I’m learning that it’s the things that slow us down that are the prayerful things. So much of the time I find myself seeking to be stimulated – shopping, eating, social media, tv, go-go-go. And it’s in those moments where I find myself looking for another hit that I realize I need to step back. I begin to lose myself in the constant movement, and I confuse desire to move with who I really am and what I really need. I need to allow myself the privilege of being bored for a moment.
As I’m folding the laundry, or building a block castle on the floor, the quietness settles in. I remember who I am again. When I wait to eat until I’m hungry, it’s that pause, a moment of stillness that interrupts the compulsion, that brings me back to God. I need to be slowed down often because I tend to gain momentum and speed up without stopping until I crash. I’m not at my best when I live that way. I’m a much better version of myself when I allow myself to be slowed. It’s downright counter cultural to be slow in the midst of all the movement and possibility.
I often have to remind myself that balance doesn’t always feel balanced. When I’m letting myself be slowed, at first it feels boring and it’s easy to think that boredom is the enemy. It’s not. This (good) kind of boredom is the womb for creativity and self-knowledge. Martin Laird writes, “Boredom is God’s way of letting certain fields of the mind lie fallow, fields manured with boredom.” He explains that we must let ourselves be “sifted by boredom” and that “boredom is really a sign that the mind is beginning to assume, as it were, a posture of release and receptivity.” By slowing enough to see the simple sacred things, we let ourselves be sifted; only this way can we move at a sustainable pace and find beauty lurking.