As I enter another transition period now that the majority of client work is done for the season and I’m not doing any of my own classes in December it’d be easy for me to sink into hibernation mode. I’m not out and about doing deliveries, harvesting, or gathering supplies so on many days it’s just me and my very quiet “home office” and kitchen. For anyone who regularly has lots of noise in his or her life this may sound lovely–and it can be–but it can also trigger the introvert that lives deep inside me.
Knowing this inclination I’ve made a point over the last couple of months to create standing monthly dates with my closest friends–the majority of whom also live and work in the food/farm/nature realm and happen to provide me with freelance opportunities. In fact, in order for us to enjoy a weekday breakfast or coffee we block off these dates as brainstorming meetings with “independent consultants.” And truly they are because we inevitably end up talking about ideas for products or classes or events amid the family updates and discussions of the weather.
My point is, having these regular face-to-face interactions with the people who most inspire keeps me from disappearing into my little cave and helps me recharge. I feel mentally energized (and it’s not just because we consume loads of good locally roasted coffee) after we meet.
I don’t use a mobile device regularly. (Yes, I have a cell phone, but it’s pretty much a pay-as-you-go plan and only gets used when I’m on the road.) But I’ve gathered from friends and the endless number of articles posted daily about the idea that this constant “connection” to people via technology doesn’t truly make us feel more connected anyway.
I admit that because I choose to stay out of the iPhone/texting world that I am, indeed, missing out on news, updates, and invitations from friends. I’m not in as close touch with my extended family. And I’m not able to take advantage of certain coupons or discounts accessible via smartphone apps (which would probably be negated by a monthly cell phone bill anyhow, right?)
But I do feel that the relationships I’ve maintained–as part introvert, fewer but deeper relationships are key–seem genuine and worthwhile and help me grow and shine.
I’m not against technology as certain friends and acquaintances believe. I just know that if I had access to everyone all the time and vice versa that I would be severely distracted. And then my whole goal of mindfulness would be doomed. So it’s been a very conscious choice.
Along with these real connections I’m making I also find value in alone time–as you may have deduced from my last post. I don’t just mean going away for a weekend or arranging for my husband and daughter to get out of the house some afternoon, but the space between.
Not being connected to a device forces me into my head when I’m in my car, walking to the store or to and from school dropoff/pickup, in a waiting room, or hanging out at my daughter’s gymnastics class. I find the space between–especially when I’m walking–to be extremely beneficial processing time.
As I note in my Welcome, the name of my business revealed itself to me while I was out walking one day–forced to focus on the rhythm of my steps, the sounds of the neighborhood, and the humidity of a late summer day. (I guess I’m one of these people.) It’s in the space between–when I step away from the messages and updates popping up on my laptop screen–that I can process without interruption. I can’t imagine trying to be at my best without this interim.
So what does any of this have to do with food or anything? As you may have noticed, the biggest American holiday season is upon us. We are on the brink of plenty of chaos and noise and overscheduling. This is the calm before the storm of whatever you either love or dislike about the holidays. It could get crazy at any moment no matter how deliberately you’ve planned. It’s not specifically about food–because occasionally, just occasionally I think about other things in my life–but could most certainly be related to the time we spend cooking, eating, or imbibing.
Do your best to focus on those personal, face-to-face connections that feed your soul–consider rethinking a schedule filled with those that don’t. Do your best to take advantage of the space between–the opportunities to be present, mindful, and listen to your instincts and breath. Let the thoughts come into your consciousness, process as needed, or let them go completely or at least for later use. But step away from the device now and then to notice, savor, and appreciate this world around us.
I wish you peace (and some quiet if that’s what you wish for) in your own transition into the next season. Remember to nourish your soul as well as your body.