I’ve been moving a lot of firewood lately. Getting out of my mind and into my body. Forcing myself to stop and think. Or perhaps not stop and not think. My work day hours are filled with frenetic multitasking. Finishing a commission. Filling an order. Helping family and friends. Not thinking about the things that are hard to think about.
But the truth is, it’s not working. It took me until late afternoon to realize that the single most productive thing I did that day was hit the pause button.
I eye a dry piece of wood at the far back of the woodshed and step on a stack of logs to reach it. I feel the pile start to shift beneath my feat. If I move too quickly, it tumbles. If I move too quickly, I may not even notice it shifting in the first place – my fast pace creates its own danger. I have to slow down. I have to pause for a moment or it will all come crashing down.
I stop and hold still. The wood gently settles into a new formation.
One of the unique things about the world right now is the pace of everything. Some aspects of life are speeding up to a fever pitch. We must move quickly – lives and livelihoods depend on it. Alan has been helping manage the logistics of getting tens of thousands of people equipped to work from home, and the other day he described to me one of the challenges: the headset industry burned through seven months’ of supply in just seven days.
Other parts of life are slowing down to a painful crawl. People are stuck indoors unable to work or maintain basic social connection. They have more time than they need, and that time gets tangled around the anxious parts of their brains. It has to be delicately removed like a barbed fishing lure that can latch onto a new tender spot if we aren’t careful.
I find myself wishing there was a way to redistribute time. For those who have it in abundance to donate it to those in need. To pool all of our collective “vacation days” together and give them to the healthcare workers and ventilator manufacturers and first responders.
But there isn’t.