I write this from a quaint little coffee shop in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s a muggy day in the city, not a mile from Lake Erie, thick clouds hanging low overhead, the type of weather that’s good for the anxious soul.
This morning, I slept in, no alarm clock, the extra sleep much needed after two days of four o’ clock wake up calls, long flights, and the ballgame last night, the latter being the most enjoyable experience I’ve had in a long, long time.
I go on a run down to the lake, walk along the shore, book and camera in hand. The water calms me, and the waves, softly crashing against the rocks, draw the busyness and overworking and love of hustle out of me.
In the afternoon, I walk down my street to this coffee shop on the corner of Detroit and West 65th. I order a cappuccino, blueberry muffin, and egg and cheese croissant, the lazy comfort food that proclaims, “I’m in no hurry to get anywhere.” And I like that, a lot.
I watch the cars slowly pass by on the street outside the window where I sit, people going to work, to play, to family, or maybe they have no destination at all and are just enjoying the journey (something I’m working on and falling on my face at and then getting up, again and again, lately).
I haven’t checked my email in days. Facebook and Instagram and social media are distant memories. I’m beautifully unaware of the happenings in the world around me, no politics and drama and problems and work and email.
I'm doing the things that make me happy, the things that bring me joy, the things that give me life.
We desperately need these in our lives.
Especially in the craziness of today, where busy is worshiped, and hustle is rewarded. Where resting is for the lazy, and sitting still means you don’t care enough. Where schedules dominate our lives, and efficiency is the currency of our days, and where planning equates to competence, and having life figured out is "success".
We must find out what peace and rest and happy look like in each of our lives.
We must seek those things out, hunt them down until we discover them. And then, we must do them. It's not enough that we simply know them, but we must create the time and space for doing them.
So here's your invitation to go on this journey with me. It's an invitation to try for peace and rest and happy, and most likely fail, but we get back up, again and again and again.
I don't think any of us have nailed this down - I haven't - but I believe we can do it, if we just keep trying.
Not striving, but trying, and being okay with failing.
Resting in the imperfections of the moment, and being okay with the mess that is, because sometimes that's where the magic happens. Letting go of the image of ourselves we have in our head - put there by other people, our delusions, the outside world - and just living in the reality of right now. Finding peace in resting and doing nothing, seeing the beauty in all the small things.
This really is an invitation to slow down.
Slow down, and take it all in.
Stop hustling every minute of every day, and take the time to appreciate the present.
Stop going from destination to destination, and enjoy the journey that you're on right now.
Watch for the little moments that take your breath away, and take them in - it's cliche, I know, but cliche is just okay for right now.
And that's what we're after: right now.
I'd like to have more days like this, maybe a week, or a month, preferably. Days of sleeping in, walking by the lake, and writing in quaint little corner coffee shops.
But maybe, just maybe, I can take this home with me. Bits and pieces of it, at least. I'd take the less stressed, less anxious, more peaceful, more rested parts with me on my journey.
Here's to trying for peace and rest and happy, and falling on your face, and getting back up, again and again and again.
Practical Next Steps
Keep your eyes open for the small things that pass you by every day. Notice them, feel them, take them in. Be present. Stop what you're doing, and just breathe. Don't think about your to-do list, or tomorrow, or work. Just be in the right now.
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