Felt the need to write some notes about intentional doing after reading Kathreen's post. Intentional doing: thinking about how we do things and why we do them is always present in our lives, if not the minute we act, surely in our reflections. Our kids don't do school so we have the time to enjoy the process in everything we do. We find a way to get what we need without just being handed to us. Learning without schools requires motivation and there's plenty of it, so are the resources. We don't go around seeking knowledge as a goal, but as we engage in any activity like baking, reading, creating, etc. we reach for the tools required for the task.
Of course, there are times when there’s no time or patience to accomplish something, so we opt for the fast route, a shortcut (a staple instead of glue, canned beans instead of slowly cooked dry ones, etc.). Sometimes the world goes fast and won’t wait for you to hop on. So we hope on running, do what needs to be done, and hop off. Knowing how that feels, and needing a break from it, takes us back to finding new ways of intentional doing.
I told some friends last weekend when we were baking several loaves of bread throughout the day for an unconference, that given some quiet time, my favorite moment is when you first take the bread out of the oven and listen to it, cooling, making crackling noises. Of course the smell is amazing and the warmth makes you rub your hands together. All your senses are wrapped in this simple food item.
Slowly but surely. We’ve thought of designs to make ourselves t-shirts that say “slow-learners” or something of the sort but know that the gesture might be misinterpreted. We are not the kind of people that wears a logo to make a statement: “yes, we do take our time to learn something, how about you?”. See our work, read our words, or eat our meals. Take the time to know us and you’ll get us.
We gather all sorts of ingredients and take the time to learn how to make dishes that we’ve eaten or seen somewhere else: a salad with interesting ingredients from Kcet, a cuban sandwich from a blog, fresh oven bread from a article in a magazine. If it works for us we add it to our meals and we treat our friends to them as well. We haven’t been able to grow an edible garden but it is in our to-do list.
So we look back and evaluate our work. Sure we like to see results, a product sometimes, but always looking at how we get there. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes we fail, it’s disappointing, rewarding, or none of the above. If you look closely, you’ll notice that your to-do list should include items that take you from one to the other. In order to accomplish one task, there are materials to be gathered, research to be done, mundane tasks to get out of the way, etc. It’s not about quantity but quality, we try and remind ourselves. Time flies when you are reading a good book, just one book. You might have a long list of books to read, but instead of worrying about getting to them, just enjoy the one you have in your hand right now. Sometimes there is time to take a snapshot of what you are doing but often it’s just a memory, a smell, a full tummy. Something in the process of reading, writing, doing will stick with you.
Change is an ongoing theme in our lives as well. We have to be willing to change and adjust. Things that worked one way in the past, don’t necessarily work or are needed in the present. I like to see a paper calendar on my wall for quick reference but my Google calendar is much more efficient. Working with a group of people who aren’t willing to try something different requires changes on your part, or for you to move away from them. Although change is part of life, we get stuck in what is comfortable, known. Intentional doing things, we’ve discovered that challenges can be exciting and there’s always something to learn from in trying. No, we don’t have everything figured out yet, and that’s the beauty of it. Let’s see what else is there to do, play with, try, experiment with, talk about, learn, see, read, share.