Slow Movement Growing Fast

Halt The Caffeine Hustle

In many stock photos, you see a mug of coffee with a laptop or a book. Computing, reading, and writing…these require focus of mind. Caffeine is stimulating. Yet the thing that I’m buzzing about now is…calming down.

Calm Weekend

Over the past weekend, I got to stay home alone while my wife and kids visited family. Being married with five kids means I’m not used to being alone. It’s a strange sense at first, feeling the house so quiet and vacant.

But by the third day, my nerves calmed. My thoughts stilled. I went about daily tasks with no sense of rush. Many times, I just paused between to-dos. Everything was simple, slow, and quiet.

Later, I realized I was pacing myself. Sometimes my pausing in the middle of the day was just because I could. Other times it was intentional. Although I knew the next task I wanted to do, jumping to it right away was unnecessary. I recognized the need to rest in the midst of doing things.

The luxury of time and space was a gift during my mini-staycation. A taste of tranquility. A sense of serenity.

Am I terribly busy right now? No. Nor would I ever want to be. Because that’d be terrible.

This isn’t the first time I felt some slowing down. And it’s not just me who felt this recently. When we all hit the brakes in March to stay home due to Covid-19, extra-curricular and regular activities disappeared. Did you find more free-time than usual?

My weeknights we’re totally free and open. I didn’t have anywhere to go or anything extra to do. And you know what? I really liked it. In fact, I still do. This new slower norm is an extended pause that does us all some good.

Busy Body

In our industrialized society, you and I are busy going to and fro. We’re like machines on an assembly line, constantly doing things. There’s an expectation of maximum performance without hesitation or rest. Everything must be done by yesterday!

Words to describe our busy state are: hectic, frantic, frenetic, frenzied, stressful. Do any of these ring a bell for you? Fueled by espressos in the express lane, our bodies are running in overdrive on overtime.

It gets worse.

Manic Mind

In our computerized culture, you and I are always on, multi-processing endless feeds of info. Most of it is noise; we try to find the good singal. If our bodies weren’t busy enough, our minds sure are. When we try to sleep for the night, it’s like we reboot immediately instead of shutting down. Insomnia isn’t uncommon.

Fitting terms are: robotic, hyper, auto-pilot, buzzing, anxious. Sound about right? Our minds are racing. Moving too fast, we start the next thing before we finish the previous thing. Multitasking like a computer is the status quo.

Hasten The Slow Down

So what should we do about this? First, we must realize the crazy-busy lifestyle is ingrained in our culture. Cityscapes and schedules are always moving, going, and doing. Seldom is there time for just being.

With that, we should note our own tendency. Some people thrive on busy-living. For others, the constant straining is draining. So if you’re in the latter camp, it’s vital to note that you and the culture are running on different tracks. This causes a push-pull tension.

But trying to affect societal change sounds like too much work; you would be very busy! There must be a way to do your life at a healthy pace, slower than the culture. I think there is, and you must find it for yourself.

About a week ago, I intentionally changed my daily routine to focus on some things I’d been neglecting. They are a high priority, but I had let distractions take over. And it occurred to me that I really don’t have enough time to do all-the-things.

I can’t do all the things.

This notion was a reality check for me. It’s not a lazy cop-out. It’s accepting a real limitation. Time and energy are scarce resources, but there’s no shortage of things you or I can be doing. It’s easy to overflow your life with too many to-dos.

We’re human beings, not human doings.

This reminder helps me be still at times. Our non-stop pace kicks up much dust, to-dos flying around in a whirlwind of debris. When still, the dust settles. Then you can breath clean air and see clearly. You can focus on your priorities.

Balance that with understanding: sometimes you need to hurry, but that shouldn’t be the norm. I’m not sayin’ we should be lazy instead of busy. But there are moments when you crack the whip because you need to get movin’.

Since our society errs on the side of constant motion and commotion, there is a counter-cultural slow movement growing; I wish it’d get here quicker (irony noted). It kind of overlaps in some places with Minimalism and Homesteading. It also shares some traits of Mindfulness.

If you need help finding ways to catch your breath amidst the rush, check out the Slow Movement. There are many sources of slow-life inspiration online. When you’re not too busy, just do a Google search.

Slow Reader

Another good way to slow down is to read a book. Much of my calm weekend, I was absorbed in a good book on my kindle paperwhite. In the past few months of lock-down, I’d spent so much time playing video games; I forgot the simple pleasure of a good read!

Reading something longer than a Tweet or blog post is engaging and engrossing, yet it is such a simple thing to do. It is so quiet and calm! I love the minimalism of my kindle and the act of reading on it. Profound and provocative ideas and worlds come from reading both nonfiction and fiction.

If you’re a slow reader like me, all the better for slowing down.

