Like most people I’m constantly rushing through my days frantically trying to get things done and, with the added bonus of anxiety, my mind tends to go at an even faster pace. It can be exhausting sometimes. When I’m aware that I’m functioning like that I promise myself I’m going to slow down. I manage to stick to my promise for a few days but suddenly find myself racing like a manic again. Things get better when I dedicate some time to practice mindfulness and I’ll keep persevering.
It took me a while to learn that a frenetic modus operandi is not the way that leads to a fulfilling life. After going at full speed for a few years you get accustomed to it, it just feels normal to operate in that way. Now my challenge is to notice when I’m going at full speed as this still feels natural to me. I’ve noticed that observing nature helps me become aware that I’m going too fast. Sometimes just looking at the trees on my brisk walk to the station makes me slow down the pace. Occasionally I actually stop and smell the roses in the neighbourhood’s front yards. It feelsl like nature is asking me “why the rush?”
The messages we hear in our post-industrial world are always about accomplishing more or doing things better and we try to match that with extra effort and going the extra mile, a bit faster each time. But this doesn’t necessarily equates to feelings of fulfilment, contentment and happiness. I think for our own sanity we need to pay attention to nature a bit more and see how slowing down can relieve the pressure from within. This quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says it all: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
These are photos of a deciduous tree in from of my house. When Autumn arrives it seemingly goes into shut down but after a good trim early in Spring it starts to produce leaves again and by Summer it will be giving us good shade. I took photos of this tree every week for four weeks. The tree just stood there deeply rooted in the ground as I noticed that slowly changes began to appear – the first week only new leaves, now in week four it has exploded into an amazing array of greenery. Calmly, one step at a time.
I feel I’m getting better at slowing down so watch out, if you see a loner smelling the roses in your neighbourhood it could me…