Last Summer I wrote a post about the importance of creating space in our lives, and how slowing down can really enhance one's appreciation for every day activities, like having tea or washing dishes. I'm in the fortunate position of having this week off of work, and so I've really been able to slow down and enjoy the spaces in my life.
As you can see in the picture, the fact that there is still a couple feet of snow on the ground didn't stop me from taking my book and a cup of tea out to the front porch today. The sun was warm, and in my flannel PJs and fuzzy slippers I spent a nice half hour outside, reading, sipping tea, listening to the birds and breathing in the crisp air of early Spring.
After coming back in, I did a little paperwork, made a phone call to the CSA Farm to set up a time to visit them later this week, de-cluttered and dusted my office, watched our two guinea pigs' antics for a while, listened to some music, made supper and finally whipped up some of Chile's famous hot cocoa just before sitting down to blog.
All of these leisurely activities really bring home the many things I have to be grateful for, such as: a job with good benefits, a cozy home, farmers to grow food, the simple aesthetic of having just a few things on a shelf, the unconditional affection of companion animals, the warmth of the sun, the good taste of simple food, and the time to appreciate all of these.
In taking the time to be grateful, I realize how much of a luxury these spaces in between really are. My mind leaps ahead to imagining what could happen if more of us in the Western world saw affluence in these terms - saw it in the spaces in between things, instead of in the things themselves. If we valued the time, the space, more than the stuff, maybe this would balance out better for those in other parts of the world who need a little more stuff, like food, clean water, clothes, medicine and mosquito nets. The balancing out would occur because people who feel gratitude for what they have would be more likely to feel compassion for others. Then, in my imagination at least, they would act accordingly through, for example, charitable giving, volunteering, activism, community-building, or just being neighborly.
A fast pace of life seems to leave room only for consumption and convenience, with little space or time for gratitude or compassion. A slower pace lets us be thankful, appreciative, and giving.
Either that or I'm just rationalizing my half-hour tea time on the porch.