I wrote the following post four years ago. The issues outlined in it are still a struggle, but we can only change what we name, right? Right. So, here it is again, slightly modified to fit the present.
I spend too much time looking at screens.
I have decided this before, but it screens have proved very persistent at creeping back into the limelight. They have become a central part of my days, and I am realizing that my balance is off. I have been crafting my definition of what “simple living” means to me for a long time now. But even with a mindset that is pretty solidly committed to principals of simplicity or “enough but not too much”, it still seems like screens have been taking center stage. I need to figure out how much screen time is enough, but not too much.
Generally, when I think about living simply, my list includes the following:
- I am spending time outside.
- I am remaining truly present with people when in their company.
- I am doing things slowly and with intention.
- I am being fully present in each moment
- I am practicing authenticity. This means I am eating real food (that preferably doesn’t have a bar-code), I am being active because I enjoy the activity (Hiking. Yoga. Planting things.) or because it accomplishes a task (Weeding. Picking rocks out of the field. Hauling wood.) and I am putting real energy into relationships (With the neighbors. With dear friends who live states away. With family members.)
- I feel alive.
Continue reading “Screen Time, Take Two”
I really wanted to wear a green dress for my wedding. I found one in the sundress section of a catalogue shortly after we set the date, (September 8, 2007) and I was determined to be different. It was from a catalogue because I don’t care for shopping in any form, and wearing green seemed like a fun way make a statement. To be contrarian. To be different from America’s typical run of the mill wedding detail. To damn the wedding culture man, as it were. A way to make sure people understood I was doing it my way. Etcetera.
The green dress was a no-go. My mom and I visited a few wedding dress shops, and I ended up getting a white one instead, still simple, still from a catalogue. But it was white, and from the “wedding dress” section.
I also wanted Nick and I to say our vows in a field down by the Big Sioux River. I love nature, the prairie, feeling the wind on my face, looking at the sky. I wanted to step into marriage on my own terms, and at the time, one of the ideas that made me feel like things were on my terms was having the wedding in a field of prairie grass down by the river. We didn’t do that either, and thinking back I’m not sure I ever actually suggested this idea out loud. The ceremony was held in the church I grew up attending, with my future father in law presiding. So, at the end of the day, I wore the white dress and had the church wedding. And I’m glad I did, because my wedding wasn’t just about what I, the bride, wanted at that point in my young adulthood. It was about grafting a new branch onto the family tree. It was about public commitment to a new way of being in partnership with another human. And it was a commitment to a new way of being in relationship with a new group of people – an extended family. Continue reading “On Family”
Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed. Candor and clarity go a long way in fertilizing the soil, but in the end there is always a degree of unpredictability in the climate of communication — even the warmest intention can be met with frost. Yet something impels us to hold these possibilities in both hands and go on surrendering to the beauty and terror of conversation, that ancient and abiding human gift. And the most magical thing, the most sacred thing, is that whichever the outcome, we end up having transformed one another in this vulnerable-making process of speaking and listening. ~ Maria Popova
Continue reading “The Magic of Real Communication”