A few weeks ago I wrote about my Gap Month, and how the simple process of asking a question and listening for an answer has helped me manage my tendency to worry about money.
The question is one that I pose to the world: What do you need from me today?
Usually the answer is something mundane, a quiet suggestion that takes me out of the abstraction of worry into the specificity of action. Finish that poem. Work on that painting. Eat something delicious. The world likes it when I’m doing things I like to do. Though it also tells me to clean the garage, ask for help, say no more often.
I do what I can.
This morning, though, I got something a little different.
Perhaps, said the world, you might want to step away from urgency.
Find your place in a much longer Now.
Make your way toward the timeless.
I admit, I was nonplussed.
My first thought was of the urgency of the news, of how many hours I spend scrolling news sites, staying current, following stories that lead to more stories. I thought about social media, and the false urgency of FOMO. Beyond that, there is the cultural fixation on keeping up, not falling behind, all of which contributes to a constant churn within an ever-present now.
This is the water in which we swim. Ahistorical. De-contextualized. Who does it serve? What does it serve?
I turn to Wendell Berry, who wrote, “Do I wish to keep up with the times? No.”
What might it mean, to live in a longer Now? What might it mean for humans, for the living creatures we share this space with, for the world? I want to take some time to consider, because I suspect the world is pointing me toward something deeper than “stop with all the the scrolling.”
Though that’s probably a good place to start.