I went to a really amazing retreat this weekend. I left my laptop and blackberry behind. I sat in conversation with some friends, some strangers and really listened with my whole attention. I felt completely and totally liberated from multi-tasking, news aggregation and analysis, and argumentation. It was like the volume on life was turned down for a couple of days. In that quiet, the question that kept bubbling up for me was:
Why do we have to move so fast all the time?
Being a blogger, particularly being charged with blogging the day after this retreat, proves challenging with this question still echoing around inside of my mind. I know there are urgent issues in the world that demand vigilant and speedy attention and action. I know that I am part of the world, and thus, have some duty to integrate myself into its pace. And on the other hand, I’m pretty convinced that I’m actually lessening the impact of my thought and action by doing it as such a clip most of the time. I would like to offer the world less, more cooked thoughts and analysis. I would like to think more strategically about the best uses of my energy before spending it willy nilly. I would like to appreciate my fellow travelers more fully by being present with them and really listening to their ideas about feminism and revolution. Thomas Merton has my number:
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence….The frenzy of the activist neutralizes her work for peace. It destroys her own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of her own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
So consider this a non-post, post. Consider it an invitation to slow down for a moment or two, take a walk around the block, sit still, turn off the news, have a little respite to consider why you move so fast all the time and whether it is really serving the causes and the people you believe in.