Lazy Sunday Morning
It's one of those lazy Sunday mornings here for me. You know those days – the ones where you've nothing to do except stay in bed, stare out the window or read a book.
Slow is good.
It's better than fast in my opinion although there was a time when it was the other way around.
Don't get me wrong, when I'm in something I've got the juice for I move fast, but there's nothing I'm chasing any more. There's nothing up ahead of me that I'm trying to catch up with – If you follow me.
The day is crispy cold, not a cloud in the sky and the sun is hovering what seems to be only a half a mile over the horizon.
It shines into the corner of our small garden where I placed a tomato plant earlier in the summer. Even though I was late planting it, Ophelia nearly killed it and it's now November, fruit is beginning to ripen.
Nature is remarkably resilient. And steady in its pace.
Cara, my youngest is in the back garden blowing bubbles.
The wonderful smell of streaky rashers I placed under the grill 10 minutes ago is making its way into the room where I'm writing.
This is one of those occasions where I need to move fast or my streaky rashers will be cremated!
Choosing An Easy Paced Life
Which is right? Do we go hammer and tongs after what we want, the stuff, the status, the role, the profession, the business success?
We have the ability to get whatever we want after all, correct?
Or do we take the easy path and just let things happen?
To some the latter may look like an irresponsible, lack lustre approach to life. The way of the lazy ass, good for nothing free-loader who in their laziness should be entitled to nothing.
After all, there's honor in fast paced commercial and societal success, right?
The predominant idea here is that the busier we are the better life is. To be idle is to be unworthy.
We have saying like “if you want something done, ask a busy man”, and “idle hands do the devils work”. Whatever you do you'd better stay busy.
Bigger, wider, taller and faster is better. Greater efficiency is the order of business. Sure, sacrifice a few trees and green space, it's good for the economy and good for jobs.
This idea of bigger is better is difficult to avoid especially for those of us who've grown up inside it, which is the majority of us.
When I stare out the back window of my house on a day like this I can see the advantages of slow. It's totally obvious that this is the way to go.
Fast pace misses too much detail, it robs us of the experience. And besides, all that rushing to get things done simply wears us out and leaves us unfulfilled.
The Purposeful Accident
These days I like moving in the idea that good things can and do happen all the time if we can just relax a bit and learn to enjoy the ride.
I know this idea as The Purposeful Accident.
I've written about it in The Artist's Manifesto. It's about doing things for the sake of it, with purpose, slow when we need to be slow and fast when we need to be fast.
It's a state of mind where we do what we want to do for no other reason that the joy and experience of doing it.
You see, bigger, wider roads that get us there sooner don't allow us that relaxation and space to create great things. There's no stimulation in that. There's no inspiration in that.
We're merely getting there for the sake of it and the experience is lost on us. We might as well lose our eyes and ears, sense of smell and touch.
We've got nothing if we don't have the experience.
Last week I was chatting to songwriter Ray Heffernan on episode 10 of The Larb. We were discussing this concept of Purposeful Accident and he told me it was no accident that he ended up living in a sleepy Italian village.
He seems to live an idyllic life on the shores of lake Orta where he enjoys the peace of rowing and where he shops for his daily requirements on his bicycle.
He has his challenges – professional, financial and personal. Everyone does, but in those challenges there is the slow life where he can work it out.
Many of us live lives where that's not possible. There's too much stimulation and pressure to conform it seems.
The Time To Move Fast
The truth of it is that there will be moments when we need to move fast and there are moments when we need to move slow and finding that balance is key.
My default state these days is slow and steady. When the moment arises that I need to move swiftly, I move swiftly.
Like the moment just before the rashers begin to burn.
It's about timing, and it appears to me that good timing can become almost automatic, if we can learn to trust it.
When I'm cooking in the kitchen you better not get in my way. I'm in the zone, I'm in the flow. I know exactly what needs to be done when it needs to be done and I do it – quickly and efficiently with usually good results.
Cooking is therapy for me.
It's creative and energising but at the same time you'd better not get in my way or I'm liable to bite your head off.
I'm like this when I'm working on something that energises me. Making something, building something, writing, doing my daily work and so on.
I just don't have the headspace to engage with you.
Know what I mean?
I could be apologetic for that but then again I wouldn't be true to myself.
The voice in my head says I'm ignoring my faults. If I see that my behavior in these circumstances causes others difficulty then I should go about changing it.
I say fuck that. Really.
I am who I am and I'm by and large comfortable with that. The only ideal that I need to live up to is my own. There's no outside standard that I need to meet. I'm happy to say no when I feel like it.
I'll move fast when I want to move fast. I'll move slow when I want to move slow.
There's no universal objective reality that I need to conform to any more and that feels like a relief to me. It's a sigh and a wry smile that comes on me these days when moments arise that I recognise from before.
There's no one to satisfy.
There's no standard but my own.
That's how it has to be.