Why You Should Unsubscribe From My Mailing List

The world isn’t moving at an increasingly rapid pace; we humans are. Beneath all the noise we make is a world beating slow and steady and quiet. It’s up to us to find the rhythm…

mindfulness

Photo Credit: Courtney Dirks via Compfight cc

September is on the way.

If I put my ear to the ground, I can hear its manic rumblings.

The pools will shut down and the schools will open up. And with three kids in school, the onslaught is about to begin: back to school ice cream socials and curriculum nights and forms to sign and homework to complete and soccer practice and guitar practice and school drop-off and school pick-up and illnesses and sick days and bullies and tears.

All of it in triplicate.

The hours of light will shrink and the hours of obligations will expand and the open space of summertime will be crowded out by activities and responsibilities and hurry and voices and noise.

September is on the way.

Of course, parents aren’t the only ones burdened by the frenzy of life and September is not the only culprit. We’re all swimming in an increasingly loud and agitating sea of activities and obligations and the voices of business and commerce and news and information. And we’re immersed in it all the time…

Finding Our Rhythm Again

According to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, between the birth of the world and 2003, human beings created five exabytes of information. By 2010, we were creating five exabytes every two days. And by 2020, we will be generating fifty times more information daily.

Our brains are adjusting to the pace.

We turn on push notifications for our phones so we don’t fall behind. We reply to text messages as soon as we get them. We have twenty news channels on the television and countless news apps for our tablets. We check email on vacation so we won’t have to deal with the tsunami of information when we return.

Our minds are like runaway trains and our hearts are screaming along for the ride.

This doesn’t end well.

We need to put on the brakes. We need to slow down and settle in. In the words of Dallas Willard, we need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives. We need to ruthlessly eliminate informational clutter from our inboxes and obligational clutter from our schedules.

We need to start making intentional, thoughtful decisions about what gets in and what we lock out.

A World Created for Rhythm

It’s an unseasonably cool night in late July, and my mind is cranking up, thinking about the back-to-school mania. When suddenly—but not really suddenly, more like oh-so-slowly—the sun slips a little closer to the horizon and its rays find their way through the leaves of our shade tree and they strike my eye and I blink myself present.

My mind stops racing around and, instead, I look around.

The treetops rustle languidly. Birds chirp peacefully. A dog barks sporadically in the distance. The grass stands still. And I become aware:

The world isn’t moving at an increasingly rapid pace; we humans are.

The world is moving at the same pace it always has. It still takes 365 days to lap the sun. This spinning globe still takes twenty-four hours to return us to where we began. The sun still arcs lazily across the sky, day after day after day. The seasons refuse to be rushed. The world will wind down for winter as it always has: the leaves will gather color and fall to the ground at the same languid pace. The geese will still get a head start on their migration so they won’t have to hurry.

Beneath the frenzy we’ve created is a world created for slowness and balance and harmony and wholeness and unity. Beneath all the noise is a rhythm beating slow and steady.

But we won’t find it in our inboxes.

Which is why you should consider unsubscribing from my mailing list. In fact, it’s why you should consider unsubscribing from every mailing list.

The Rhythm of the Blog

On the other hand, if you need to be reminded of the heartbeat pulsing steady beneath the frantic surface of life, then maybe you should stick around.

This is me recommitting to you:

You will find a rhythm here. One email per week, every Wednesday morning at 5am CST. A thousand words or less. A five-minute read. You’ll never be sold anything; you’ll only be invited into something. Every week, a five-minute invitation to remember:

Life is messy and sometimes painful, but there is a beauty trembling amidst the mess. There is redemption humming on the other side of the pain. Our stories are, each and every one of them, sacred and holy. The next scene is always up to us. And there is a murmur of grace beneath all things, assuring us that, no matter what, we are beautiful and beloved and worthy of love and belonging.

A five-minute invitation to remember that in every romance, in every marriage, in every relationship between a parent and a child, in every friendship, in every encounter between strangers, in any space in which two or more are gathered, and, indeed, within any moment held mindfully in front of us, we can come closer to touching the reality of life floating still and quiet just beneath the choppy waves of this world. And the reality is this:

We are here for love: to be loved, to give love, and to become love.

