By: Teddy Butler Copeland
Reviewed by: Nancy Hutcheson
Lambert Book House, Inc., 2007
Instant everything society—busy schedules, borderline craziness, hectic pace, chaotic lifestyles—that’s life today. Our pace of life is frenetic, bordering on insanity, racing at break-neck speed—and for what? Teddy Butler Copeland, author of Playing the Hand You Are Dealt and Holes in the Darkness, examines this new generational phenomenon of stress and frenzy in everyday life and causes us to reflect on our own harried lives in her most recent book, Crock Pot Living in a Pressure Cooker World.
The author offers the menu of “13 lessons to turn down the heat” to reduce the stress in our lives, to reverse the effects of a pressure-cooker lifestyle on our bodies and on our children, to help us change our unbalanced lives back into balanced sane lives. At the end of each of the thirteen chapters are exercises for the body and soul and scriptures for reference designed to encourage the reader in his/her own spiritual growth. Scattered throughout are humorous illustrations associated with fast-paced lifestyles.
What does she teach us about how to savor the joys of the simple feast of daily living? For one thing, Copeland writes, we need to slow down, take it easy. Why continue to zip from one place or appointment to another when we should be focusing on enjoying “the benefits of a slower journey”?
The author goes on in succeeding chapters to identify why we are “all stretched out,” bombarded from every direction by stress from lives out of balance. She proceeds to challenge us to examine “things that increase the pressure” and “how we got here” and how the “instant generation” got so crazy. Once we realize that “quality is better than quantity” and we realize “who’s in charge” then we can begin making changes to revamp and revitalize our chaotic lifestyles. She suggests putting “some distance between you and the source of your stress.” Perspective and attitude, she suggests, then can change. Within the framework of time we learn to appreciate each phase of life, to interject humor and laughter as a remedy for stress, to stop competing and comparing ourselves to others, to slow down, and to revel in self-confidence that comes not from the mirror but from God. As we increase spontaneity we learn the joy of unexpected changes in routine. Bask in the art of relaxation and simplify your life, Copeland writes. Slow down and master the art of doing nothing. Then you will hopefully have changed from living in a “pressure cooker” to simmering in the “crock pot” and experiencing all the wonderful blessings God has in store.
Nancy Hutcheson is the arts management specialist with Alabama Writers’ Forum.