Daily Step – What level of intensity are you at right now?

“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity.”

I mean I never met Thomas Merton seeing as he died before I was born but sometimes his words just… hit.

It’s like he sees me bumbling along and wants to offer me a different way if I’m willing to try it.

Here’s an unpopular opinion to start this post – I don’t like summer.

Not really. 

It’s hot. It’s long. It’s slow. 

Resting makes me anxious.

You would think as an educator I liked summer because it’s a massive slow down. It’s a time to renew. It’s supposed to be refreshing. I’m supposed to want to go sit on a beach and read… or binge watch something. 

After all, slowing down is good for the soul, right?

But I find myself complaining when summer starts approaching every year. I don’t want to slow down! I’m best at hyper-speed! I want the hallways and classrooms full! Intensity is my jam!

Despite my complaints, however, summer still happens and for at least a couple weeks each year, I am invited (forced?) to do nothing. So for the last couple weeks, I did slow down. Way down. I sat and sketched and wrote on my terms. I didn’t wake up at 4 AM. I hung with my boys and we were LAZY. There weren’t camps or trips to work or anything intense to distract me. Working out and tidying up was probably the only steps my body got each day.

I thought I didn’t need that.

But then at the end of last week, life started ramping up again. There was work to do, places to be, uniforms to buy. I was ramping back up to my normal intense levels once again and I felt… happy.

But was the happiness because of the intensity? Or was it because I allowed slowing down to be mixed in?

Maybe the happiness was only possible because of the rest.

Here’s a little more of what Thomas Merton had to say:

“Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.”

My prayer this morning is that each of us find the rhythm this upcoming year that allows for real happiness along the way.

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