If you need five minutes like that, then stick around. Because we’re just getting started.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

—————

Next Post:  Promises to Our Boys (On the First Day of School)

Free eBook: My eBook, The Marriage Manifesto: Turning Your World Upside Down, is available free to new blog subscribers. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can click here to subscribe, and your confirmation e-mail will include a link to download the eBook. Or, the book is also now available for Kindle and Nook

Disclaimer: My writings represent a combination of my own personal opinions and my professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. I do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • CLK

    So elegantly expressed, so simply written, bravo!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, CLK!

  • Zarina Halani

    Greetings from Dubai Dr. Kelly ! My name is Zarina Halani . Your posts every Wednesdays are beautiful presents that I look forward to receiving each week !
    I have no words to thank you for your amazing insights ! You Sir, are a wise soul ! I really needed to hear this today ! Recently I started to feel as if Life was passing me by & I felt totally helpless !
    I now choose to slow down & be present to all the beauty that Nature & Life has to offer ! Will do my best to leave my computer desk & go out & watch the sunset !
    Thank you Dr. Kelly , Thank you Universe !

    • drkellyflanagan

      Zarina, it is good to meet you across such a distance, and you’re welcome! I do hope that, as your sun set tonight, you were able to take it in. But here’s the really good news: if you didn’t, you’ll get another chance tomorrow! : )

  • nancy

    We ALL need your 5 min of reminding! Thank you!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Nancy!

  • PK

    I had to smile when I saw the title of this. I just got back from a week away with kids and grandkids and no internet access or tv and almost no phone. As I started through my accumulated e-mails when I got back I decided now was the time to actually unsubscribe from all the stuff I didn’t want. I was sick of the time it was taking to delete things I never even opened. But I look forward to getting this weekly reminder to slow down and recenter. Thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      PK, it was when I “got back” from my 1993 experiment in December that I decided to unsubscribe from about 90% of my automated emails. I’ve slowly added back in a few that I’ve missed. It doesn’t take much time to delete those unwanted emails, but they somehow take a toll on the psyche, don’t they?

  • Dave Bauer

    There is an old story, detail of which I cannot remember, where a group of men carrying loads for other men who are in a hurry, sit down and say they must wait for their souls to catch up to them. We all would benefit from relaxing and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation made specifically for us at that time.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Love it, Dave. The image is a powerful one. We don’t have to search for our souls, we simply need to allow them to catch up with us. Good stuff.

  • Candice Marquette

    Oh you can’t get rid of me that easily. Your weekly pick me up is as comforting as my morning cup of joe.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Candice, thanks for being here for so long, and thanks for sticking around for a little longer. : )

  • Mike

    Thanks for this, Kelly. I needed this this morning.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Mike.

  • Maryann S

    Thank you for your weekly posts. For me, they bring me to a place of contemplation because I get so pulled into the frenzy of the day and forget to stop and be present.
    I look forward to reading your emails each week.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Maryann. Thanks for taking the time to say so.

  • ALEJANDR1971

    The sounds of silence we can say…
    I’m blessed to live in a city that was founded near the sea 103 years ago: Atlantida
    It is no coincidence, it is still a paradise. From morning, when the sun rises I can still see its first rays over the horizon.I can see the sunset from my window set over the trees.
    And if I go to sea, 4 blocks from my house,I can see it go into the sea…365 days a year
    We do not have tall buildings.We are the third tourist city in my country and we do not have big malls. In fact, we only have one that goes slightly undetected among the trees and dunes.
    Still, the other day I had too many problems in my mind and suddenly said “STOP!”
    and I stopped to listen to the wind.It was dark and I was walking my dog I heard the wind, I looked up and I could see the Milky Way long time since I stopped to look at the stars
    Occasionally it is beautiful to hear the sounds of silence

    • ALEJANDR1971

      I don’t know why I can see the pic.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Alejandr, you just described the kind of place I dream of living. It sounds beautiful and peaceful. I’m happy for you. And a little jealous. : )

      • ALEJANDR1971

        🙂 Can you see an Eagle on the pic?.At the upper right corner,you can see an eagle’s head.This is “Quimera”.A building,a dream,building by Natalio Michelizzi.He was one of the founders of the city.

