Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Praise of Slowness.

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste... 

Nature abhors a vacuum.  When a sealed space is opened, whatever surrounds it will rush in:  air, water... thoughts, sounds, people.  Whatever.  Even the unnatural rushes to fill what it perceives to be a void.

"Buy now."  "Offer only available for a limited time."  "You snooze, you lose."   We rush around, determined to be "the first," worried that we will miss our window.  While genuine emergencies do warrant immediate action, unless you are a paramedic, a surgeon, or answering phones at a suicide prevention center, most of the situations that you face on a day-today basis are not really as urgent as they pretend to be.  Important and urgent are not the same thing.

When everything is treated as if it is urgent, there is no time to really reflect and glean insight and value from anything.  So what do you stand to gain from this inflation of urgency?  Maybe money.  Perhaps status.  Possibly possessions.  What do you stand to lose?  Yourself.

When we are listening to the many voices that are clamoring for our attention, the sound of our own can get drowned out.  So we go, do, buy, think, and react (quickly, please) without fully investigating our feelings.

...and remember what peace there may be in silence. *

Slow down.  Sometimes, even be stock-still for as long as it takes to hear what your gut is telling you, and how passionately it speaks when not fighting for airtime.  Give it the time that it needs to inform you of all that you really need to know (it will).  Then, you can go, do, buy, think, and react based on your own convictions.

You won't be the quickest, you probably won't be the first to cross the finish line, and you may miss someone else's "window."  Just breathe.  And trust  that you are exactly where you need to be in order to do what you are supposed to be doing.

And then do it.


*The full text of "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann may be found HERE.

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