On life and work and restlessness

IMG_0125.JPG (3)I’m on a 28-day exploration of a different way to work. My husband and I have dreamt about this since reading the daily schedule of theologian, writer, and professor, CS Lewis. Running the daily operations of a growing technology company, along with heavy travel demands makes it seem impossible for much of the year. But for #28daysinMexico we are giving it a shot.

Here’s the skinny. It works.

We’re working less hours per day. Relaxing more. Sleeping a full 8 hours. And finding clear minds, higher productivity, and creativity are the result.

Something unexpected that is unique to me in our little group of three (our oldest daughter is along) is a feeling of restlessness I’ve had on a least a couple of days. As best as I can figure – it’s a lack of a certain kind of stimulation that may be addictive for my brain, but not good for my soul. What’s missing here? We have the dogs. Internet. Music. Restaurants. There’s plenty of people around – we’re not sitting in isolation.

This was our discussion at breakfast today. (Which in and of itself is a change from the usual. We set the table, cut up fruit, make coffee and then sit a spell. My brain is usually churning early and I love morning conversation – but at home, the stress and pressure of the day starts hitting my husband around 7:30 am and he’s out the door to get an early start on the day.)

So, what’s missing? I want to call it white noise. The constant stream of chatter about nothing coming from the airwaves and internet that seems unescapable. Billboards, magazines, radio ads. Something is always there fighting for my attention. Or screaming, as it sometimes seems.

Take the big deal this week of a ‘tv star’ who made an anti-gay comment. This isn’t really news, in any sense. From here in Mexico – I saw comments on my news feeds but can close a window and be done with it.

At home – watch a little sitcom to relax, and it’s going to find its way there on a commercial for the news later. Turn on satellite radio on the way to work and the morning commentators will drill it to death.  Watch some news commentary hoping for something real but it will be there too. Go out to eat and you’ll find televisions there too – and you’ll see his face again. For days.

It’s exhausting for the brain. Next week – it will be something new.

Sigh. Why can’t we sit at the local coffee shop or bar and discuss the events of the day – and then leave it alone? I don’t have a better word for this stream of nothing than white noise – but I know when you leave it behind (part of the reason I love to fly in airplanes) – everything seems quiet, and finally – there’s time for real thoughts to form.

Hmmm. This is food for thought. Everyone who knows me well knows I love the news. Social media (most of the time). And a great discussion about what’s happening right now. But what I’m finding out here – as we turn much of it off – is too much is brain-numbing food that stifles the real stuff.

Yesterday in my neighborhood at home there was a big snafu over an HOA takeover. Because the dues are too high. In a highly desirable place to live with clean parks, fresh;y mown grass and community gardens. It’s as though we expend so much energy on what doesn’t matter, we can’t even see what really does. I tried to translate that to where I was sitting – and it just didn’t work.

It may not be fair to compare the fairly magical town of San Miguel De Allende with the town of Gilbert, which is a great place to live – but I still walk along six lane busy streets and have to drive nearly everywhere.  Yet I want to bring some of this back with me.

Sensibility. Sanity. Turning the volume down at least – or knowing when to change the channel.

And if there’s some restlessness along with it – maybe I’ll just let it be.

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