The paradox of less

Loved this poem-ling (like a baby poem, duckling-kinda-thing, not even 20 words long but enough to take your breath away) when it crossed my field.

It is a paradox, isn’t it? That when you slow down and stop trying to fit so much in, the things you do make time for are able to expand, take up more space, be enjoyed in their richness and slowness. This is a praise song to hammocks, yes, but also to the unsubscribe button (my summer gift to myself was to unsubscribe from every newsletter I get sent… I can start afresh in the fall… and gift myself a few months where I don’t start the day with an overwhelming amount of content to climb). It is a praise song to one pot cooking or salad as a meal – everything in one big bowl. It is a praise song to owning one coat that you love, one swimsuit that you hang to dry after wearing, to reading one book at a time (which is not my way, as the mountain of books, half-open, beside my bedside table will attest to… but even that is feeling too much, like maybe I could just put them all away and have one book, just one, on the go, and give it all my attention)

I’ve listened to quite a few podcasts this year featuring Dr Daniel Foor, a psychologist based in the Carolinas who practices ancestral medicine. (I’m deeply intrigued by this insights into healing, climate change, racial justice – that it’s manifestations of pain that has been carried and not dealt with, across generations. That the genocide of Indigenous peoples is a repetition of genocides that happened elsewhere, an outgrowth of traumas that weren’t dealt with and came trailing settlers and colonizers and gold-seekers and fur-traders like ghosts. It’s fascinating.) He’s an animist, and I’ve found that this thought experiment, of imagining that every thing is alive, that even the rocks are a kind of People, a being, makes me need less, want less. That when I stand on the rocky beach by the river, and there is an abundance of rocks, and I am trying to decide which one I would like to hold in my hand as I sit here, I am overwhelmed by the variety, by the beauty, by all of it. And it is strangely fulfilling. And I can close the Amazon cart quite easily. All those shiny things suddenly seem plastic and junky. And I just want to linger a while longer with the stones, and ask them if they have any advice about slowing down enough to really understand what’s going on.

The Paradox of Less

Slow down and see

how rich you feel

as each day reveals

millions of moments,

tiny, gorgeous and wild.

Samantha Reynolds

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