Sunday Snippet: Kathleen Norris

“If we are lucky, we can give in and rest without feeling guilty. We can stop doing and concentrate on being.”

We all have our dreams and ambitions for what we want to achieve and what we want to get out of life. At the same time, we are burdened with the responsibilities of keeping roofs over our heads, food on the table and Internet access on our connected devices. The modern life is a stressful life, largely because we allow it to get so complex. What if we could just let it go?

Kathleen Norris is an author of both poetry and non-fiction books, having taken on the roles of arts administrator for the Academy of American Poets and Benedictine oblate at Assumption Abbey Richardton ND. Her work has blended both religious and secular content. In the quote above, she describes the highly desirable position of being to “give in and rest without feeling guilty.”

You may remember that one of the key elements to happiness is the relative absence of pressure. When you no longer feel like you have to keep working in order to feed yourself and your family, when you no longer feel like you have to do this or that, you can shift your focus away from doing things and allow yourself to just be.

This sentiment really resonates with my work-from-home lifestyle as a freelance writer. Because I can work at any time of the day, I almost feel like I should be working all the time. Every day. When I do offer myself some reprieve, stepping away from the computer to read a book or watch some TV, an overwhelming sense of guilt comes rushing in.

Why aren’t you working? Why are you wasting your time on the couch when you could be writing the next great novel?

Perhaps Kathleen Norris is being too idealistic for the harsh circumstances of the real world. Or maybe, just maybe, retiring to a more pastoral lifestyle rooted in simplicity is the path to just being. And that might be where we can all find calm and contentment.