Slow Down... What's The Big Hurry?
As American's we are accustomed to everything fast. Fast food. High speed internet service. Express lanes. High speed trains. Instant messaging, emailing and all the other electronic ways that help us avoid the slower paced and now nicknamed, "snail mail". In general we are born, bred and encouraged to take and do everything fast. Have you ever met those parents who even bragged about their three year old and how they are already reading and prepping for college! Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but you see my point. The faster the better. Instant gratification is an expectation and anything less is a failure.
Now, not all societies share this fast pace mode of transporting through life. When I was in France several years ago, I was dumbfounded with how long we had to wait for our check at a restaurant. I mean, we had just finished our meal, our payment sitting on the table and I was eagerly awaiting our next excursion. Yet when I looked around, everyone was enjoying every bit of their meal, their company and presumably been sitting there for hours, completely content. I admit, I was a bit envious of this slower, often more enjoyable pace. But I'm an American, and slow is not part of my vocabulary.
This belief in fastness has become my biggest roadblock to finding true spiritual enlightenment. I read one book that inspires me, take a deep breath, or two, savoring those precious insights, and then quickly go to my computer, type in the words "Amazon.com" and purchase my next fix. All of this done on my third breath. Oh, did I mention that I have a Kindle. So when I click the order button, on my fourth breath, it is now downloaded and ready to read.
On my high speed freeway of life, I find I'm missing all of the in-between times that are necessary in order to grow and reach a state of enlightenment that I know is attainable. I just need to have patience and stop asking for it now, because, as I've learned the hard way, good things come to those who wait.
In fact recently I was driving with my kids in the car and I commented about how weird it was that I hit every red light. My brilliant son, who is far smarter and wiser than me, said it meant that I needed to slow down in life. He called me out on my fast pace life style, and it was then that I had to stop and take note of what I was missing out on.
The best thing I have learned has come from just staying still and watching the flowers grow. I recently spent an afternoon at the beach with my kids. I brought books, journals and all the things I thought necessary to help make my day complete. I ended up not touching a one of those and instead just watched my kids play for hours on the beach. Just watching them brought me so much more joy then any book could have given me.
I have taken a hiatus from my spiritual research. Instead I'm gardening, walking, playing and just being here and now. I do what moves me at the moment, but the best thing I have done for myself is given myself permission to slow down and process the now. I have found that by doing so, my life has become so much richer and clearer. This "down time" has also taught me to sit with what I have and appreciate all the greatness in my life.
In truth, I don't need anything more than what I have now. Right now, my life is perfect. And when its not, at least I'll be quite enough to listen to what is not working. When we are constantly running, its too hard to hear. I'm still practicing slowing down and I have learned to give myself loving, gentle reminders to do so.
So, today, tonight, now... take a breath, look around you and smile. I'm sure you'll find a million and one reasons to be blessed and you won't feel the need to search for anything more.