Calm Road
Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Dare To Decaf

I dare say, maybe slow down on the coffee. Don’t get me wrong, caffeine addiction is a nice hobby of mine. But I’ve come to rely on it a lot just to keep up with things. Otherwise, the only thing slowing down as I age is my metabolism.

A few weeks ago, I reduced my coffee intake. It was an experiment to see how calm my nerves would get. It worked! Once I survived the sleepy morning stage, I felt more chill than usual. But a few days later, I had a mean headache. I figured since I’m not a crazy person, at least one cup a day isn’t bad.

And one cup a morning. And one cup in the late afternoon.

So I’ve got work to do. Guess I won’t be in too much of a hurry to do it.

What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Tired Of Being Busy

Blogging is not my day-job, even if I wish it was. Instead of getting paid to write my posts on Jason Journals, I pay to do it because, among other reasons, it’s a hobby I enjoy. But lately, being so busy, stressed, and tired, my blogging brain has slumped in a corner.

Why so much busy-ness? It just happens sometimes. Mostly, my actual day-job has been very demanding. I’ve had to work overtime to catch up. And all the hours have been extra mentally taxing due to switching between focusing on my main task but then needing to juggle many other tasks too. So lots of back and forth.

Maybe your job does the same thing to you sometimes. It’s when you must buckle down, grip the wheel with both hands, shift to high gear, and mash the gas pedal to the floor. And the low fuel light is blaring in your bleary eyes the whole time. Anxiety creeps up; you’re about to run out of gas!

Besides my job demands, I’m still a Dad to five kids. So parenting, my 24/7 job, has not taken a break. But it’s been kinda fun.

Father’s Day, although busy and “distracting” from blogging, was really nice. My wife helped my sons make me feel honored as Daddy!

What’s left over? Not much. Yet there has been more…extra activities.

There’s the usual chores at my house, but I’ve also been swamped by my do-it-yourself project: building a new half-bath. But even that work has needed to move to the back-burner!

And amidst all this, my church’s annual Vacation Bible School kicked off yesterday! So I’m expending myself there too.

Maybe I should add: discover perpetual energy source to my to-do list. I’m not all that busy really. Sure I can find time for that.

Blogging is not the only thing to suffer from my recent crunch-time. My important and fun hobby, karate, has also lacked my attention. I usually go twice a week. But I’ve only managed to make it once a week this month, and now I’m missing three classes in a row!

Anyways, all that to simply say, sorry for not blogging much this past week. I’m sure I’ll be writing more again. Writers gotta write. Thinkers gotta think. And Bloggers are gonna blog.

I’m tired of being busy, but not tired of blogging.

What do you think? Has your Summer been busy? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

Merry Christmas 2018

Just a short post here to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope you can enjoy holiday time and get some rest and relaxation.

May your time with friends and family be blessed! And may you know the love of Christ this Christmas!

Thank you for reading and following Jason Journals in 2018.

Human Being Or Human Doing

You’ve probably heard this distinction before: human being versus human doing. We’re all human beings, but we’re also super busy, always doing something. So call us human doings.

Yet the busyness gets overwhelming and makes you want to stop and just be.

It’s worth noting that ‘being’ and ‘doing’ are both verb forms and relate to action. When you’re doing, you’re active. But being is like a passive activity. When you just be, what exactly are you being?

Maybe you are being still. Maybe you are being quiet. You’re being inactive instead of active.

Some people are uncomfortable saying that they’re doing nothing. It feels unnerving. Or it sounds immoral; you’re being idle. But what’s wrong with being idle? That answer depends on other distinctions, such as lazy versus busy, or resting versus working.

Here’s a real world situation I experienced that made me think about this doing vs being thing.

For my day job working in an office cubicle, I get a one-hour lunch break. And I often thought about what things I could do during that one hour window besides inhale some calories. How much could I get done!? If I planned well, I could have a very productive lunch break running errands.

It got exhausting!

Photo by on

This “productivity” habit made me stay busy and feel hectic. It was not a lunch break because I was not taking a break from work. Sure, I paused my day-job tasks. But I myself did not pause. I kept on working on personal tasks. My mind kept racing to do the next thing on the to-do list. I kept doing things. I was a human doing.

Now my default for lunch break is to actually take a break! I break my work flow. Instead of doing something for lunch, I prioritize doing nothing. I just be.

I am intentional about letting my mind and body get some rest. So I’m doing nothing in order to do something: rest. And of course I do eat some food. That’s part of rest in the form of replenishment. And better rest helps you do better work later!

What do you do to relax?

Notice that question is asking about doing something. But that something is a relaxing/calm thing instead of a working/busy thing. The opposite of being busy is taking it easy, which is not the same as being lazy.

Some people listen to music. Maybe you read a book. Vege out watching a movie. Play sports. Go for a walk. Put, “Do nothing” on your to-do list.

