Monday, June 22, 2009

Thoughts: Slow Down

I am at Disney World this week with my kids (so that is why I have not been posting new poems). Add to that the fact that my camera became saturated with suntan lotion from a spray can of the stuff and is essentially ruined until I get it to a shop, and I've not had my normal flurry of photographs, save with a cheap pocket camera I picked up to capture a few things.

Still, I can't seem to help take pictures and even with the little pocket camera, I've been busy snapping away.

This is not our first trip to Disney. My daughter, who is now 15 began coming here at two and has been here at least five times. My son has been here nearly as many times himself. I have an incredible number of pictures of this place taken over the years.

When I get home from a trip, I am always struck by the pictures I took. Not that they are so great -- honestly, most are just snap shots and such - but at how many of them are of quiet, solitary places.

If you have ever been here, you know what's odd about that. Disney is the crowd capital of the universe. Zillions of people everywhere, but somehow I find the quiet places. It's something I've always done, it seems, though I could not have told you why, or even that I was doing it consciously.

In recent years though, I have been doing it more consciously. The past few years have been times of turmoil, and though I would not wish turmoil on anyone, they have taught me how to consciously do what I used to do naturally in less tumultuous times - find places of peace, both literally, and in a spiritual sense.

You'd think something I did naturally in normally busy times would have translated in really tough times, but it did not. I had to learn to find peace, but the learning was one of the best things that came out of the upheaval. I'm actually grateful to have learned it.

I am reading, while on this vacation, a book called "In Praise of Slowness" and it's part of my continued learning, about slowing the mind and the business of life. It sounds fanciful in today's faster faster world, but I am finding it very practical, and useful, and.... peaceful. If you can find peace here at Disney, with it's non-stop, sensory overload way of doing things, you can find it anywhere. So if you are over run, I'd suggest you find the book and give it a read. I think you'll find it worth your while.

A few of you regular readers may think I have hit this subject a time or two too much. But more and more I become convinced of the importance of quiet and solitude in developing the spiritual life (No matter what your faith, though mine is unabashedly Christian). After all, the scriptures do say "be still and know I am God.", not "scurry about and know I am God."


PS - the picture is of a sculpture outside Cinderella's castle at Disney world, taken last night. You can click on it for larger version.


willow said...

Enjoy the time with your family, as well as the peace, and a little bit of that famous Disney magic.

FireLight said...

Tom, the one place I remember being a quiet spot was in front of the huge fireplace in King Stephen's Castle. I took our boys there twice during the mid and late eighties. My husband was always on an assignment somewhere in the world, so he's never been. He too loves quiet places, especially these days. Enjoy and good luck with your camera.

Shadow said...

it's amazing how, instinctively, you sought peace and tranquility. sometimes, all we have to do, is listen, really listen, to our bodies. they tell us just what to do...

Derrick said...

Hi Tom,

Much as I love Disney, I've never been to any of the resorts. But I can imagine the sensory overload, as you put it! What better than finding a spot for solitude before the roller coaster ride begins again?!

Choices said...

Disney is a magical place. So, you can find whatever pleases you. I have been to Disney many times, and I always get a happy feeling when I first enter the park. Just hearing the happy music puts a smile on my face and I start to dance.
Hope you are enjoying the time with your family. said...

Never been to Disney, but the encouragement to find a quiet spot, be still is a great reminder! I find I have to force the issue if I am going to stay productive. I don't believe you can address the issue too many times since we all need to be reminded regularly! Preach on! So happy to know you are practicing what you preach.

Seth and Jessica said...

so glad you got to go to Disney with the kids!! That sounds like SO much fun!! we miss you all!!

Leonora said...

Now that you mention it, your photographs do capture and portray a sense of peace. Lovely!