This morning as I gathered lettuce from the garden for our breakfast, I thought to myself -- there is gathering the lettuce and then there is the experience of gathering the lettuce. It is a choice to really allow yourself to experience a moment, an embrace, a chore, even. It is a choice--that for me--has everything to do with pace.
In the forest, recently, my young friend, wise beyond his age, spoke these words to me softly, as a reminder, as an affirmation of the goodness that we shared -- "The only way to create more time, is to slow down."
The only way to create
more time is to slow down.
With experience comes steadiness. Those who rush to complete their projects, eager to realize the results, will only slow the process and hinder their progress in the long run. I have heard it said that humans far overestimate what they are capable of accomplishing in the short term and far underestimate what they are capable of accomplishing in the long term.
By my estimation, the highest form of art is a life fully lived. A life, each moment of which is tended to with sincerity and presence, alive with curiosity and slowed to a pace that allows for experiencing the richness of the sensory information available to us in each moment. We can access this richness, by softening into and focusing fully on each task we undertake, by sensing with care where every object in our home wishes to live, by allowing the details and subtleties and countless small pleasures of this world to penetrate our awareness. And through this simple slowing down, we become -- without trying - grace, embodied.
Until I set out for this trip, I don't think I had ever spent any length of time truly living and moving and breathing at a pace which was my own. Now, I am settling into a daily rhythm of rising when my body feels rested, waking to the ecstasy of my [tiny] home, carefully tended to the evening before, and going about my day on a schedule that follows the directives which arise naturally from within me. Before I lived solely by the clock, yielding tirelessly to the looming and ever present to-do list I recited in my mind, and frantically committed to paper. And I can see now, so clearly, the violence implicit in rushing the processes and stories of our lives in this way.
Each one of us has the most profound and impeccable ability to find and set a pace that is all our own. We must only listen to the steady metronome of our own hearts beating, the rise and fall of our breath as it enters and leaves our bodies. It can begin slowly, with little more than a loving curiosity about our own cycles of hunger and satiety, our own longings for rest and exuberant exertion--because our bodies know, our hearts know. And as a first step on the long path of cultivating a world steeped in real love and genuine caring, we have a responsibility to begin by tending to ourselves in this spirit first; by committing to care for and honor the precious lives being lived through us, in each moment.
Pause throughout the day to notice if you've taken to rushing. If you can no longer sense the beauty and softness, the vitality and possibility, both within and around you, take this as an invitation to slow down and step back into cadence with the rhythm of your body, the rhythm of your life. It is a devotional thing, this living, this loving.