  • Kelly, excellent and well-written. A few years I replaced the “b” word with rhythm. Static and impossible, balance, offers us a poor metaphor for life, but rhythm resonates with the recreated order. We flow with life in the paces God designed configured in sun, moon and earth. Only he actually manages time. in our arrogance we think we can and can run over created rhythms without consequence. We can move toward Shalom as we live in harmon with life’s God-formed rhythms. See Your Life in Rhythm for more.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Well said, Bruce, thank you for this.

  • cathie

    Like countless others, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ve done a good bit of unsubscribing lately, but your sentiments, so beautifully crafted, are full of the necessary truths of which we all need to be reminded……encouraging, life-giving, healing, restoring……..and your influence grows when I share your insights in small groups, with friends who are struggling and with couples whom my husband and I meet with (we are marriage mentors). No, friend, I’m here to stay.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Cathie, I’m honored you would share my writing with people you care so much about. And I’m really glad you are going to be “permanent” here. : )

  • Diane

    Something to think about on a Wednesday morning….thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Diane.

  • Vin

    I so look forward to these posts…there is always something magical to take along with me, something so simple and yet so powerful that it stays with me long after the five minutes of quiet are up and the world has intruded once again! Thank you…I’ll not be unsubscribing any time soon….

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks for sticking around, Vin!

  • Lydia

    I deeply appreciate your blog posts. I have been subscribing for a couple months now and your posts are so moving and so relevant to my life that after reading them I think about them all day, and during the week while running errands I sometimes find myself just mulling over the thoughts and messages of previous posts. I find that your posts are moments of stillness in my week. Seeing that email in my inbox automatically raises my spirits and inspires me to take a deep breath and sit down. Your emails help restore my rhythm.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Lydia, I’m grateful that I get to spend some extended time with you throughout the week. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  • Cat Cavazos

    Completely agreed, needed the reminder this AM and count me in! 😉

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks, Cat, you definitely do count around here!

  • Shel Llee Flexman-Evans

    I’m in.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I’ve gotten used to your insights, Shel, it wouldn’t have been the same without you!

  • Carla

    Loved it. Profoundly resonated with me. Thank you!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks, Carla, and you’re welcome!

  • Christina Haas

    My head is ready to explode many days – I have three also, and am parenting alone. It’s crazy. Some days, I don’t even turn on the radio in my car, so that I can find the peace I need. I watch an hour of TV a week, and sometimes that seems like a lot. I don’t watch the news, but I am staying subscribed! And I will continue to share your blogs. They are an important perspective on finding peace and contentment in our wild world. Thank you! Namaste. Christina Haas

    • drkellyflanagan

      I just can’t imagine raising three on my own. Just can’t imagine it. I already spend time in the car without the radio. Your strength is remarkable, Christina, even on the days you don’t feel strong. Namaste.

  • Cynthia

    I’m always grateful for your reflections, Kelly. Thank you for remaining committed to sharing them. I’m in for as long as you continue to share!

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Cynthia, and thanks for being a friend my wife trusts so deeply!

  • Sorry, Kelly, but I’m here to stay. 🙂 I love your posts and they help me to slow down. I might unsubscribe from other things though…

    • drkellyflanagan

      No apologies necessary, Jenny. ; )

  • Susan E

    Just when I have these gnawing frustrating thoughts going through my head, Kelly confirms this in one of his posts! It’s remarkable how his posts seem to pop up just at the right moment when I’ve experienced and come to the realization of the very message he’s delivering!! I will share this with my two teenage daughters in hope that some of it will resonate and stick with them in their very connected world. What a great post we all can learn from and I am definitely still in!! Thank you!! I look forward to them every week and while I am becoming more and more choosey of what I subscribe to, this will be the one post that will stay on my list!

    • drkellyflanagan

      I’m grateful to be on your shrinking list, Susan!

  • Laura

    I’m sticking around! Yours is my favorite blog of the week, and I anticipate reading each one. Once a week is a perfect schedule, and I’m always encouraged at your words. Last week, I read your post about the virus coming, while I was sitting in the hospital with my dad, who had just experienced a stroke. He is now in rehab, relearning how to walk and feed himself at the the of 59. Your words were a bright spot on a hard day. Like I said, I’m sticking around, so please keep up the good work!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Laura, my best to you and your father as he begins the hard work of healing. I’m glad my post came at the right time for you.

