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Monday, February 6, 2012

Slowing Down Part I


I’m fast.  Real fast.  I think fast, drive fast, walk fast, talk fast and act fast.  I’m always early for appointments and I never keep people waiting.  I tell myself it’s the polite thing to do.  It’s just right to be where you say you’ll be when you say you’ll be there.  The truth is, by the time I show up to my appointment, I’m already halfway through it in my head and on to the next thing.  This is not what a person does that knows how to live in the present moment.  It is a sign of a mind overwrought with busyness and thoughts.  There is no time to hear the quiet.  There is never a chance for a busy mind to sit consciously aware of the moment.  I have had moments of clarity and insight during meditation, but I’m no pro.  It’s a constant learning process.  We’re never really “done” learning anything.  I think that’s the part I struggle with the most.  I want to say, “I now know these things.  I now utilize my new knowledge to increase joy in my life.”  I can say that and it will be true. At least until the next time I feel anxiety growing.  The next time I might forget everything I know about calming an anxious heart and being aware of each moment’s perfection.  Then I start all over and try to relearn what I forgot.  My human mind is forgetful and easily trapped in the ramblings of my inner ego, April.  (I had to give her a name.  She’s such a bitch sometimes.)

I forget to be in the moment because I’m busy thinking about the next moment and what it will bring.  I am too fast for my own good. 

I know these things.  I also know the universe is always working to help me learn my lessons.  I have had a lot of chances to learn how to slow down.  Sometimes it feels like everyone I know is slow, slow, and slow.  Slower than Christmas.  Slower than slow.  They think slow, drive slow; walk slow, talk slow and act slow.  It drives me (April) bat shit insane.  It’s hard for me to see why they don’t just hurry up already.  There are things to do, places to go, people to see: experiences not to fully engage in because I’m rushing through at light speed.  Crap.

There aren’t too many people who can match my need for speed.  When I meet people faster than me, they make me crazy, too.  I wonder why they can’t give me feedback on what I said before they rush on to their boring thoughts.  (April again. I would never say that.)  I had a crazy epiphany one night.  My husband was frustrated with my anxiety and constant worry and told me my whole problem: I just need to slooooow doooooown.  It’s awesome when other people can tell you exactly what your problem is.  Most of us don’t listen because sometimes it’s painful to hear.  I do, but only when it’s true.  (And someone attractive is saying it.)

When he said that I flashed back to all the times I complained about waiting for someone else.  I saw every moment of impatience and boredom I have experienced with new vision.  I heard myself saying how some person or another is just “sooooo sloooww about everrrrrything…” I thought about the friends I have had over my life that have kept me waiting.  I remembered co-workers whose slow meanderings through the work day have caused me to exclaim, “Will you just hurry up?” more than once.  My eyes ever-trained on 5 o’clock and getting there, to the next thing: the next happy hour, the next lunch or the next five minutes.  And when I get there, I am ready to move on at once. 

I laughed like a madman at the absurdity of it all and went to bed calmer than I have been in weeks. 

I was in the center of the storm.  The calm and inner peace I felt in that moment of clarity allowed me to see outside myself for a change.  I could see how I sabotaged my peace every time I followed anxious thoughts or worried over what was said, what it meant or how my life would change because of it.  My fear of the future keeps me from enjoying the richness and vitality of the present moment.  It seems such a simple thing to do, slowing down to smell the roses like we’ve heard a thousand times.  It is simple, but it isn’t always easy.   

I don’t know exactly how to start stopping.  I just know my happiness depends on it.  Great change always starts with the small realization of the need for change.  Just knowing change is needed isn’t enough.  There is no future.  There is no past.  There is only now.  Now is the time to grow and evolve.  Now is the time to stop for a second and know that each moment is perfect and eternal.  Walk with me a while and let’s see if we can learn how to stop, look, listen and breathe.  Walk with me as I leave the eye of the storm and dip my toes back into the human drama of evolution, where lessons get lost and we forget what we were doing and why.  (It’s easy to be peaceful and calm when nothing is testing us.)  Hold my hand and don’t let go, even when I’m trying to shake you because you’re slowing me down.  That something shiny I think I see in the future is just another mirage, a trap to hurry me up and give April the satisfaction of keeping me too busy to notice what a bitch she really is. 

We might as well do this together.  Unless you have something better to do. 

You just gotta. 


4 comments:

Sher said...

Wow! Another beautiful post. What you said is so timely for me. It's challenging to stay present in this moment, to not get pulled ahead to moments that don't even exist yet, or trapped in moments that have passed. Excellently written and very insightful.

Miranda Chop said...

Thank you Sher! Part II will be a review of the moments we may have to exercise this tool of present moment awareness that we may miss. :)

infundibuliform said...

"April is the cruelest ego (sic)." :P

Miranda Chop said...

Ha! Thanks, Rich! Your favorite line, eh?