How shall we articulate what we are losing in the cultural shift from genuine relating to “being connected”? We continue to be reminded that virtual relationships are not the same as real ones, but we are increasingly drawn into a world that demands more productivity, more speed, and relationship performance rather than relationship appreciation and deep growth.
Living our lives with some depth and meaning requires face to face, authentic relationship experience; it requires recognizing that most things worth pursuing take time to unfold; and it requires that we strive for deeper ideals even when it is not clear how to do that. How do we remind ourselves and each other of this reality without sounding like a throwback to the sixties? How do we build into our lives the systems and processes that enhance those choices when we feel such pressure to strive for material improvement?
There is such a thing as readiness. We can remind each other and ourselves to pay attention to what is important to us. But we have to be ready to hear that message and make that adjustment. Recently I have been reading Cal Newport’s blog “Study Hacks,” in which he talks about doing deep work. He makes the unsurprising observation that when we choose to put our time and attention into something, it means we have less time and attention for what matters more to us. His point is that our most valuable, deepest experience is usually consigned to the “free time” that we have, and that is the time that we use when we have demands from outside of ourselves.
In other words, we sacrifice time devoted to our most valued pursuits when we turn our attention to the urgent. Take your time. That is the important point. Take. Your. Time. It is yours. It is one of the resources you have that cannot be replenished. Take it actively rather than surrender it helplessly. Use your time to nurture and grow into the very best version of yourself that you can. After all, you and your life are your own work of art.