Tuesday, April 24, 2007

No-Reading Week Ends

...and I'll have to say, I'm sad to see it go.

I actually pulled it off, much to the disbelieving amazement of my friends and family. I went a whole week without reading (well, maybe I read a couple of T-shirts as people walked by, but otherwise, I made it.) I probably haven't done this since I was five years old.

Here is what I learned. First, most of my reading these days is "incidental" reading, usually online. I don't sit down with a book or magazine and read in long stretches. Reading often just serves to fill some snippet of time -- an email when I get home, a blog between patients, an article in the newspaper while the bread toasts. I realized how cluttering it all is. Like filling every nook and cranny of time with words.

I thoroughly enjoyed the empty space this week. What did I do with it? I wrote a lot more (but dared not go online to write -- high risk of clicking a link). I called friends instead of emailing them. I watched my two-year old smear peanut butter on his face while the bread toasted. I sat and thought a fair bit (and thought about significant issues like how long do you have to sit and think before you can say you were meditating). I looked at pictures. I cooked up an idea for a line of T-shirts (where did that one come from?!). I was generally much more present, able to silence the beckoning of the waiting words.

Now the challenge: applying what I've learned. I'd like to stay word-clutter-free. I'd like to contain the clutter in a space of time, kinda like keeping all junk but having it in a drawer or closet instead of scattered on every shelf and table top. Maybe I'll give myself an hour a day for all that snippet reading. Contain it all between noon and 1 PM. I'm still mulling this over, and I'm being careful on this, my first day back. I didn't get on the computer until now, 10:45 am, unlike my usual 5:30 am.

It was a great week.

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