How do you go from hectic-frantic, crazy-busy, to just quiet-calm? What helps you unwind or decompress? Wine and a good book? Binge watch some Netflix? Is it an attitude or an action – or both? Feel free to leave a comment!


Rest Works

You don’t always know where your next good book is going to come from. You may search for one, but sometimes it will just appear in your life with surprise and delight.

That happened to me on Valentine’s Day this year. An email sales ad graced my inbox that morning. Among the many books, there was one that caught my attention. Moments later, I knew I’d found my next good read!

Written by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, the book is titled, “Rest.” Just one simple and short word. Of course, the subtitle is more informative, “Why you get more done when you work less.” After reading the synopsis on the back of the book, I was sold–especially at the low sale price of just four bucks!

Normally, I would download the free sample of a book and check out the author before committing time and money to a new chunk of reading, but this time I didn’t. I knew I wanted, maybe even needed, to read whatever was in between the digital covers. And I’m glad I got it.

Resisting A Rest

Rest” is appealing because we are so busy that we’re too busy to notice how busy we are! We know we need rest, yet we resist it.

In our culture, workaholism is like a badge of honor. Even if you’re not productive, as long as you’re busy, you must be doing something right. The idea is that if you’re not busy then you must be lazy. But there is a good difference between leisure and laziness.

I’m no workaholic, but I do get overworked and stressed. After I ‘clock-out’ from my full-time day job, I ‘clock-in’ at home. Anyone who has kids knows that parenting is a full-time job in itself; you’re ‘on-call’ 24/7. And since my family lives in an old country house on a few acres with farm animals, there’s always a project to work on.

Although life doesn’t take a break and wait for us, we need to take breaks to live. Being human, we could often use some rest. Even God rested after working on His project of creating the universe!

Rest Is For Work

Work is a necessary part of life, so it’s important to say that the book, “Rest,” is not necessarily against work; on the contrary, it’s for it. Since our society prizes being productive, note the subtitle again, “Why you get more done…” This book isn’t just about getting things done, it’s about getting more things done! And it specifically promotes both productivity and creativity. Just work less and you’ll achieve it.

A key idea within is that work and rest are two sides of the same coin. They go together like chocolate and peanut-butter. Both are good, and when put together they’re great!

It’s counter-intuitive and intriguing. We tend to reason that if we work hard, we’ll be accomplished, so if we work longer, then we will be more successful. Yet as many know from first-hand experience, there is a threshold where, once you cross it, your work output diminishes despite more hours worked. Been there, done that.

To the contrary, proper rest (demonstrated in the book) can help you work better so you can turn out more work in less time or turn out higher quality stuff. The mind and body need regular and intentional rest in order to work at their peak potential.

It’s not rocket-science, but there is a lot of neuroscience to it. Early in the book, the author talks about several specific areas of study in the field of neuroscience that shed informing light on how the brain functions with rest. And throughout the book, when citing how rest worked in the inspirational lives of very successful people (both creative and productive), specific facts from the brain-science are cited which serve as supporting evidence. What people have known for years anecdotally is now being understood scientifically. This makes the book both inspiring and encouraging.

Not Resting Doesn’t Work

What makes “Rest” stand out is that it demonstrates with clarity the counter-intuitiveness of the work-rest combo. We don’t so much need a book called “Work” in order to learn how to work better. To work well, you must rest well. And to rest well, you must work at resting. Proper rest is a lot of work because it takes practice. Despite the irony, I find it to be true in my own experience.

There have been times at my job where I worked on a problem and got to the point of beating my head against the wall trying to solve it. And seeing that I was gaining nothing, I would stop and walk away. And that’s when I would start to make progress. It’s like I was trying too hard. But when I stepped back from the problem, giving my brain a little break, my thinking was clearer and better focused.

Work To Live, Don’t Live To Work

Rest” has been a breath of fresh air for me because it brings some relief from the tendency to over-work. Yet it’s hard to find the balance between work and rest. And if you do find it, then it can be even harder to maintain. Rather than going too far in the other direction, “Rest” is work’s counter-weight to attain that elusive balance and stop the trend of diminishing productivity.

Despite the Industrial Revolution, we are not robots on an assembly line; we need breaks and rest. We don’t work like machines, but we can break down like them. We don’t multi-task like computers; we just have too many things going at once, and instead of concentrating on doing one job well to completion, we break our focus and jump between tasks. This is like putting the cart before the horse by emphasizing quantity over quality of work done. That doesn’t work!

So, “Rest.” We need it. We need to do it. We need to do it properly. And we need to do it regularly.

Update 3/17/18: I found a great review of “Rest” in the New York Times only after I’d written my post about it. Arianna Huffington wrote well; take a look!