The Slowing of the Fast


It is Monday. I’m gathering up the pieces of paper from my purse and around the house. To keep a record of my Media Fast this weekend, from 5 pm Friday night to 5pm Sunday night. I had to write, as with a pen, down my thoughts. Huh.

I realized, somewhere along the line, that because daylight savings time was beginning, I’d need to extend to 6pm to honor my original commitment. So, for 48 hours, I stayed away from all social media, the newspaper, radio and tv. I decided not to listen to music either to just give my brain and soul some quiet. I did not start out with the phone included, but ended up staying away from it as well. Because Carrie’s baby shower was yesterday and I was involved in some logistics, I did use the phone for a total of 3 short conversations with my daughters. I’ve given you a kind of timeline below and some of what I felt in the process.

Friday afternoon – 4:54pm A last check of email and facebook. There doesn’t appear to be anything here that can’t wait until Sunday evening. Heading home, planning to Google some medical information, but I stop myself and realize, as I’m idling in the bank drive up, that I’ll need to use the old print medical dictionary. I’m looking forward to this evening and we have yummy leftover stew and rolls to make an easy dinner.

5:32pm – Just pulled into the garage after realizing at 5:27 that the radio in the car was on! and I was half listening to NPR news. Came to my senses when I realized that I had just heard and was worrying about the prevelence and incurable status of herpes in the US. Didn’t need to know that. What a habit I have developed of flipping on the radio as soon as I get in the car. Feeling sorry, I have “failed” less than 1/2 hour into my fast! Ok, I’m going to shake it off and continue.

Home earlier than usual, I read until 6:45pm and even dozed for a few moments. My reading, first of the medical dictionary and then The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, was disturbed by occasional glances at my iphone, face-down bedise me. I was thinking of all the forbidden emails and facebook frivolity hidden inside. I had a mental image of breaking it open and peeling it back to get at the meat of data concealed from my sight.

Jim is home now. Time to put together our simple meal and Trader Joe’s Three Buck Chuck Shiraz. Now on to an equally delicious evening of reading.

7:25pm Nice dinner is over and Jim is reading the Yakima Herald. Oh man! I love the Friday edition with the ON magazine section! Rats. Oh well, back to my book.

7:45pm Thinking about tomorrow and hoping to work on my memory journal in the morning, cup of coffee by my side and have a sweet, slow Saturday. Right now, I’m going to play the piano for a bit. Playing through the kid’s old piano lesson books with songs like Calypso Rhumba and the lumbering Western Skies. It hurts my back to sit here on this bench, though. I’m out of shape for this!

8:40pm – reading again, sitting by the fire, sipping my water.

8:51pm – Jim brought me this piece of banana cream pie. Hmmm. This kind of “fasting” might be fattening!

10:45pm – finished the book. It was very good. I hope I can remember the details by the time our book club discusses it in July. Usually, I trudge up the stairs at 11 so I can watch the local news on the little bedroom tv. But, alas, no news may be good news.

Saturday 7:20am – Coffee is already made and my granola and yogurt has been delivered by the terry-robed king of the household. My iphone is still face-down on the coffee table and my computer is still in it’s case. I pick up my new book, Not Buying It, about a Brooklyn couple and their year-long project of only buying necessities. I’ll read for awhile while Jim goes to the Co-op for finch thistle, cat food and a burn permit.

8:25am – Jim is back and farm cat food has been snubbed by our spoiled cat. I’m now feeling guilty about not being dressed and hardly queen-like as I loll around in my ancient plaid robe, even though I am royally ensconced upon my recliner throne. So, I’m off to don work clothes suitable for a cool, springy day. I’ve chosen a red bandana and hoop earring and feel like a pirate! Aaarrgh!

12:37 pm – I’ve cut back some perenniels, swept the porches. My observations in the silence? I’m feeling a “need” for music, but that caused me to play the piano last night and I’m going to play some more later! I hardly ever do that. I’m also realizing that when I’m not listening to radio shows with their half-hour time markers, I don’t even realize it is lunchtime or feel compelled to start and stop projects at half-hour time intervals.

4pm – The laundry is finished and I spent a couple of delightful hours cutting, pasting and “remembering” highlights of February and March as I put ephemera in my journal. I washed winter grime off the patio furniture and barbecue, too.

7:00pm – We had a simple salad supper.

10:15pm – spent the evening going through book catalogs that I’m been putting aside for 2 months. We lose an hour tonight. Spring forward. I’m feeling self-controlled and good about a restful, yet still productive day. I’m wondering if tomorrow will be harder.

Sunday, 7:30am – Up to enjoy coffee with Jim. Reading the book of Hebrews and feeling a bit irritated that Jim’s computer is nattering as he researches van conversions for the project he is working on. Where is my quiet? Am I more distracted by the noise than usual because I’ve had some hours of quiet or am I just more aware of how distracting extra noise is all the time, but I have gotten used to expending valuable mental energy to keep pushing it back? Must think about this more.

10:10am – Realize suddenly that church starts in 45 minutes, so I jump up and dash to the shower. I dried my hair, slapped on some makeup and dressed mindlessly and we dashed off in separate cars to church because I’ll want to help with shower preparations later and Jim has plans to put a turkey on the rotisserie and do some burning around the pond.

11:15am – realize that I’m really enjoying the worship music today, but in a way that isn’t dependent upon the style of the leader or quality of the musicians arrangements. Music again. Interesting.

12:30pm – Meeting Patrik and Carrie for a quick taco at Anojitos, one of our favorite places. I’m feeling a bit liberated from checking my email and voicemail. It is good. I’m feeling “present” to those I’m with.

1:30pm – back to help set up for the shower. The room is beautiful, with fresh pansies in pots placed on bright tablecloths. Jenn and Anita have worked so hard to make this shower special for Carrie.

2:20pm – giving full attention to Carrie and all those who have gathered here to bless her with baby things. Wow. She has received a truckload of beautiful things. It is an afternoon of laughter and friendship that Carrie will never forget. Patrik and Jim are arriving to load the gifts in the car.

4:30pm or so – home with hungry family. Jim’s turkey is, let’s just say, well-done. He is salvaging it while I find some sidedishes to go with it. Quick meal together before Libby heads to Ellensburg and Patrik and Carrie back to Vancouver.

6pm – Jim is helping me clean up the kitchen so we can go for a ride in the extra daylight! I am very suprised that I’m not feeling like grabbing my iphone and checking my mail even though I MADE IT! I DID IT! Paying extra attention to the gathering green that signals the approach of spring – it happens so fast!

6:30pm – I look to see how many new emails I have – over 80 – but nothing apparantly urgent, so I’m turning it off again until later, when I have time to deal with it. I’m working on some financial information that Jim needs for tomorrow, paying bills and puttering around.

9:30pm – I’m answering a few emails, I scrolled through Facebook and I’m surprised at how little I really missed, but how much I really gained by not checking it constantly. I would call it a very relaxed, yet productive weekend. I may do this again sometime soon.

11:04pm – off to bed, feeling thankful for the experience and more aware of what drives me.


I’d love to hear from some of you who have tried something similar. What did you learn about yourself? Would you do it again?

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Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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