These past two weeks, I have had the incredible opportunity of staying with one of my closest friends in New Mexico. The beautiful ranch she her and husband live on has everything you could want: mountains on every side, beautiful sunsets, and the heat that Minnesota unfortunately won’t see for a while. The only thing it does not have— believe it or not— is any cell phone service. When I arrived I quickly learned just how attached I am to my phone. I always have it on me and check it far too often, even though I honestly did not think I was attached at all. As time went on, I realized how much I enjoyed not having it on me 24/7! It was a breath of fresh air to be able to just focus on what I was working on and not get pulled in a bunch of different directions. I spent the past two weeks catching up with my friend Catherine, sleeping, relaxing, and reading. I have always enjoyed reading, but ever since college when I was forced to read so much I have backed away from it quite a bit and haven’t enjoyed it like I used to. I just never seemed to “find the time.”
One of the books I have had on my book list for what feels like forever is “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly. I have heard wonderful things about it but just never “had the time” to actually sit down and read it. Right before my trip a friend mentioned that I should read it, and when I got to New Mexico Catherine had it sitting on the coffee table. I took this as a sign that this was the time!
The first thing Matthew Kelly talks about in his book is resistance. He defines resistance as “that sluggish feeling of not wanting to do something that you know is good for you… the inclination to do something that you unabashedly know is not good for you, and it’s everything in between. It’s the desire and tendency to delay something you should be doing right now.” He goes on to state that resistance stands between you and happiness. I think back to all the times I opened a book and read no more than a sentence or two. I either got a text, Facebook message or email that I would much rather respond to. Or I spent that time catching up on my TV shows that I didn’t get a chance to watch earlier in the week. I didn’t notice feeling unhappy by any means. Reflecting on these past two weeks, though, I have realized how happy I have been. Sure, it could be that I just spent two weeks with my best friend, that I slept more than I have in the last many months combined, or that I got off the grid and had no distractions, but I definitely think part of it is that I beat resistance and read three amazing books.
I encourage you all to go “off-the-grid”, whether that means just turning your phone off for a while, going on a retreat at a place like Pacem in Terris, or going to southern New Mexico. I encourage you all to enjoy the silence and to pick up a good book.