  • barbara

    Yours is one of two mail lists I savor and love to read. so much appreciation

    Did you ever teach a workshop on Cape Cod? It ws a doctor name Flanagan. I didnt go. haha. but I wondered if that was you?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Ha! No, I’ve never taught a workshop on Cape Cod, though I have a friend who just spoke at a conference there; it sounds like a beautiful place, especially when you’re skipping workshops. : )

  • Life Takes Over

    Utterly beautiful post. I haven’t written on my own blog or commented on (or even read) other blogs that I used to follow. I’ve just been too dragged along by the fast pace at which information was coming at me. I signed off this summer…unintentionally walking away from all that is digital (for the most part). I haven’t wanted to write because I felt I couldn’t keep up with my own self-imposed post-a-day schedule. In the rush of life, it never occurred to me to write one post a week and really enjoy the writing, truly savour the experience and the connection that writing brings. Thank you for your post today. I will not be unsubscribing. 😉

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you hanging around! And I can certainly relate to what you said about self-imposed schedules. I went through a stretch where I was posting twice a week, and that just became too much for me. Not only that, friends told me they were having a hard time keeping up with the reading! I think giving your all to something once a week is a great way to establish a rhythm.

  • Pingback: Slowing down, slowed down, stopped | Life Takes Over()

  • Kathy Meyer Toseland

    Thank you. Last week I I subscribed to many posts. Some started out giving something to me. Then the swift hero…now they only want from me…my time and my money. Money first. So much clutter! So many demands. I felt bad…I wasn’t living up to their expectations. So much entanglement. Your site is nourishing; it is full of grace. Thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      No surprise clutter here, Kathy! We’ll try not to entangle you at UnTangled. : )

  • Ah, how I relish Wednesdays and your posts, Kelly. I could unsubscribe, but I would still search for you in my feed on Facebook.
    Thank you for inviting us to pause, reflect, and congregate with similar-minded folk in this forum. Last night, I ignored my phone and simply watched a movie and sipped a glass of wine. Afterward, in the calm inspired by tuning out but tuning in, I went to my rooftop deck and stood in the rain, enjoying the feel of the raindrops. It was nice to be present and connected to something that didn’t require a cord.
    As always, thank you for your words, your time, and for not selling us on anything. Even though I can’t wait to buy your next book, no sales pitch needed.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Rochelle, I want to live your night last night! It sounds like the experience became way bigger than even the sum of its parts. I love it when people describe such experiences so exquisitely. I’m working on that next book, but I can’t forget to stand in the rain, too.

      • You’re doing an exemplary job of being present and acting as a role model for us all. Thank you, Kelly! I am waiting for the pre-order alert for thar next book. =)

  • MJM

    “We are here for love: to be loved, to give love, and to become love.” WOW- what a statement. I truly feel that this is what God is whispering to me- that I am here to “BE love”- as you have stated, to give love, to be loved and to become love.
    Now if I only had a set of instructions to follow- this is not as easy as it looks.
    Thanks so much for putting into words exactly what I was feeling!

    • drkellyflanagan

      I’m glad my words and your whisper could meet in that place, MJM; it’s a great place to meet!

  • keenasira

    Thanks again for that gift !! Damn… I guess I’m going to have to stick around…too many like-minded believers in Love. Silly us!! At the end of the day of the minute, hour, day, week, month, year, or life; what else really matters?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Silly us, indeed! I like that. I just read somewhere, if grace isn’t folly, it’s probably not grace. Thanks for sticking around and joining the folly!

  • Vanessa Portaro

    Sometimes when things aren’t moving forward as quickly or in a way I would like I feel ‘stuck’. I don’t like feeling stuck. It’s frustrating and can lead to feelings of being left behind. But, after reading this maybe I can change my perspective and as a line goes from my favourite RW film, “suck the marrow out of life”. Maybe being ‘stuck’ is an opportunity to “suck the marrow” out of the moment… Thank you for triggering better thought rhythms for me…. As always…..

    • drkellyflanagan

      I think you’re right on, Vanessa. One of the things I tell myself is, “Be where you are; it’s the only place you can be.” Us achievers need to be reminded that stuck is okay. I tried to buy that movie in Blu-Ray on Amazon this week. It’s sold out until October. The man was adored.

  • Graham Paterson

    This wonderful blog reminds me of the poem by William Henry Davies:

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.
    A poor life this is if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare

    • drkellyflanagan

      This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it, Graham.

