Process 1: It’s a PROCESS!

by teresalaynebennett

photo of derelict buildings in need of demolition to make way for something better

The slow, much-needed process of demolition

This post – the first of five about this topic – is centered around one of those enigmatic lessons I’ve learned from watching our society as a whole and myself as part of it.

Here it is: contrary to what advertisers would have us believe, practically nothing happens instantly. Strokes and heart attacks might come to mind as the exceptions, but even they take years to build to the climactic event. The good things in life? They are most definitely NOT instantaneous.

And I can prove it. Quick – what derelict firetraps were at the corner of 23rd and Eastlake before they built the new mall? What rattrap buildings were in the 800 block of Elm Street before they were leveled to create that cool-design, mixed-use building everyone now loves?

Can’t remember, can you? That’s because the architecture – physical and otherwise – of our world is changing, and we’re not paying attention to that plodding-along process all around us. When we awake from our stupor, we can’t remember how things used to be. If that’s true now, when it takes a paltry 200 days to build a church building, can you imagine how this principle of process surprised our Medieval forebears, who sometimes took 200 years to build their cathedrals?

Have I told you anything new so far?

Nah. Adults know life is a process. But here’s the paradox: most of us live as if that obvious fact isn’t so. I’m telling you, we’re not paying attention. In spite of the fact that we erect stunning skyscrapers in nanoseconds (compared to Medieval times), in spite of all the gizmos and technology of our times, life STILL happens in little snapshots.

That’s a great metaphor, in case you missed it. Our life’s “snapshots” pile up and slowly become a towering mountain of stuff, in this case, glossy pieces of paper – all crying out to be put into albums, I’ve learned. The “digital photos” of your life (more stuff) collect one “trip” at a time, slowly clogging up your “hard drive” because you don’t sit yourself down and deal with the stuff after each “trip.” You know – the review, delete, and archive PROCESS?

This principle of process is one of those lessons I’ve learned the hard way and in spite of that, I keep on being surprised by it. What can I say? I’m in good company. Sometimes the hardest lessons to assimilate – for all of us – are the most obvious ones.

I could go on and on and on – and I will. (Watch for future process posts.) But for now, let’s just remind ourselves of a few facts:

  • Hollywood is clueless.
  • TV commercials are out there in la-la-land.
  • Advertising copywriters tell blatant lies.
  • Home & garden and fashion magazine articles are ridiculously out-of-touch with reality.

They assure you there’s an overnight remedy for debt accumulated over years. They tell you an obscenely priced bottle of cream will get rid of your crow’s-feet (caused by 20 years of smiling) in just two short weeks. They promise a “new kitchen” in one weekend. (One weekend? Are they kidding??) And on and on they go, promising us instant rewards, instantaneous pleasure, immediate satisfaction.

But we all know better, don’t we? There are no magic bullets. (More about this in Magic Bullet 1 and it has zip to do with blenders).

All of life is a process – a slow, steady process that very ordinary people – with no silver spoons – can handle without even breaking a sweat. We just have to pay attention to the process of living.

red box with white text of Anne Wilson Schaef's comment about the process of living

Sounds like EVERYTHING’s a process, eh?

(Right about now would be a good time to move on to Process 2: Personal and Household Clutter.)

© 2013 Teresa Layne Bennett