Monthly Archives: July 2014

Slowing Down to Speed Up

“I don’t want my children’s education to be so fast-paced and so abstract that there is not time to meditate on the fantastical. I do not want them to treat glorious facts as mundane.”
–Leigh Bortins, The Question

I was just meditating today on the concept of slowing down to speed up, and then I got this quote in a Classical Conversations e-mail, validating my thoughts. The slowing down/speeding up concept is that if you stop and think about what is really important to you and just focus on that one thing… or maybe one or two simple goals related to that thing, you’ll soon end up leaps and bounds ahead of where you’d be if you had a checklist of 10-50 things you’re trying to accomplish all at once. It’s so easy to get distracted and over-schedule these days, yet this “busy-ness” is getting us nowhere.

To share a personal example, last year all I really wanted to focus on was home schooling my children well. I just wanted to be a good mom, and a good teacher, and in a good mood, more often than not. Pretty simple conceptually, although all moms know that this is far easier said than done for nearly all of us. As I focused on just this one main goal–whereas I normally have a minimum of 6-7 challenging goals going simultaneously–I started to feel so light and unencumbered. I actually had time to think, and read for pleasure (!), and just sit and enjoy my kids. I was so unaccustomed to these luxuries that I kept feeling guilty or lost at first. I had a sneaking suspicion that I was forgetting something and that my bubble would be burst at any moment. But instead, what happened was that eventually other goals that I had not previously been able to accomplish when I tackled them more directly and distractedly, began to come to fruition as well. Consequently, not only are my kids and I now enjoying home schooling immensely, I am also in my best physical shape in more than a decade, and I have my own business that is actually bringing in money! And those are just two of the bonus goals–there are several other “lesser” goals that would never even have made my top ten list in the past that I am also making progress on.  WOO. HOO.

Slowing down is such an important thing to do. As much as we like to identify ourselves by our occupations or bodies or reputations, we are in fact vibrant, creative spirits that long for beauty and truth and love. In a world that constantly tries to suck the meaning out of everything, we are yearning to make our lives meaningful. For most of us, I’m willing to bet that our dreams are pretty much just sitting there beside us, waiting for us to turn and pick them up, but we’re just flying by, too oblivious to notice. If you think things are moving too fast, or you’re frustrated that you haven’t been able to accomplish things despite putting them on your “list” for years, try slowing down for awhile. Breathe, and assess your values and priorities. And then if you’re really feeling courageous, try organizing your life to actually support those top priorities, at the expense of lesser ones if necessary. I can almost guarantee it won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.

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Truth About Wealth

As a stay-at-home mom for the past two-plus years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time pondering the concept of wealth and assessing my values and desires. Having this time to breathe has been such a tremendous gift and has allowed me to think and reevaluate how I want to live and raise my children. One of the things I’ve come to realize lately is that money is actually one of the poorest measures you can use to determine wealth. Loving relationships are wealth. Health is wealth. Wisdom is wealth. Time is wealth. Creativity is wealth. Money is only wealth to the extent that it is used to support and enhance these other invaluable assets rather than diminish them.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with money. I’ve made many stupid mistakes with my money over the years, which I am now in the process of rectifying, but I’m not overly upset about those things, nor do I resent those who have been wiser and/or better educated than me in the area of money management. I just think that as a society, especially here in America, we place far too much emphasis on making money as a means to success and happiness. Wealth comes from the inside out, but hardly anyone talks about that fact.

To further illustrate my point, in Hebrew, the word for money comes from the root word kacaph (kaf, samech, phe) and means, “to become pale, i.e., (by implication) to pine after; also to fear: have desire, be greedy, long, sore.” Kind of shocking when I first read it. Money causes people to cease from being grateful for what they have and long for more. Money often brings stress and fear. No wonder Scripture says that the love of money is a root of all evil. Loving money will never bring you any satisfaction. Similar to a drug addict, you will never get enough.

Still, this truth does not necessarily mean that money can’t be a useful tool to those who understand how to use it. I am working on this understanding myself. As I said in the beginning of this post, money can be considered wealth when it is used to serve the real assets in your life–your relationships with family and friends, your talents, your health, your time–all of which you must recognize as gifts to be cherished, not prizes which you have earned.

Money should work for you, not the other way around, but that is easier said than done. For the first time in my life I can say without reservation that I am an entrepreneur, and that I am earning money doing what I love and what I’d be doing even if I weren’t getting paid. But, I have fought my heart out to get to this point, and I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. Am I wealthy? Absolutely! Am I “making Arab money” as they say? (No offense to anyone.) No way! I AM happy. I AM hopeful. I am looking forward to sharing more of my journey with you here. I hope you’ll share your lessons learned with me as well. I will always be teachable.

Thanks for reading. Here’s to our wealth!