That everything is a little easier and richer is the unexpected gift from this project so far. We live in nature, and the appreciation of that beauty is greater. We have difficulties but they are not as stressful as they may have been previously. We attend to our health and diet, and that is more fun.
What does this have to do with removing the distractions of consumption?
One thing is that there is less stress and drama from our cultural noise because we don’t watch tv, listen to radio talk/news, or surf the web unless we want to learn something (ex: a recipe or fixing the mower).
We are concerned about the destruction caused by our recent hurricanes and wanted to learn more as we considered making some donations, so I turned on the radio to hear the news. There were multiple updates about Puerto Rico but sandwiched between those reports were stories about the new television season. Just listening to the descriptions of the shows was stressful! It made me wonder what the impact of watching hours of such violence and angst has on our well being and relationships, particularly in regard to children. There are studies showing that the effects of watching violence has a desensitizing impact on our tolerance for violence, but I am thinking of more subtle, daily impacts. Are we less patient with each other because of the violence, control, selfishness, and bullying so prevalent in our entertainment? Do we eat more junk? Do we react to family members more harshly? I don’t know the answer to these questions but I found the descriptions of the shows to be so distasteful that I turned off the radio.
Another result is that we pay more attention to what we do because there is less rush, so everything takes on a quality of richness and enjoyment, even the most mundane of chores. While mindfulness and presence are things we have practiced for years, we have a clearer experience that simple tasks performed with the love of others in mind (e.g. folding clothes for the family), or with the simple determination to do this small thing well (because attention to quality in all things honors others, honors yourself, and honors your Creator) raises the resonance of love and joy in life. We are experiencing a greater sense of ease and flow, even about events that are challenging. This is a subtle and unexpected gift that we are grateful for.