The Beauty of Inefficiency

A few days ago I spent two hours filling up 70 one gallon water jugs with rainwater, one a time.

I could have figured out a faster, more streamlined system. In fact a friend got all excited to help me figure out a system to catch rain water and distribute it to my garden.

When he suggested it, I was surprised to find myself protecting my rights to be slow and inefficient.

At that moment I had an important realization, an aha moment of the obvious:

I need the calm that comes from doing things by hand.

One day I’m sure I’ll get a huge rain water catchment system that drip irrigates my garden. But for now, moving my motley collection of buckets and rectangular plastic containers under the guest house roof when it rains works just fine. And filling each gallon jug up by hand is sacred. And watering my garden, a gallon at a time, is bliss.

This last rain, which was about four inches, netted over 200 gallons of rainwater. Most of this is stored in white plastic 55-gallon barrels we just hand-filled, one scoop at a time, from the rainwater bounty. It takes me about 22 one-gallon jugs to water the entire garden, from the orange zinnias to the monster taking-over-the-world-by-vine squash, from the proliferous peppers to the fresh herbs bed. So the current abundance of 200 gallons of water from the sky won’t last long, making it even more precious.

ralph waldo emerson quoteSince I spend much of my time at the computer, being outside in the heat moving rocks or pouring water or mowing the grass is my time to connect and let go. The monotony, the focus, and the soothing limitations of the physical world after harvesting words and planting paragraphs or wrangling emails and websites is a labor-intensive joy that I don’t want anyone to take away from me.

Where could you slow down and be inefficient in your life? My goal is to continue to create super streamlined systems in some areas so I can spend more time basking in the patient chaos of the natural world.

For more support on creating supportive structures and enhancing ease, check out my twelve-week online course, Sacred Time Management.

rock porchAnother recent slow project of patience… creating a rock porch by hand. Cement goes down tomorrow!

One thought on “The Beauty of Inefficiency

  1. When I am in the yard, pulling weeds, or pruning old dead wood, and the like, I like to take my time. This allows me to decide which plants I wish to encourage, and which I wish to remove to allow others to flourish. It connects me with nature and the earth. No weed whacker could ever compare!!
    It’s the same in accounting. I understand the efficiency of the programs available (and it certainly greatly cuts down on work time!), but in some ways I miss doing entries by hand. Yes, when I started, over 25 years ago, we were making journal entries by hand as well as on computer (they didn’t trust the custom system because it was deteriorating). Getting out the ledger book and the ‘special’ fountain pens, one blue, one red, and carefully making the entries by hand – it was a meditation. And a part of my work that I actually particularly enjoyed. And yes, it was slow and inefficient too. 😉

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