Well, it happens in any experiment.
The second half of April and most of May has been a slow living failure.
Ups and Downs
Life isn’t simple or linear. And that’s not to say that there haven’t been successes, or realizations in the last thirty days. But if I’m being honest I’ve been far too scattered and not nearly intentional enough.
Partly I think I didn’t have enough specific challenge this month. I wasn’t really concentrating on one thing and so I ended up being intentional about nothing. My planning broke down, I didn’t use my #Balance4Life sheet even once. Which means I didn’t get to yoga, I didn’t set aside time for prayer or meditation.
Mostly my calendar ran my days. And there’s lots of reasons for that, some of them totally valid. We had a sick puppy, I have just started as vicar (priest in charge) of a new religious community, we have been finishing up what could be called the remodel from hell. In other words: life happened.
Still, the month wasn’t a total loss because that is also life. I pulled out my paints and made myself some gorgeous reusable grocery bags out of plain canvas totes. (Yay creativity!) I got good sleep. I went off on a four day retreat that was restorative and good.
And I realized how deep some of the problems this experiment was meant to combat actually run. Slow fashion has been part of my slow living challenge, to buy and wear clothing that is both sustainable and ethically sourced and made. But one day I was just looking for some t-shirts. Plain simple summer clothing. And I found myself in a fairly well known discount store looking through their racks and racks of tops for simple summer things.
Do you know that I found only one shirt in the whole store that wasn’t made of plastic? Just one. I have made a promise to myself to buy nothing but natural fabrics because the damage synthetic (read plastic) fabrics are doing to marine life. (Those little plastic threads that we call polyester for example never go away and fill the bellies of tiny marine life until they starve to death.) In that whole store there was one t-shirt (by Ralph Lauren) that was 100% cotton.
It’s About More than Me
This experiment has always been about more than me, it’s been about trying to find out ways to live ethically as a spiritual person. And this month showed me just how hard that is. And not just because we fill our time with unnecessary tasks, or are too busy, or too undisciplined. We’re fighting an uphill battle against a whole economic engine that desperately wants us not to change. But we have to change. If human beings are going to learn to live gently on the Earth it has to be possible to find a bloody 100% cotton t-shirt without spending 40 minute picking through racks of plastic clothing.
So for June I want to be more intentional about my slow living challenge. I want to concentrate on the basics and a balance between them: work, play, prayer, study. Monastics learned long ago that you’ve got to have all of those things in your life. Since January I have been slogging. In pretty much every way. I’ve barely picked up a book that wasn’t some sort of research, the dogs and I have gone to the park once. I’ve found myself working on articles and resources for this site even after dinner!
Nope. It’s summer.
So for June there is going to be a much bigger emphasis on play to balance out all the work. No work of any sort after dinner. Naps are encouraged. Playing in the garden is a totally OK thing to do on a sunny morning. The things that must get done will get done, I trust that. And the rest of it can wait.
But I also want your help. This summer I’d like to concentrate on content you want to see. What questions do you have? What struggles? Send them my way, I’d love to feature exactly what you want to see this summer.