What does it mean to slow down … to pause? If you were asked to stop right now, could you? Or the better question may be, would you? What does “soaking up the moment” mean to you, and what do you believe it can do for you?
In our fast-paced lives where we are constantly connected and more easily available than ever before, I wasn’t sure I knew how to pause. I thought I was soaking up the moments each day as they were offered to me, but in reality, the times that I could be soaking up were usually being pulled in other directions. A work email needed my attention. Or it was time for dinner. A call needed to be returned. Just existing was struggling to find its way into my life. That is, until recently.
I grew up visiting my grandparent’s farm nearly every weekend of my childhood. My dad and I would pack an overnight bag and trek to English, Indiana where a modest trailer sat on a beautiful 25 acres. The land always welcomed us with open arms and tall grass. It was the place where I learned to drive a riding lawn mower and my love for gardening began to blossom. That farm gave me a safe-haven when I struggled during my teenage years and many a weekend I would sit on the back porch studying for an upcoming exam. I learned how to care for cattle and watched my dad build a treehouse.
There, at the farm, no matter how connected I wanted to be, I was forced to pause. The farm was located in an area with poor reception and my grandparents opted for no cable and phone package. If I wanted to call home, I couldn’t. If I wanted to check emails (although it was a time when emails were few and far between), I couldn’t. If I wanted to do literally anything else but be present, it just wasn’t possible. At that time of my life, I was forced to soak up the moments.
The day that my grandparents sold their land, a piece of my heart was left behind. For years, I felt a calling to find my way back to the farm again… to the place where everything just stops. Since the last time I stepped foot on the land of memories, lots had happened. I graduated college, established a career, got married and built a family. I did what everyone in life tells you to do, but yet, life was begging me to go a different direction. Life wanted me to pause… to stop… to soak in everything it offers.
Many people thought we were crazy when my husband and I decided to buy our own farm, but I knew that it was exactly what life was calling for us. Coincidentally, another 25-acre farm was patiently waiting until our paths crossed. It was love at first sight, even for this gal that can’t stand a bug within 10 feet. I knew it was time to pause again, and this time, I decided to let our farm tell me how.
While still in the thick of house building, my husband and I opted to move our family of 5 into the farmhouse next door, which was the original home that owned over 400 acres, including our new property. This home from the 1800s is not only beautiful, but nostalgic as well. The moment you walk onto its large porch and stride through the front door, you can feel it in the air. You breathe it in as you visit each room. It becomes a part of you with every conversation you have, especially those that take place on the front porch swing or while you are playing chess on an old-fashioned wooden table.
Presence. Sure, there is a TV in the living room, but it’s barely turned on. And the farmhouse has Wi-Fi like most homes do, but we tend to leave our gadgets elsewhere. To get the most of being on the farm requires you to just be.
Most mornings, as my children slowly wake up and start nibbling on their breakfast, my daughter will take my hand and guide me to the porch swing where we will breathe in the crisp country air and smile as we listen to the cows. And most nights my oldest son begs for a game a chess – a game he just learned how to play upon moving into the farmhouse. While he may talk strategy, I relish in just watching him live in the moment. And my youngest, well since moving here we have had to wash more dirt from his hair than ever before, but it comes with more laughs than I knew possible. All because we have now realized the power of a pause.
Farm life may not be for you. The bugs could run anyone off and the quiet can sometimes be too quiet if you aren’t used to it. Maybe you prefer to buy your food at the grocery instead of picking it off the vine. While being on the farm is where I find my peace, life may be calling you elsewhere. The location isn’t what is crucial… instead it’s imperative that you listen.
In a world of being connected, if we don’t pause, we never really connect. In the constant movement of deadlines and priorities, if we don’t make our lives a priority, they will quietly slip away. When it’s easy to plug in, you must make the choice to unplug. For life doesn’t happen with more internet speed. It happens with each breath… each embrace… each moment… each pause. Don’t wait until you are forced to pause. Make the conscious decision to do it on your own. You won’t regret it.
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