26 Mar

A character in a movie said she was “numb” to everything.  It struck me to the bone.  As a society, we are becoming desensitized to emotions, pleasures and extremes.  Sensory overload pushes us to withdraw into our collective sand boxes.  We are a people aching for the instantaneous and when we receive it, we balk at its fleeting nature.

When did I start racing toward something?  As a child, I remember sitting outside and staring up at the clouds and not needing to be distracted by Iphone apps and a constant stream of music in my ears.  When I did listen to music, it was in a dark room, my eyes closed and not staring at a computer screen filled with windows of news, blogs and calendars.  There were entire leisure meals enjoyed on a blanket in the sweet grass while I felt the sun on my skin.

Those things are foreign to me now.  I juggle so many tasks, I enjoy none of them.  I am a constant twitch of energy and gumption to do anything.  Even as I write this, I have a television program playing on Netflix in the background because the sound of nothing really isn’t.  Instead of hearing birds and buzzing bugs, I hear the clatter of the train, loud talking from outside and traffic in a not so far off distance.  There is no alone here.  There is no silence.

I thought about when I was in Switzerland.  I sat in a café in Luzerne next to a farmer’s market.  I can still smell the fragrant blossoms of flowers I could not identify.  I inhaled and took in the cleanliness of the air that surrounded me and the robust aroma of my coffee.  I tore chunks of bread off a loaf, dipped it into steaming fondue, and tasted the wisp of white whine.  I sat there for what felt like an eternity watching people walk around me, at the clouds racing above and just felt it all.  These days meals are hurried and barely digested.  I no longer enjoy the flavor of coffee after drinking what barely passes for the beverage at work.  I cannot remember what it is like to bite into a strawberry and know that it is fresh from the ground.  I cannot remember what the sound of outside is anymore.

Tonight, I went to the grocery, and bought a loaf of bread and the best Brie they had.  I came home, tore off chunks of bread, and slathered with the melty goodness of the cheese.  I ate slowly and without the background noise of a television or music.  I remembered a time when I was not rushing toward the finish line of everything I started.  I have learned more about myself in the last year than I have in all the ones that came before.  I had to forgive myself regrets and bad decisions, and decide how I want to spend the rest of my days.  I have had to let people go who have been toxic to the new me.  I have had to stop racing and devouring and chasing everything.

I do not want to be numb to the pleasures of life anymore.  I want to taste everything, I want to smell it all and I want to see the beauty in even the mundane.  I want to be at peace with who I was and know I will never regress to her again.  I am focused on what lies ahead, but not with the single-minded pursuit of achieving anything.  What I want is so simple.  I want love.  I want laughter.  I want joy.  I want peace.  I want strength.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.  And it is delicious.



  1. Scotia Nightpoetry March 27, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Hi Laura,

    Good article and well said. I wrote a small piece the other day about something similar – how, if we only slowed down a little and took smaller steps to our destination, we might enjoy the journey more. I you want to see it here is the link:
    All the very best to you and your –
    ps – I am currently having surgery on my writs / hands so may not get around to acting on your recent award to me, but I shall do so as soon as I recover.

  2. Cold Dead Heart March 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Brian, I hope you a speedy and easy recovery. Keep writing! Thank you for your comments. I liked yours too. It must be the season for slowing down.

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