  • Thank you! Just what I needed to read today. Catchy headline too, by the way. Noticed my mind was racing with all the potential “why’s” ….and not one of them was correct LOL. So, like I said, something I REALLY needed to read today. Your blog is always so thoughtful and inspiring. I look forward to continued insights from you. Wishing you much love, light and happiness

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Renae, and best wishes to you, too!

  • Dorinda

    Thank you for this gift today, I needed it. I’m a fighter for peace and harmony, your post inspire me to keep up the good fight.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Keep fighting, Dorinda, and thank you for doing so.

  • Sara

    Yep, i only subscribe to the bare essentials by email – and you aren’t in it…however, you are in my blog reader, and when I find your posts, my heart goes thumpity thump – goodie, some wisdom 🙂 I love this: Beneath all the noise we make is a world beating slow and steady and quiet. I am super fussy about what I read and watch and subscribe to – because I do not like that feeling of frantic busyness – I never have.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Blog reader: I’ll take it! : ) And by the way, Sara, you aren’t missing out on anything: the frantic busy thing is not so much fun.

  • Cathy:)

    Good Morning Dr. Kelly. My husband sends me your post and I look forward to reading your great words of wisdom. Somehow I find it applies to my life and a light goes off within me. Your words truly are filled with truth about what life SHOULD have in all humans and I thank you. I was concerned when I thought you would not be writing the post. 🙁 I am thankful you will be sitting in our e-mails. You are a blessing to me and I thank you for the time you take to share your wisdom. Love and healing light to you and yours. 🙂

    • drkellyflanagan

      Cathy, thank you for your kind words, and please give my thanks and my best to your husband!

  • Kathy

    Thank you. I will look forward to those 1000 words. God Bless.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Blessings to you, too, Kathy.

  • D Trevor

    My husband & I decided to unsubscribe from almost everything – both paper & electronic – but yours is the ONE I hold on to. Thank you for your promise to not “sell me out” and for taking only five minutes of my time…but which will generate many times that as I meditate on the paragraphs throughout the coming week. I choose to STAY subscribed.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks for staying, D, and I promise to keep my promise!

  • Mike Gates

    Not all information is created equal ;). Remember, Eric Schmidt has some skin in *that* game. He’s a salesman. As you astutely point out, it is clutter. The information Schmidt referred to is noise. Trash. It can (should?) be ignored.
    I’m game – count me in to slow down, and listen for the heartbeat. Keep being awesome

    • drkellyflanagan

      Mike, thank you.

  • Debi

    I am moved and inspired and slowing to a speed at which I can accept your poetic invitation to be in this moment. After all, consciousness is simply the act of waking up in this moment. And the next. And the one after that. And in every moment I choose to be awake, I am simply a human BEING love. While I appreciate your beautiful invitation to unsubscribe, I think I’ll stick around. ;->
    Love & Consciousness Blessings to Us All.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Debi, I like the “blessings to us all.” Blessings ought to be all inclusive. : )

  • Clayre Thompson

    One day at a time, mindful of the moment, sit and smell the season. Those are the thoughts you provoked in me this morning. As I sit out on my deck, sipping my morning decaf I read your words, smile and share my thought with you my day slowly starts. I wake up early to enjoy this quiet moment, it is important to my soul. I will continue to read and respond. Keep up your end and I will keep up mine. Thank you!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Clayre, I’m glad I could join you in words during the slow start to your day. And you are very welcome.

  • Michele

    Thank you for the beautiful post. It took me a week to read it, because you were asking me to unsubscribe, and I couldn’t imagine not having the 5 minutes of weekly serenity (brain-yoga?) that your posts give me… But then a second post came to my inbox, and I had to get caught up! I very much appreciate your work and insights.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Ha! Brain-yoga. Oh to be able to go back and rename the blog. : ) Thanks for your kind words, Michele.

  • TerriMae

    I love your blogs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. They are thought-provoking and insightful. And sometimes, they save me.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks for your kind words, TerriMae; I’m glad they’re resonating with you.

  • Limor

    So clearly I’m late to a conversation starter that I’ve been long overdue to participate in. Kelly you are a beautiful reminder of what this world is truly about. Know that I will be looking forward to the five minute bursts of grounding energy that will surely be followed by an exhale. Thank you!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Limor, I’m glad you’re here and a part of the conversation!