent, I just want to take a nap. So I've been collecting things that help streamline the time that I do have and keep me prepared for the moments when they come.

Tool #1: a journaling Bible. I would prefer to have my quiet time in the sun on our balcony with a cup of tea, music streaming through my earbuds, a "real" journal, and my Bible. That little ritual (and it is definitely a ritual) takes more time than I usually have at present - but I need to make some sort of note if I'm going to retain any of what I read. The journaling Bible that Adam gave me for our first Valentine's Day together provides me with enough space to jot a few thoughts (more than the margin in a regular Bible) that I can come back to later, when I have more time and more paper.

Tool #2: a simple meal. That may sound odd, but next to a nap and a shower, the thing I covet most right now is a meal eaten at the proper temperature. When I have the leisure to prepare a meal (usually because both Littles are napping), I need it to be quick enough that I will also have time to eat it, but also be satisfying. I keep the supplies for hot cereal stocked in our cabinet - in ten minutes, I can have my cereal, toast, sausage, and a mug of almond milk ready to go, and since eating it doesn't require too much attention, I can usually multitask and read or write while I eat.

Tool #3: prayer. You've probably been told (or told yourself) to "pray without ceasing" and tried (with varying degrees of success) to apply that in your life. I tried to make a habit of praying as I fell asleep at night - sounds good, right? Except that my topics usually centered around requests, concerns, and plans for the next day, and my prayer would devolve into simply worrying and planning. Not constructive, or conducive to helping me sleep. So I shifted my focus - I still pray as I fall asleep, but now I go through the day I've just completed chronologically, thanking God for every detail that I can remember and praying for others as those memories remind me. Gratitude is a much better thing to have on my mind before drifting into dreams, and even with picking up where I left off each time I get up with Tobin, I still haven't ever made it past about 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Tool #4: Hope*ologie. This was founded last April by sisters Emily and Myquillyn and their dad Gary - each month, they post content to help you find hope for your soul, home, and family. There are articles, short videos, printables, journaling exercises, and podcasts - something to redeem any sort of moment. And since they only post new content once a month, I can make it through everything in that amount of time. So far, each month's theme has been surprisingly relevant and it's always uplifting and encouraging. (The site itself has a small membership fee - but their podcast is free on iTunes and I highly recommend it. I recommend Hope*ologie, also, but the podcast if nothing else.)

Tool #5: knitting. Ok, of all of these, this one is the most personal-to-me, but I feel like the principle has greater application. I don't know how much time I'll get when I get a little time, but it's safe to assume that it won't be long - and if I try to read a chapter, write a note, or take a nap and then my moment only ends up lasting 5 minutes, I'm more frustrated than restored. With knitting, every stitch is progress - whether I get 10 stitches or 10 rows before I'm interrupted, I still feel like I accomplished something, and it's an activity that I find relaxing.

Ok, now it's your turn! What simple tools would help you make the most of your moments of rest?

1 comment:

Kayla said...

Great list. I do agree with your knitting concept...slightly altered for myself. :) Craft projects that can be broken down into smaller steps/parts allow you to make progress without necessitating a lament with each interruption are refreshing. Looking forward to the next Pause post!