Yesterday, I accompanied Cowgirl's class on a field trip to visit Arbor Day Farm and learn about trees, bees and local ecology. It was ridiculously cold (but thankfully, not raining; still I had to dig out my winter coat, hat and scarf) and we spent most of the day outdoors. The majority of the week has felt like this:
Whenever I could, I turned away from the melee to seek out this:
If I had a message machine embedded in me, you could pull the cord and this is what you would hear:
Slow down people!
Look again ... no, really LOOK!
Pay attention, someone is trying to tell you something!
As kids went tearing through the woods, they missed the woodpecker, the cardinal, the deer tracks with tufts of hair indicating a resting spot. Whenever one slowed long enough for me to point these things out, the response was always "cool!" The desire is there, it's just hidden a barrage of noise, flashing lights, and blurred actions.
As I watched a group of third graders pounding the buttons on the interactive kiosk (hello?! It's not a Nintendo ... ), I found myself remembering Cowgirl as a toddler banging on the keys of a quickly broken and no-longer-musical toy. Same impulse control ... or rather, lack of.
This is what we - and I include myself here - are doing: we are fostering a generation of impatient, inattentive, distracted, insensitive, unimaginative and disconnected children. They are not to blame; they are the product of our distraction, our disconnect from what is valuable: time, space, and permission to just be. Just be, as we are, as this moment presents itself, in tune with our surroundings, alert, attentive, receptive and open.
As we say in Kripalu yoga: Breathe. Relax. Feel. Watch. Allow.
It's not going to be easy, stemming this tide of cultural ADD. It may require some sort of swaddling. My approach is earlier bedtime: time together to cuddle, read, and just unwind.
Just being ... slow, quiet, relaxed, fully present.
Or deeply asleep ... deeply dreaming.
Rest my friends, we all need to slow the heck down!