Finding Calm in the Rush: Slowing Down Life

Yes, there are things to do.

The list never ends.

There are goals, and dreams and visions I want to create and live.

And the shadow of my mortality grows longer with every day. 

I feel the mounting pressure to finish everything before I can’t do anything again.

I feel the need to, 

Go.Go.Go.

Rush.Rush.Rush.

And what do I do?

I slow down. 

I take the time to feel the towel as I dry my head, paying attention to how it feels and how it glides over my right ear before choosing when to dry the left.

I pay attention to the simple act of hanging the towel to dry and feeling my clothes as they slide over my body.

I take the time to play with my cats, even as the keyboard calls to me. 

Movements become measured; they become opportunities. These small, seemingly meaningless actions aren’t meaningless at all. They are the building blocks of the life I want to live. 

My brain freaks out, reminding me of my never-ending to-do list. Then, it turns up the volume on the clicking clock, leading to the inevitable end. 

It screams now’s not the time to slow down; now’s the time to speed up, to mash the accelerator to the floor.

Go. Go. Go.

Rush. Rush. Rush.

Sometimes, I listen and mash the accelerator to the floor, and this is what I know. 

Life doesn’t feel good when I rush. I experience stress and anxiety, and I feel disconnected from myself and the work. 

Life becomes a blur as I sprint on the treadmill, desperately trying to catch the horizon. 

My brain tells me I’m giving it my all; this is how you get shit done. Deep down, I know I’m leaving the best parts of myself on the table when I rush. 

I experience the antithesis of rushing when I slow down. 

It’s wonderful. I connect to myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I connect deeply to the task at hand, and in the moment, the task at hand is all I have. When I slow down, I’m at peace, and that’s what I’m drawn to these days.

It’s not the rush of my youth; it’s not the speed at which I accomplish my goals and then chase the next target on the list. 

I want to experience the peace that flows when I slow down and connect with myself and my life as deeply as I’m willing to go. When I think I can’t go any deeper, I pull out the shovel and test whether or not that’s true. 

I step off the treadmill, leave the blur behind, and take the path of meaning

So yes, the to-do list expands, and my goals, dreams, and visions still call as death approaches, readying itself to knock on my door one day.

I don’t know when that day is, but I do know this:

I have all the time I need because it’s all the time I have. 

I don’t want to rush toward death; I’d rather answer the door, experiencing the peace I feel when I slow down.

As Pema Chodron wrote, 

“How we live, is how we die.”

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